5 Things Every Photographer Needs in Their Camera Bag


Nicole Hill


I was bullied a lot growing up. A LOT. The bullying was bad, so bad that it depleted my self-confidence and for years I never thought I was worthy of anything. 

But then I found photography! This magical world where I was able to see beauty in everything. Where I was able to find confidence in my own abilities. Where I was able to see that, yes, I was worth it. I was! For the first time in my life I had something that brought me joy. I wasn’t alone feeling unworthy and by myself anymore. I had people who understood me and who wanted to support me, and vice versa. Photography gave me a space to connect with other people, and learn more about them, and be more HUMAN.

Photography healed me, in a lot of ways. It opened me to this life where people invited me into their stories, and where I was able to see something come to life using my own creativity. I wish I could go back and tell the past Nicole, who spent way too many lunches hiding in a bathroom stall, that she WOULD find a place where she belonged. That she would find support, deep friendships and community. She would find the best kind of community, and the best kind of people, too.

Most People Just Don’t Get It

In photography we hold this unique, tiny little place in the world with our fellow creatives who are lit up by a camera. Most of the people in our lives DO. NOT. GET. IT. They just don’t. They don’t understand this intrinsic drive to stay up until 3 AM editing, and they don’t understand the desire to do weird things like put pantyhose on a lens to see what it looks like, and they have zero interest in waking up at 5 AM to chase the sunrise with our camera as it crests over a mountain. 

Photographers get it. Every single person reading this GETS IT. We know how being behind the camera feels for us. Because we HAVE put chapstick on cheap lens filters to get a different look. We have hiked up a mountain in the dark to chase the sunrise. 

It overwhelms me with gratitude and just joy for this little space we’ve created and this ecosystem of photography that we live in. Because it means we don’t have to do it alone, and we got each other’s backs. We’ll TELL each other what’s in our bags, where we shot in that amazing location, what lenses we used, and the best way to go about getting the perfect shot! 

It’s part of the reason I started The Photographer’s Path, because I know how deeply this community matters. I want to support you every way I can and I hope that every episode makes you feel supported and connected. So today’s episode is for you if you grew up like me, without a ton of friends who understood you, and then you found that with photography. 

Inexpensive Must-Haves

Community is about sharing. We’re in it together! There’s no gatekeeping in the Horizon Found Community. So in today’s podcast episode I’m sharing with you my top 5 inexpensive camera bag essentials that I recommend you keep in your camera bag. All 5 tips are in the full episode so if you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure to press play because inside the episode I go MUCH deeper and you don’t want to miss out, but here are two to get you started. 

1. A Cleaning Kit

You need a cleaning kit. I think so many photographers accidentally short themselves on this and don’t pay attention to it, but it is so important. A clean lens makes a MASSIVE difference to your photos. Dirty lenses can cause images with a lack of contrast, subpar sharpness, haze, lens flare, and more. Also, you NEED to take care of your camera because not only was it probably pretty expensive, your job depends on it.  

Get a cleaning kit that includes at least the basics: a lens cleaner, a lens cloth, a brush and an air blower. Then make it a routine to regularly clean your gear and clean your lenses before every single shoot. Literally. Trust me. This is important. Sometimes I will even need to clean my lenses DURING a shoot because we were shooting for so long on the beach or somewhere where the elements were messing with us and I needed to make sure my photos were still sharp. 

Also, make sure to BRING IT WITH YOU. Don’t leave your cleaning kit at home. Don’t leave it in the trunk of your car. Leave it in your camera bag, and make sure you can have it on you at all times in case of an emergency. Trust me, there is nothing worse than realizing you have fingerprints all over your lens and try to clean them off with your shirt or a Chickfila napkin because you don’t have a lens cleaning kit.

2. Memory Cards

Next is memory cards. Cardssss being plural for many of them for backups and extras. There is nothing worse as a photographer than to be hired for a shoot, to get TO a shoot, to start taking photos, and then to run out of SPACE. The thought actually makes my stomach drop.

When I was just getting started with photography I was second shooting at a wedding my teacher and BIGGEST mentor was hired for. Halfway during the WEDDING DAY I RAN OUT OF MEMORY CARDS. I had never shot for such a long period of time before and I had NO idea what to expect. The ceremony was about to start and I was PANICKING. I was SURE I was going to completely ruin the day, my mentor was going to hate me, he was going to fail me in class cause he was also my teacher and my life would be over. I couldn’t go back and delete photos off my card so I ran over to him and told him I ran out of memory. He was completely cool, and said, “grab some of my cards” as he handed me a HUGE stack of memory cards. 

From that moment on I made sure to show up to EVERY SINGLE PHOTOSHOOT no matter how big or small with a MINIMUM of 3 memory card cases FULL of cards, and bring around 500g to a 1 terabyte of memory cards with me on every shoot. Now I KNOW THAT’S A LOT. However, my shoot days are usually a minimum of 8 hours and I would rather have more than I need than not have enough, and there have been days where I almost ran out STILLLL! So keep extra cards in your bag to prevent running out.

Listen in to the podcast to find out more! 

That was 2 of my top 5 inexpensive things every photographer NEEDS in their camera bag. Press play to listen to all 5 tips where I go into more detail. 

And most of all remember, you’re welcome here, you’re part of this photography community and you’re not alone. When you’re here, or when you’re with your camera seeking something beautiful, you’re in the right place. You have people who get it. You have a support system. If you’re craving community click here to join our private Horizon Found Community on Facebook where we have tons of photographers who are connecting everyday, sharing their work, and have a place to reach out to each other for help. 

We would love to have you join us! 

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meet the photographer


I've spent the last decade of my life traveling the world as a fashion photographer and I created Horizon Found to give you everything I wish I had when I was starting my career. Here you'll find community, inspiration, and education - to help guide you down the path towards building the photography business of your dreams. My dream is to use this platform to help build a supportive environment in the photography industry.


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The Photographer's Path is currently closed. Get on the waitlist to get early access and special bonuses not offered anywhere else!