Packing for a Shoot

Assistant editor Alexis Bennett and I are headed out on a shoot tomorrow morning in Pagosa Springs. She asked me if there’s anything specific to pack. To me, this is all pretty automatic—I’ve been doing it since…well, for a long time.

I’ve been asked by readers how we prepare for shoots, too, so I thought I’d share what I take (besides the usual clothes and toiletries).

Camera and laptop. When I fly, I don’t get a personal item or a carryon with items that don’t fit in my suitcase. My camera bag (two camera bodies, lenses, a flash, etc.) is my large item, and my laptop bag is my personal bag. That means if my luggage gets lost, I might be stuck in my clothes from the flight, but I can still go shoot! This is also why I always travel to destinations in clothes that’d be appropriate for visiting a trainer’s barn or attending an event. (I can’t always say the same for flights home, especially if I go straight to the airport from a dusty, sweaty shooting location. I’m that girl on the plane in those instances.)

The camera gear is packed. My clothes and other necessities? Not so much.

Emergency cosmetics bag. It seems like we always need an extra bobby pin or hair tie or someone forgets their lipgloss. I’ve got it covered with pins (safety and bobby), hair bands, and a universally flattering shade of lip color. This tote stays in my camera bag.

Monopod. It’s like a tripod, but only one leg. I pack it in my checked luggage, which almost always ensures that TSA will go through my bag when they see it in the X-ray. I feel like I should start leaving the agents notes in my suitcase. But maybe that’d get me on some “watch list,” so perhaps not.

Raincoat. You never know when it’ll rain. I’ve been poured on in the desert, when it never rains. I’ve had complete shoots rained out during the “dry season” in Southern California. I always stuff my North Face rain jacket in the front pocket of my (giant) suitcase.

Sunscreen. I’m outside for long hours in (hopefully!) sunny weather. I’ve learned from the mistakes of my youth and always slather on the SPF 30.

Electronics chargers. Lots of them. Phone, tablet, laptop, camera battery…if anyone needs a charger, I probably have one that’ll work. Plus car versions, because that maps app takes a lot of juice, and I can’t get from place to place without Siri talking me through it.

Wine opener. Because shoot days are long and stressful.

I’m really looking forward to taking Alexis on her first shoot—I’m sure we’ll learn a lot about each other on the 5-hour drive, each way. And it’ll be a real treat for me to have help holding jackets, taking notes, and getting ears! 

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