What's In My Camera Bag? | 2023 | The Ultimate Guide For Portrait Photographers


Ever wanted to know what’s in my Camera Bag? Let’s dive in!

As a Portrait Photographer, I’ve gone through my fair share of struggles when it comes to choosing the best camera bags, settling on my favorite lenses & gear, etc. I am always discovering new little gadgets to add to my kit that will make the photoshoot experience easier (& more fun) for both me & my clients, & it’s a constant process of adding, removing, & replacing items! I get a lot of “What’s that?” from fellow photographers & clients when I open up what I like to refer to as my “Mary Poppins” camera bags - I definitely have some must-have items that I can’t live without during photoshoots, & I’m excited to share this list of recommendations with you!

Let’s take a look at what’s in my basic camera bag kit for 2023! My camera bodies, lenses, accessories, & more…

For my complete Studio Gear list, click here: Recommended Gear & Products For Photographers

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My Top 3 Camera Backpacks | Best Camera Bags For Portrait Photographers

Here are my top three picks for a comfortable, practical camera bag! I personally prefer to use a backpack or a rolling bag over a heavy shoulder bag - I find shoulder bags to be uncomfortable & not terribly practical for most photoshoots. Depending on the project, I have three main bags I alternate between:

#1. Wandrd Hexad 45 L Camera Duffle Backpack: This bag is my personal favorite for larger shoots & shoots requiring air travel. All of my main equipment fits easily in their customizable gear cubes, there is a space for my laptop, & it fits in most overhead airplane bins. These bags have the option for all sorts of customizable add-ons including waist straps, a rain fly, extra gear straps, etc. This is my go-to bag for most projects, & is pretty comfortable for shoots that require hiking as well!
#2. Lowepro Pro Trekker Camera Backpack: When the Wandrd Bag feels like a bit too much, I reach for this Lowepro backpack - it’s the perfect medium size. This is the bag I use for most shoots that require travel to a local studio or to a quick outdoor location - it’s just enough room for a couple of bodies, lenses, my Ipad, etc.
#3. Lowepro Slingshot Camera Backpack: The smallest, lightest choice! If I’m going on a quick hike or walk & only need the bare minimum, this is my go-to. The unique slingshot side access design is comfortable, & makes it super quick & easy to whip out your camera for quick wildlife shots, etc. I can even squish a mostly-full water bladder in the top portion, which is helpful for short hikes!

My Favorite Camera Bodies & Lenses

#1. Nikon Z7II Mirrorless Camera: My Camera body of choice! I’ve shot Nikon for years & am personally very happy with their mirrorless system - this body delivers amazing results & is a perfect fit for me & the types of portrait shoots I do.
#2. Nikon Z6II Mirrorless Camera: This Camera used to be my main body, but now functions as my backup now that I’ve switched to the Z7II. Still a great camera, but the overall image quality of the Z7II is noticeably better in my opinion.
#3. Nikon 85MM Lens: This is my go-to portrait lens for 99% of my photoshoots! Every now & then I pull out a 50mm, 35mm, or my 18-200mm, but the 85mm is my current fav.
#4. Tiffen Protection Filter: I have a few of these for each lens in my collection - they serve mostly as a protective cover for the front of my lens. I don’t always shoot with them on to avoid ghosting, etc., but I do use these as an extra layer of protection for my lenses.
#5. Tiffen Neutral Density Filter: This filter helps keep the exposure balanced in those super bright, sunny conditions - I don’t use it much, but it’s handy to have!

My Most-Used Camera Essentials & Accessories

#1. Memory Card Case: Love this customizable memory card case! It has different inserts that allow for all different types of camera cards - don’t know how I ever survived without this. So nice to keep everything in one organized spot!
#2. Memory Cards: Can never have too many of these! My Z7II has two card slots & I write to both, so that way we always have an image backup if one card were to fail.
#3. Memory Card Reader: This reader is super fast, I always have a few of them lying around at home, in the studio, & in my bag for imports.
#4. Calibrite Color Checker: This little card is great for getting your white balance perfect for in-studio shots - I don’t use it for every shoot, but it does come in handy!
#5. Spyder Camera Holster: I use this belt for most studio shoots - I am not a fan of straps, & this holster is a great way to keep track of your camera as you demonstrate posing, switch up props, etc. I am the worst about setting my camera down in between shots & then immediately forgetting where I set it - this belt is a life saver.
#6. Camera Cleaning Kit: This kit comes with all the basic essentials for cleaning the outside of your camera & for cleaning the sensor. Another must-have!
#7. Bluetooth Speaker: I always have a playlist of fun music going during shoots! This speaker sounds great, is waterproof, and has a little clip that allows you to attach it to the outside of your camera bag if you are shooting outdoors.
#8. Camera Batteries & Charger: Obviously - another item you can never have too many of. Extra batteries & a charger in your camera bag are a must. I usually have a handful of AA & AAA batteries in my bag as well to use for my flash, flash triggers, etc.

My On-The-Go Portrait Photographer’s Touch-Up Kit

Trust me when I say this - if you are a Portrait Photographer, this list will change your life!

Step #1: Get yourself a small toiletry bag, preferably one of those hanging ones that unfolds & has different compartments.
Step #2: Go shopping. Check out the list below & see what you can find at your local drugstore - or you can check out my Amazon list to order items in bulk!
Step #3: Pack your toiletry bag with all of the below essentials & bring it along with you to all of your photoshoots. Props if you can fit it into your camera bag! It’s saved me many a time - I bring this touchup emergency kit with me everywhere so that I never have to worry about the little details!

  • Makeup Wipes

  • Eyelash Glue

  • Mini Deodorant

  • Eye Drops

  • Mascara Wands

  • Small First Aid Kit

  • Aleve & Tylenol

  • Feminine Hygiene Products

  • Hair Clips, Bobby Pins, & Hair Elastics

  • Hair Brush or Comb

  • Mini Hairspray

  • Hair Gel

  • Mini Dry Shampoo

  • Gum

  • Disposable Makeup Sponges

  • Hand Lotion

  • Oil Blotting Sheets

  • Scissors

  • QTips

  • Cotton Pads

  • Tide Pen

  • Mini Lint Roller

  • Mini Toothbrush & Toothpaste Kit

  • Wardrobe Tape

  • Nipple Covers or Nude Pasties

  • Tweezers

  • Dental Floss

  • Loose Translucent Powder

  • Kleenex Tissues

  • Mini Chapsticks

  • Nail File

  • Business Cards


For more photography gear & product recommendations, check out the links below:

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Meet miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.