No matter what you are going to shoot, you can't foresee the weather, right? Weather isn’t the only problematic aspect of photoshooting. Many other unexpected things can happen, therefore you must always go prepared. Aside from the obvious stuff – your camera, lens and flash – what else should you always pack and why?
Photo by wanderingthinker
It is inexpensive and very useful piece of gear. Blowers are used for a variety of things, but mostly for cleaning the lens, sensor and hard-to-reach parts of your camera from large and loose dust particles. If you are shooting outside for longer period of time, bringing the blower with you is a smart thing to do.
Photo by Steve A Johnson
2. Lens cloth
Fingerprints on the front lens element is as common as it gets, but it can greatly affect the sharpness on the lens and create ghosting. Being able to clean your lens on the go is what you need the most, and doing it using your T-shirt isn't the way to go. By intuition everybody goes for “the T-shirt method”, but as any other thing exposed to the elements, the T-shirt can contain all sorts of particles which can damage your lens permanently. One grain of sand could be enough to ruin the front lens element. Lens cloth, on the other hand, is placed inside a pouch which will shield it from the elements and it will reduce the risk of getting ruined lens. Use the blower to push away the dust particles before cleaning your lens with the cloth.
3. Spare batteries
You can't know how long and how much you will shoot that day. Having charged camera batteries and flash batteries with you will make sure that you won't run out of juice and look like an amateur. Pros always bring spares.
Photo by Pete Slater
4. Spare SD/CF cards
Same as batteries, cards can get full or fail completely, so you will need spares, and lots of them. Ensuring that you are able to shoot for extended periods of time is always at your advantage. However, buying a ridiculously large SD card doesn't mean that you are covered. Few smaller and faster cards are always a better idea. The larger the SD/CF cards are the slower they get (or if you want as fast as the smaller counterparts you should have in mind that their prices grow exponentially). Therefore using couple smaller cards (8-16 gigs would do) is the cheaper, more efficient, and way safer.
Photo by smjbk
5. Camera cable
You won't even notice it but it can go a long way. Often certain cheap card readers won't read the cards you have and you will need to show some images on a PC screen. Every PC connected to the Internet will recognise your camera when connected to the cable that comes with it. It is a bit slower way to transfer/see images but it works and it’s safe.
6. Other cables
Off camera flash cable, also a tiny thing. They’re not taking up too much space but come handy if your remote triggers fail, or if you need off camera flash when you didn't intend to use it for some reason.
7. One of each spare caps
Lens caps are very easy to lose, so bringing one or two spare caps with you ensures that you won't leave a lens without it’s cap on, thus protects it.
Photo by s58y
8. Filters, gels, diffusers
Maybe you won't need them but it is good to have them as an option. More often than not you are in a situation where you need to modify some light and/or filter some light out.
Photo by peddhapati (Thanks for 1M Views!!!)
9. Remote trigger and intervalometer
Usually they are both the same device. The wireless ones are really small so they aren't taking up any space. You can fit one in almost any empty space you have.
10. Empty plastic bags
One or two plastic bags with zippers often go a long way. In case of a storm they serve as great lens protectors from any dirty particles. Just put any lens inside which isn't weather sealed (or a camera body for that matter) and worry a bit less of elemental damage. Just make sure they are quality ones, with zippers that can take some beating. Bags are also useful for swapping lenses in harsh weather if you really need to.
This might look as too much stuff to put in one bag but if you are efficient in packing, one average bag that you would use for a photoshoot will easily fit all these things in one or two side pockets except the filters and SD/CF cards – put them in more secure pockets since you don't want them damaged.
If you think that I have overlooked something, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.