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February 27, 2020

PPA members, What’s in Your Bag? Take a look at the Gear that These Members Always Have on Hand

We recently started a conversation with you in theLoop about the unique, can’t-work-without items in your gear bag. Over the years, the items that you keep inside your bag can become integral to your photoshoot process. Sometimes your favorite thing can be an unconventional camera accessory or a helpful tool for clients to use during photography sessions. Here are some examples of memorable gear from the PPA community:

Steve Russell has a unique method for adjusting focal stops. Instead of turning the wheel on the camera to his desired f-stop, Russell uses a blast-from-the-past piece of camera gear to achieve his desired specification.

“An old 'compact' bellows (yes, the black fabric that allows you to change the focal length) that I use for my macro photography. It is from an old Minolta film camera and I match it with my manual Minolta lenses.”

To achieve a similar effect, Russell purchased adaptor rings for his Canon camera. Russell finds the method of using adaptor rings to be efficient for his film camera and macro photography.

Would you try using a bellows like Russell? Jump out of your comfort zone and purchase some adaptor rings to capture images like Steve Russell.

Kirk Darling is passionate about his clients feeling comfortable and put-together—that’s why he carries a lifting and parting comb in his gear bag. This tool isn’t just for stray hairs. For his portrait photography, Darling utilizes the comb as an extension of his customer service.

“I also use the pointed handle instead of my finger to point quickly to spots I want the subject to attend to herself (such as a hemline or a bra strap).”

By using the comb to point out areas of an outfit that need adjusting, Darling maintains respectful boundaries with his clients and helps them feel their best.

A tool like this can really enhance the portrait experience for both you and your client. Take a tip from Kirk Darling’s book and keep a similar item in your gear bag.

Marvin Nauman’s secret weapon to carrying gear is to not look like he’s carrying camera gear. He enjoys the bag for its inconspicuous design as well as the added storage space he wasn’t expecting.

“When I went Mirrorless I bought this heavy canvas nondescript tactical bag because it was low profile and did not look like a camera bag, and because of its sturdiness. When I received it, I found a bonus not advertised… it had a special back pocket, that I now sometimes put to good use depending on the job and location.”

Here is an example we found of a camera bag that doesn't look like a camera bag. Do you take any similar measures to protect your gear bag? How much storage space do you typically look for in a gear bag?

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of unconventional things you keep in your gear bag! To be featured in another article like this, respond to our thread on theLoop.

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