Yesterday I had a family portrait session down in Carlsbad and *thought* I had everything ready to go.

About twenty miles from home and passing San Onofre, I realized that I had neglected to pack my usual 5 in 1 reflector(s) that I typically bring for portraits.

That could have been trouble for me on many days but I was lucky and dodged the proverbial bullet in this particular case.

Normally I bring two or sometimes three reflectors with me. The reason is that one is set for silver, one set for white and the other set for translucent.

On a bright sunny day I can go through all of them quickly. Having only one reflector with me and then having to change out from silver to white to translucent would be a huge pain and slow down the session…it’s simply easier to use 3 at one time all set up and ready to go.

Seeing that’s how I tend to use reflectors on a portrait shoot, you can see why I was a bit frustrated.

Luckily though the day was overcast and so I would not have to battle bright sun or even sun popping in and out of the clouds. Reflectors on this day would not even be an option — especially for the big groups.

For that, the Dyna-lite Baja 400 JR with a small softbox turned out to be the perfect light and I used it for virtually everything (save for the full speed running sequences of the little kids on the beach).

It made me realize that with all the stuff I might bring (and now with audio shoots and studio lighting shoots requiring vastly different tools) it became clear I have to create a list that covers the broad range of gear — from cameras to lenses to audio to reflectors to support (tripods, lightstands, etc.).

It can get tricky to control. And thanks to my friend Jon Streeter for pointing it out.

I created this checklist at the end of this post for the variety of gear I use and wanted to share it with you (so YOU don’t have happen what happened to me yesterday!). You’re welcome to use it as a starting point perhaps for your own equipment checklist. I hope this helps (BTW, I used Evernote to create this — love the checkboxes in that program!)

Have a great week ahead.


p.s. Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday’s portrait session at the beach — a large extended family portrait session of Fritz and Ellie from Phoenix with their kids, grand kids and GREAT grandkids!! Fritz is a WWII veteran and they have been married for 68 years!!!!