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Everyday Carry – Must-Have Tools for Photographers

Besides the camera, there are a lot of accessories, tools and gadgets that photographers choose to carry with them to help them get the job done.

Over the years as a professional photographer, there is a lot of stuff I have added to my camera bag that are really useful in those “what if” situations I get along the way, so I decided to put them all together inside a small tin box, and use it as an everyday carry.

01

This is not meant to be a survival kit to use in an end of the world scenario, but rather a go-to tools, that helps me out when I face some problems along the way in my photography work. Here is what’s inside:

02

  1. Silver/white card
  2. Soft cloth
  3. gray card
  4. Eneloop pro AA batteries
  5. Sandisk SD card
  6. Kingston DTSE9 silver pen drive
  7. Ibuprofen tablet
  1. 12-in-1 multi-tool pen
  2. Paracord
  3. Clipper lighter with gorilla tape
  4. Blu-Tack Reusable Adhesive
  5. Elastic bands
  6. Aluminum small carabiners
  7. 1/4” thread screw with ring

03

Tucked inside the lid of the box I carry a silver/white card that I use as a reflector for macro photography, or as a bounce card for the flash, a soft cloth that I use to clean the camera lens, and a gray card that I use as reference for color correcting.

The other things fit inside the box like a puzzle. It’s a snug fit, so there is no rattling, or damage on anything due to bouncing around.

04

  • The Eneloop pro AA batteries are probably the best choice available for photography equipment, because they are high energy, and are advertised as being able to retain 90% of their charge after 6 months, and 70% after 5 years, when stored at 20 degrees Celsius (68F).
  • It might look strange that I carry six batteries, when most pieces of equipment use 4 batteries. But, I use these as a backup for my Canon 600EX-RT flash and the ST-R3-EX transmitter, or I might need them for the battery grip I use on my Canon 5DIII, which holds 6 AAs, instead of the LP-E6 batteries.
  • The Sandisk SD card works along with the batteries as a last resort, because even though I carry backup batteries and cards in my camera bag, it is good to have a backup of the backup inside my tin box, in case something goes wrong.
  • The Kingston pen drive is a handy device to have around, as it doesn’t take up much space in the box, and can help out with backing up, or transferring files.
  • The Ibuprofen pill is something I carry with me all the time, because there is nothing worse thing than having to photograph with a headache, or some kind of pain.
  • The 12-in-1 multi-tool pen was given to me by a friend many years ago, and I carry it everywhere ever since. It looks like a regular pen, but when you open it there are blades, saws, files, tweezers, and screwdrivers that are really useful in many situations.

05

  • The paracord is another very useful thing to have around. I use it often along with the 1/4” thread screw to make a string tripod. It works as a stabilizer when you put tension on the string, wrapped around your foot on one end, and the other end tied to the 1/4” thread screw on the bottom of the camera (see below)

06

  • The clipper lighter is useful for special effects I might want to create with fire, and works great as a wrap-around base, for the gorilla tape I always bring along.

07

  • Gorilla tape has saved me more times than I would like to admit, and besides that, I’m an 80s kid, so I grew up watching MacGyver fixing everything with duct tape.
  • Blu-tack is a reusable, putty-like, pressure-sensitive adhesive, that I use a lot when I photograph food and need to keep things in place.
  • The elastic bands are useful to keep the box closed, and I also use them to hold accessories on my flash like bounce cards or color gels.

08

  • Finally, the carabiners, that I use mostly to attach things to my camera bag, or to hold a sand bag on the tripod.
  • I also use my trusty Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool a lot when I have to deal with nuts and bolts, but the fact is that it’s big, heavy, and is not something I can carry all the time.

So, this might seem like just a tin box with useless stuff inside, but the fact is that it helps me a lot to know I have this stuff with me, in case I need it.

What about you, what non-photographic things do you carry with you when you go out to photograph?


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Ivo Guimaraes

Ivo Guimaraes is a Portuguese photographer and college teacher. His passion for lighting and image editing has gotten him to the next level in studio photography and led him to work with leading brands in the Portuguese market. You can check some more of his work on his blog and Youtube channel.