Loadout for Photographer’s Vest

Hmmm; what should my normal collection of stuff be?  (Current vests aren’t quite perfect, and the most perfect one has annoying problems like the pen pockets aren’t big enough for actual pens.)  Thinking of modifying or replacing the vest I’ve been using (it’s 25 years old or so, anyway!).

This is complicated by the fact that I use the vests for both photojournalism projects and video projects.

(This is the brainstorming phase; I’m wondering what I’m missing, but even the White Knight couldn’t carry all this on his horse.)

  • ballpoint pen (space pen?)
  • sharpie
  • color sharpie
  • flashlight (good one, but little) (emergency as well as seeing clearly in dark spots)
  • notebook (stenographer’s?)
  • rocket blower (remove dust from lenses etc.)
  • lens tissue or PecPads (never touch a lens with the same thing twice)
  • big microfiber cloth (not for lenses, but screens and things)
  • lens cleaning fluid (Eclipse? Kodak?)
  • lens cap (standard place to put the lens cap from the camera in use)
  • body cap (camera should never be left uncapped) (for each mount)
  • rear lens cap (spare) (for each mount)
  • fresh batteries (camera-specific, AA)
  • dead batteries (keep them separate from the fresh!) (but can mix kinds)
  • tape (narrow, wide, colors, dark, white) for marking and labeling in addition to holding
  • badge / pass / id needed for venue access
  • keys (somewhere safer than belt hanger)
  • phone (has apps, too)
  • lenses (at least fast wide and fast medium telephoto)
  • flash (for photojournalism gigs)
  • digital sound recorder (for video gigs) (and remote)
  • monitor earphones
  • lavalier mike
  • memory cards (possibly multiple kinds, for still, video, sound)
  • polarizing filter (sized for main lenses)
  • neutral density filter (sized for main lenses)
  • step-d0wn rings (to put filters on smaller lenses)
  • mini / clamp tripod, or beanbag, or both
  • radio (depends on what the crew is using)
  • gloves (warmth, protection)
  • gray card (for white balance)
  • tape measure (more for studio photos and video than photojournalism)
  • cable ties, to fasten things (6)
  • tools?  I haven’t routinely carried tools; what might be useful?
    • hex key for tripod tension adjustment
    • very small Phillips for batteries in flash triggers
    • generic #2 Phillips (stubby)
    • generic medium flat-head (stubby)
    • wrenches?
    • knife (don’t leave home without it)
    • trauma shears (might replace knife)
    • pliers
    • diagonal cutters (or just use the trauma shears)
  • kleenex
  • lip balm
  • ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. Antacid?  Decongestant?
  • small bandaids (little nicks and cuts, don’t want to bleed on the cameras)
  • earplugs (noisy locations; music)
  • wet wipes (3)
  • pre-moistened lens cloths (for glasses; or lenses if desperate) (3)
  • deoxit (contact cleaner cloths) (1)
  • additional glasses (dark, for example)
  • water bottle
  • emergency food (protein bar?) (2)
  • mousetrap 🙂
  • trash (need designated place, don’t just drop stuff, can’t count on venue)

Clearly some of this stuff could live in the big toolbag that sits at home base, rather than in pockets I have with me at every second.

I may edit this post over time, since I’m still thinking about this.

Leave a Reply