Photographer you get the call–Are you ready to go?

Your Go To Bag

Most of my career I have been getting assignments just a day or two before the shoot. I have had a fair number of requests that had me grabbing my bag and running out the door.

Now when you get that call are you ready? I got a call to fly to NYC and to pull this off quickly. Think about all you need to make happen for a shoot that requires travel.

  • Purchase Airfare
  • Book Hotel
  • Book Rental Car
  • Book Photo Assistant
  • Pack clothing bag
  • Pack photo gear

You are also sending emails/texts to your contacts planning your trip as well. You need to know your contact and their Phone #s, email for example and let them know when you will arrive after you have already checked with them about when is best for you to be there.

Streamlining your process is key as having your workflow down for post production.

Every pro has a go to bag that is the first thing you grab for just about every job. This is my #1 bag.

Bag #1 Gear

  • (2) Nikon D4 Cameras – 2 extra batteries and charger
  • Nikon D750 with Grip – 2 extra batteries and charger
  • 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 Nikkor
  • 85mm ƒ/1.8 Nikkor
  • 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 Nikkor
  • Sigma 70-200mm ƒ/2.8
  • Nikon SB-900
  • Nikon SB-800
  • (2) PocketWizard TT5 
  • PocketWizard mini TT1
  • PocketWizard AC3
  • Battery Charger for AA batteries
  • ExpoDisc
  • Microfiber lens cloth
  • Nikon MC-30A Remote Trigger Release
  • Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control
  • Shure FP15/83 Lavalier Wireless System
  • RØDE VideoMic Pro
  • (2) Zacuto Z-Finder, Gorilla Plate V2, and Z-Finder 3.2” Mounting Frame for Tall DSLR Bodies
  • ThinkTank Memory Card Holder
  • ThinkTank Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag

Often I need to have a run and gun lighting kit or I need two tripods and light stands for video. This is my second bag I grab.

Bag #2 Gear

  • (2) Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′ (1.9m)
  • (2) Interfit Metal Umbrella Bracket with Adjustable Flash Shoe
  • (2) Cowboystudio 33 inch Photography Studio Translucent Shoot Through White Umbrella
  • (2) Neewer TT850
  • (2) Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger
  • (2) ThinkTank Strobe Stuff
  • (2) MagMod flash modifier system
  • Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs – Supports 11 lbs (5kg) & Manfrotto ball head
  • ProMaster XC525 Tripod

I just put this picture of the ThinkTank Glass Taxi to point that I have a few specialized bags that I grab like this bag for sports. It holds my Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x & Sigma TC-1401 1.4X.

What is your go to bag?


It is easier to grab a bag than it is to pack a bag. Take your time to create your primary bag that will let you photograph most of the situations you do on a regular basis. This will be different for each person. You most likely have looked at my list and rolled your eyes. You are probably also wondering why I don’t have something in my bag that you consider key to doing great photography.

I think you need a basic lighting kit. I have two basic kits. One is studio strobe kit and the other is a hot shoe kit.

It is better to have a kit ready to go and not worry that you left something at home or the office when you need it on a photo shoot than make the mistake of rushing to pack a bag at the last second.

The cost of an extra bag ready to go is cheaper than the blow to your brand when you cannot deliver for the client.