Five Things Always in My Camera Bag when Shooting Film by Samantha Stortecky

Film camera and camera bag - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Samantha Stortecky

Hello friends, I’m back with another fun post! With summer winding down and autumn right around the corner, there are many opportunities to leave the house with our film cameras in tow. 

As a film photographer, whenever I leave the house, I double-check my camera bag to ensure that I haven’t forgotten anything. With my ADHD brain, I have a list of must-have things for my camera bag, and I thought it would be fun to chat about them!

And so today, I am sharing the top five things in my camera bag for whenever I leave the house!

Film camera and camera bag - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

1. Extra Batteries

I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have accidentally forgotten to bring new batteries to a shoot only to have my camera die mid-shoot.

I once accidentally did it at a wedding and had to sneak out to a store to buy a more batteries.

Film image of flowers - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
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2. External Light Meter

I don’t use an external light meter every time I shoot, but in my eyes, it’s always better to have it than not.

I have had a few sessions where I forgot my light meter only to have a roll or two of film come back underexposed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and when in doubt, check your light out!

My go-to meter is the Sekonic L-358. (Find at KEH Camera or on eBay.)

Film image of a bread sign - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Film image of a person in a cafe - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

3. Film Storage Containers and a Sharpie

This is my absolute favorite from this list! I discovered this online last year and immediately bought them.

One of my most significant pain points when taking pictures is keeping my film rolls organized. These little containers are fantastic for storing and keeping your film safe while shooting!

So, if you’re like me and have a terrible habit of stuffing your film rolls into your back pocket, these containers are for you! I love the Japan Camera Hunter film hard case that come in 120 and 35mm, and Kodak also has some great ones for 35mm.

I also love keeping a pen or marker in my bag so that I can label each finished roll of film. Labeling each film roll with a number makes it easier for my film lab to keep my film in order when developing!

Film image of a room - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Film image of coffee - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

4. Unique Film Stock

This isn’t a huge must, but I love to have a roll or two of fun and unique film stocks in my bag.

You never know when inspiration will strike, and sometimes it’s fun to step outside the box and use a crazy film stock during a shoot. One year I used Psychedelic Blues during our visit to the pumpkin patch, and I loved it!

Film image of a boat - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Film image of a apple tree - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

5. List of Poses and Shots

Sometimes, while taking photos, my brain will go through a little hiccup, and I’ll forget what poses I want my subjects in or what specific images I want to capture.

So, I keep a note app on my phone that lists all the poses, positions, and pictures that are my go-to. This way, I always have ideas and inspiration for whenever my brain stops working mid-shoot.

Film image of a wedding note - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Film image of dogs - Top Five Things in My Camera Bag by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Alright, and there you have it: the top five things I always keep in my camera bag when shooting film! What are some staples that you keep in your camera bag?

Thank you so much, Samantha! Samantha is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here, including a The 3 Film Cameras I Take on Every Trip and Shooting Weddings on Film: Tips to Get You Started.

You can also check out more of Samantha’s work on her website and Instagram.

Leave any questions you have about what is helpful to have in your camera bag when shooting film below in the comments!

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Samantha Stortecky

Samantha Stortecky is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as How to Shoot Kodak Portra 400 and 5 Unique & Experimental Film Stocks You Need to Try.

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OMG! You ARE ADHD! List of poses? LOL? Whatever gets you through, girl!

… and I’m an idiot. Meant OCD. Lol.

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