Don't do as I do… please!

That is, if you want to keep your back intact so that after retirement you can still sit and watch the geraniums grow. I fear that I shall be lying in an orthopaedic bed of some sort.

This will be mainly due to my wanting to be ready for everything. Which I do – I insist that my customers should never hear me say “I did not bring X, Y or Z”.

And that means I need to bring everything. I mean everything:


So what do I pile into my SUV (yes, I need one)? Brace yourself.

  • Camera
  • Camera bag with lenses and speedlites and small accessories – my main, small, Domke bag.
  • Camera bag with second camera (long lens) and more lenses, speedlites, etc.
  • Laptop and laptop accessories bag.
  • Bag with light accessories, pocketwizards, light meter, flash cables, etc.
  • Bag with four light stands and umbrellas.
  • Bag with backdrop (two stands, three-segment crossbar).
  • Strobes (four monolights) and power cables.
  • Overnight bag, just in case.
  • Tripod and monopod.
  • Paper rolls (grey and white) for the backdrop
  • Muslin for the backdrop, for those “Sears portraits”.
  • Reflectors.

The last four items aren’t even showing in the picture!

The main camera bag is the Domke described earlier, and the spare camera bag is this heavy-but-excellent Tamrac:


So why am I pointing all this out to you? For a few reasons.

  1. So that you know what a full kit consists of. That way if you really want “everything”, you now know what that means and you can start collecting (and saving). Go for it.
  2. To show that equipment does make a difference. People who say it doesn’t are part right, but in large part mistaken. Hence “go for it” – the more of this you have, the better for your creative opportunities.
  3. To show that you can pack an entire studio in a small SUV. It may be painful, but it can be done.
  4. So you can avoid hurting your back by choosing wisely. Clearly I do not need all this for every shoot. I recommend that you make a selection of stuff, a sort of checklist, for each occasion. Do this in advance. I have such checklists: for most common situations I know what to bring without having to dig through everything and re-inventing the wheel each time.

And yes, for some shoots, those where I am not sure what to expect, I do bring it all.

Now you know one more reason why you pay a professional photographer more than you would pay Uncle Harry or Uncle Fred. It’s all to fund his or her future orthopaedic bed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *