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10 Essential Little Items To Help You Shoot On-Location

In the past, we have talked a lot about the big, important items of gear every photographer needs- like a Camera or a proper case to transport it.

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Today’s post however is dedicated to all the items that don’t seem like they can make a big difference. But trust me, they do.

A Good Backpack

I cannot stress enough about how important a good backpack can be. Among the items to help you shoot on location, this one is essential. I have (and do) own like 1500 backpacks and most of them are absolute trash. When shopping for a backpack, you should really consider paying a premium for the quality, you won’t regret it. My favorite Backpack manufacturer is ThinkTank because they know how to build a quality bag. The bag I happen to use is the “Street Walker Hard Drive” Backpack in combination with an “Airport Security V2.0” rolling camera bag.

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Solid Bluetooth Speaker

If I had to name the most underrated thing in photography, it would be a solid bluetooth speaker. Especially when working outdoors, music can really make your models feel more comfortable and thus produce better images. The speaker I happen to like is the “Ultimate Ears Boom” but I’m sure there a many other great speakers out there. Bonus: If you really take the music thing seriously, you might also consider getting a Spotify premium account, or any other Spotify- like service.

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External Batteries

External batteries have saved me so many times. They’re awesome! They can be used to charge your iPad, Smartphone, Android tablet and there are special ones that can charge a Laptop or MacBook. The best thing is they aren’t even that expensive. You can easily get yourself a solid external battery for under $40. One thing you should always remember is to pack spare batteries for every device you plan on using.

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An iPad

iPads are incredibly versatile tools. They can be used as a “mobile portfolio” to show to other people or you could show your camera’s images to your model or your client on-location. Especially in combination with Lightroom mobile or a CamRanger, an iPad can help you a lot. Yes, I know that there are some pretty neat Android tablets out there too but I haven’t yet found one that would make me give up my trusty iPad Air 2.

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Camera Strap

A solid camera strap can be a life saver on location. If you can hang your camera around your neck or your shoulder, you won’t have to have it in your hands all the time. My favorite strap is the Peakdesign “Slide and Clutch”. Not only does it feel very good and well-built, but Peakdesign’s mounting system also offers an incredibly easy way to attach and detach the strap from the camera. If you’re aiming for something more traditional then try the Holdfast Gear Moneymaker or the Blackrapid Sport.

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Backup Hard Drives

SD cards (or CF cards) fail from time to time and to compensate for that, you should bring something on-location to backup your images, for example a second storage medium like a hard drive. The WD wireless is a great solution because you don`t have to bring a computer. If you prefer working with a laptop, basically any external hard drive will do the job. Of course, backing images up mid-shoot isn`t always necessary, depending on the importance of the particular shot.

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Lens Cleaning Items

Lenses (and other gear) often get dirty while shooting. To be able to clean them, you should consider bringing some kind of lens cleaning items like a micro-fibre cloth or a lens pen. If you want to be 100% safe, you could also bring something like the “Pocket Rocket” to emergency clean the image sensor.

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Reflector / White Piece of Foam Core

Reflectors are super cheap and yet they can improve your images greatly. If you want to save even more money, you can also get a white piece of foam core at your local hardware store. If you want to know more about how to use a reflector, make sure to check out our article on that topic.

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DJI Phantom Quadcopter

Honestly, unless you’re a videographer, a Quadcopter won`t really photographically benefit you. It’s fun though!

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Spare Lens Caps

You can never own enough lens caps. Period. I`m losing those little guys at an incredible rate, that`s why I always make sure I keep a couple of spare ones in my backpack.

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Wrap-Up

If you already own a camera and a lens there are a couple of items that could elevate your photography to the next level. First of all, a good backpack is always a good investment because they (especially the ThinkTank ones) will last forever. Music is also something I wouldn`t want to go without when shooting because it helps get everyone involved and puts them in a good mood and makes them feel comfortable.

Having a Spotify Premium subscription is a great benefit because you can play everyone’s favorite music. I also like to have an iPad for the sake of showing models or other people the images I take. For the model, seeing what for example posing looks like in the images can be a great help for them to improve. A solid camera strap can also help you a lot when shooting because you can put your camera out of your hands to do something else with them. Also, we cannot stress enough about the importance of backing up your files, of course depending on the importance of the shoot you have, with some external hard drive like the WD Wireless.

What do you think about those items? Is there anything you wouldn’t want to miss on a shoot? Let me know in the comments.

Paul Faecks

Paul Faecks is a portrait- and fine art photographer, based in Berlin. If you want to check out his latest work, you can do so by following him on Instagram or by liking his Facebook Page
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