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Prior to my birthday this year, I had been using a makeshift camera bag (which I was pretty proud of at the time) that consisted of a faux leather Forever 21 bag and a cheaply made Amazon camera bag insert. It did the trick for a while…but then my equipment collection grew, and the strap broke during one of my shoots. Needless to say, my makeshift bag became a pain, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend time finding (or spending money on) a new camera bag when there were other things I felt like I needed to focus on in my business. Well, thank goodness for sweet people in your life who know what you need!
A few months ago I invited my boyfriend, Hunter, to come along to an engagement session with me for the first time. It was out of town in NC, the couple was bringing their adorable dog, and it was supposed to end up snowing, so we made a day trip out of it….
Being the thoughtful (and very generous!) guy that he is, he noticed and remembered the dilapidated bag at that photo-shoot and surprised me with a brand new, super nice leather designer camera bag on my birthday about a month later… from a brand that hadn’t even been on my radar until I got this gift from him! (Does he have great taste/research skills or what?!) When I was first starting out in my business, I knew I was so curious about what gear to start investing in and also what I would need to bring along to shoot at my first session and eventually my first wedding, so I thought it might be helpful to share what I keep in my bag. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to photograph it! So I’ve broken this up into three sections: The Essentials, The Gear, and The Bag. Have something else I should add to my checklist to bring along to shoots and weddings? I’d love to know what’s in your bag in the comments below!

  • Memory card case and extra memory cards – you can never have too many! And labeling them is always a good idea; I need to be better about this.
  • Business cards – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into people who didn’t have their cards on them. This is so important!! And it can be really inexpensive to buy in bulk.
  • Sunscreen – I am about as pale as they come, so I started carrying a little travel bottle of SPF 30… LIFE SAVER!
  • Ibuprofen – need I say more?
  • Tinted Lip Balm – I love this because it’s not sticky like gloss or smudgy like lipstick. Feels like chap stick, but gives you a more polished look since you want to look put-together, especially if you’re shooting a wedding!
  • Snacks – I bring crackers and cheese, granola bars, fruit, etc. and it’s super important, especially when you’ve got a long wedding day ahead of you and food won’t happen until the reception!
  • Pens – people always seem to be needing one, so it looks extra good if you can provide it. Plus, there is usually something you’ll need it for, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.

  • Canon 6D – I got this camera a few months ago, and I just love it! If you’re looking to upgrade to your first full-frame camera, this baby is the way to go! 
  • Speedlite – the best in on-camera flash. Love it!
  • 50 mm lens – my favorite portrait lens. It’s small, super lightweight, and you can’t beat the images it produces, especially for the price! I use this one for EVERYTHING!
  • Macro lens – the newest addition to my gear family, and I can’t wait to use it for those stunning ring shots! This lens is a pretty penny, but worth it.
  • 70-200 f/2.8 lens – perfect for ceremony shots when you don’t want to be running up and down the aisle. This one is quite a bit of an investment, so it doesn’t hurt to rent this one for weddings until your budget allows for a purchase.
  • 85 mm lens – helpful for wider shots and an all-around versatile lens.
  • Extra battery pack and charger – don’t get caught without at least two full batteries on any wedding day. Usually one battery will hold me out for the entire day, but you never know! And it’s way better to be safe than sorry.
  • Back up camera – always a good idea. See the previous comment about being safe rather than sorry. 🙂

  • Long vs. short strap – I love that this bag has two options, and both are comfy! I tend to be a more short shoulder strap kind of girl, though.
  • Pockets, pockets, and more pockets – there are so many nooks and crannies all over this bag that leave perfect places for me to keep cash, documents, memory cards, and all my other essentials stored safely while I wear it and move around.
  • Adjustable dividers – the inside is super versatile and easy to customize based on what gear I will have with me for certain shoots. Velcro is pretty neat!
  • Attractive design – this bag seriously goes with any outfit I have, and I wear it proudly because it’s CUTE. I get so many compliments, and everyone is literally so amazed when I show them how practical the inside is because the outside is GORGEOUS!
  • Lightweight – most importantly, this bag doesn’t weight me down. That’s something to consider because the life of a photographer is an active one if anything!!
Aaaaannnndddd my super cute Kelly Moore Westminster Hobo bag is on sale at a pretty good price right now! So if you need a new bag, check it out!!

Posted in: Uncategorized

June 14, 2017

What’s in the Bag? | My Gear | For Photographers

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Nichole Lauren is a photographer & business coach in Greenville, SC & available for travel worldwide.

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