what to put in a photography kit

When it comes to wedding photos, you have one chance to get it right. Kevin O’Connor shares valuable tips of what you should pack your photography kit with when taking wedding or portrait photos.

Looking for what to put in a photography kit? You’ve come to the right place.

In this series, professional photographer Kevin O’Connor is sharing his invaluable kit tips to combat unexpected photo shoot catastrophes.

Last week, he shared what he packs in his every-day kit, and a few indispensable items he’s picked up along the way to get him through all sorts of environmental and safety hazards.

This week, Kevin shares some recommendations to add to your wedding and portrait kits.

These recommendations may help you save the day, and you just might become a hero because it.

Heads up before we get started: We’ve put together a printable checklist with all of these items on it. Download it here.

The Wedding and Special Event Kit

wedding photography kit

Extra White Thread: When the groom steps on the bride’s train, and rips 5 feet of lace off the edge of the dress, standard mending kits won’t have enough white thread in them to fix this properly. Big spools are better.

Large Size Boutonniere Pins: Many florists have switched to small pins, which break easily and are hard to pin. These fill the gap.

wedding photography kit pins

Bobby Pins For Veils and Yarmulkes: Those of us with hair use these to hold headgear in place. In my case, I’d need a spray-on adhesive!

Instant Fabric Cleaner: The stain hits the dress just before the ceremony, and the dress has to be worn the length of the reception. What to do? A quick stain treatment and voila!

wedding photography kit fabric cleaner

Cufflinks and Studs: It’s easy to lose one of these, or misplace the set on the way to the church. I’ve found a couple nice sets (one black, one gold) at thrift stores and estate sales, and keep them handy.

Stack of Well-Pressed Extra Handkerchiefs: People cry at special events, and they perspire. I carry extra handkerchiefs to weddings and funerals, and they are always well-received when needed.

The Portrait Kit

portrait photography kit

Color Expanders: This is a funny line item, no? National Geographic photographers were said to travel with a red umbrella to add color to a scene when needed. In addition to a red umbrella, some pocket squares and scarves can add nice spots of color to portraits.

A Basic, Boring Tie: This is for when Mom told the whole family to dress up for the portrait, and one guy shows up without a tie, making Mom unhappy. Making Mom happy makes for better sales, and it’s easier to add the tie before shooting than adding it later in Photoshop.

portrait photography kit tie

Handkerchiefs or Disposable Tissues: People cry, their noses run, they perspire and accidents happen. Handkerchiefs are classier, disposables are less upkeep. Choose at least one.

Hairspray, Unscented, Travel Size: Putting a drop of hairspray on your finger or a Q-tip, then tapping a stray hair into place permanently saves retouching time later. “Better to shoot it right than make it right”, no?

Mending Kit, With Extra Buttons and Safety Pins: You never know when, but you will need these extra items.

portrait photography kit mending kit

Collar Button Extender: The new shirt bought for the portrait sometimes doesn’t get tried on before the day of the shoot and doesn’t fit. Tuxedo shirts at weddings are prime offenders.

Basic Emergency Makeup Kit: I don’t go that far, but some photographers carry one.

Up Next: Part 3 – Real Estate and Food Kits

what to put in a photography kit

As a wedding and portrait photographer, you must be ready for any unexpected situations.

Having the right tools during a photo shoot will allow you to create more time for photos and less time for stressing.

Hopefully some of the tools that I mentioned above will help you with your wedding and portrait shoots.

I would love to know what other items you pack in your wedding and portrait photography kits. Let me know in the comment section below!

Next week, for the final part of this series, I’ll be covering what I pack for real estate and food assignments.

Don’t want to miss it? I recommend signing up for the BC Blog mailing list. You’ll receive a friendly email as soon as I post the next part to this series.

Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O’Connor helps design and test software, is a graphic designer and photographer for multiple clients and companies, and fixes people’s (and companies’) color.

He has consulted to multiple companies, including Apple, Sony, Fujifilm USA, and X-Rite. He loves teaching good color practices to enthusiastic learners.