With over 6 years of family photography experience under my belt, you can bet I have seen it all! Today I am unpacking my camera bag with you to show you what to bring to a photoshoot, including a few unexpected things I never leave home without! If you want to know how to optimally prepare for a photoshoot, keep reading!
Sometimes a little help can go a long way...that is exactly how I feel about everything I am sharing with you today. These 5 items make up my photo shoot kit and help both my clients and myself feel more at ease. In short, these relatively simple and affordable items can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE in your family photo sessions!
Keep scrolling to not only learn all about my favorite photo session hacks, but also HOW I use these tools to get the portfolio-worthy results! This could also be considered your "photographer checklist"!
Favorite #1- ProMaster Velocity Cine Memory Cards
Memory cards are an obvious necessity! All memory cards are not built the same. I have tried many memory cards that are too slow for me. Even the highest grade of other brands would record the image data so slow that I was missing moments unfolding before me simply because my camera would not take any more shots until that memory card got "caught up." Enter ProMaster! I am obsessed with the ProMaster Velocity Cine Memory Cards. They are incredibly fast and reliable. In the past 6 months, I have retired any other brand of memory card I had and only use ProMaster now!
Favorite #2 - The Bunny!
Now that you are ready to shoot fast and frequent, here is my favorite tool for getting authentic smiles out of younger kiddos, especially ones who may be shy--the Shutter Hugger! I have the Bunny Shutter Hugger, but they also make Zebras, Giraffes, Dinos, Tigers, Monkeys, and even Dalmatians. I bought my bunny in 2017 and she is still going strong. Seriously the best $20 you will spend.
Aside from being cute and making your camera interesting for kids, it gives everyone (even adults) somewhere comfortable to look. For people who are neurodivergent, it can be hard for them to make eye contact or know exactly where to look during photos. For kiddos, you can play peek-a-boo, "bop the bunny," or ask questions like "Can you see what color the inside of Bunny's ears are?" I also encourage kids to touch the bunny to help them get more comfortable around my camera--especially since most kids thing cameras are just iPhones.
For more on The Bunny, See my Free Guide to Photographing Toddlers! I explain my hit game--Bop The Bunny there!
Favorite #3- Lens Kit!
A lot less fun than the bunny, but very necessary--a good lens cleaning kit! I have this one from Altura Photo and love it. I divided it up into two ziplock bags--one for my camera bag and one for my desk. Nothing kills a great photo more than a smudge on your lens, dust on your sensors, or the occasional fingerprint from a wild game of Bop the Bunny. I make sure to keep my camera bag cleaning kit in a sealed ziplock and inside a separate zipper pocket from my camera bodies and lenses--that way if any cleaning solution happened to leak, it would not be a big deal!
Favorite #4- Throw Blankets
Throw Blankets are my most-used "prop!" They work great for posing a sitting family photo, but also can be purposed into rolled supports for someone who needs assistance sitting up, or even making a supportive positioning chair like a Bumbo or ChildRite more aesthetically appealing for photos. You can also lay one down to do a "from above" headshot for a child more comfortable lying down like the photo above. So many options in terms of posing and creativity! Here are some of my favorite neutral photo-worthy throw blankets!
Favorite #5 - Sensory Toys
Lastly, I love to make sure I have a variety of sensory toys that will appeal to any kiddo! The Poppin' Pipes are great for auditory seekers who like funny sounds, The Spinning Light Up Wand is great for kiddos who have visual impairments and may need a little light and sound to help find you, my "in case of emergency, break glass" toy is the Bubble Whales! Think of that as your fire extinguisher--you only want to use it when nothing else is working! Once you break out the bubbles, there is no going back. I always make sure I keep the toys in my hands. If you hand them over to a toddler, there is approximately a 0% chance of you getting that toy back and it will be in every single photo. I use a lot of "first we will snuggle mama, then we will do bubbles!" to prompt (aka bribe) kids. Want to learn more about sensory needs? Check out this post!
What to Bring to a Photoshoot Answered
When you win a kid over, you also win their parents (your clients) over! Nothing screams "professional" more than showing up to a family photo session prepared for ANYTHING. With these tools in your bag, you are guaranteed to snag a smile from even the most stoic kid!
Like I mentioned, for more info on HOW to use these tools and get those favorite images of big grins, make sure you download my Ultimate Guide to Photographing Toddlers here!
Until Next Time,
Don't worry! I have more helpful resources for you!