5 Super Helpful Non-Photography Items In My Photography Backpack

 In Makeup, Photography

Before you glance over the pictures and read the entire blog post, I will note, that, ideally, most of these things are found in your makeup artist’s kit. This is not the typical stuff that a photographer would worry about, but I’ve learned that I am a better-safe-than-sorry kind of person, so I prefer to have it all in my own photography backpack and not rely on anyone else.

At the end of the day, it will be me who will be retouching pieces of lunch out of my model’s teeth in macro lip shots if I don’t take care of it in pre-capture.

So, without further ado:

1. Dental Floss Picks

We often shoot all day and our models may snack and have lunch between looks, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of offering them a dental floss pick before starting to shoot again. Especially if you’re shooing closeups of the face or lips.

I prefer Oral-B Complete Glide Dental Floss Picks. This is the type that I’ve been using myself for years, and I had tried other types that either shred or are too thick. $20 will get you 6 packs of these and save you hours of unnecessary retouching in the long run:

2. Visine Redness Relief Eye Drops

I honestly can’t stand messing around with eye whites in post-production. If the eyes are not looking tired I won’t even touch them in post.

But if your model is a hard working girl and finished her previous campaign shoot late last night (I hope she wasn’t out partying, because eye drops won’t save her tired dehydrated skin), you might want to have your makeup artist put a couple of redness relief drops in her eyes before they start applying the makeup.

3. Disposable Eyebrow Razors (For All Facial Hair)

This is an absolute must for my “photo-makeup-kit” now. It saved me a ton of retouching already and I am about to sign up for recurring-delivery as soon as I run out of my current set. The tiny upper lip hairs are the bane of my lip art work, they are such an unnecessary time-sucker in retouching and should not be photographed to begin with.

The worst thing about facial hair is that it’s not just the little hairs that you need to retouch out – it is always the highlight of the actual hair and then the shadow that hair cast on the skin. So, by the time you remove both, there’s very little of the natural skin texture left in the image, and if it is a macro lip shot that you’re retouching, that can easily ruin your photo.

I use Shiseido Eyebrow Razor not only for the eyebrows, but also for the upper lips fuzz and the little hairs above the corners of the mouth and under the bottom lip.

And when I say “I use it”, I really mean handing it over to the Makeup Artist to take care of that… I couldn’t do it myself on someone else’s face for the life of me 😳

I also have this baby sitting in my personal cosmetic bag at every shoot (for just in case), but it’s always better to have disposable razors, of course.

4. Disposable Mascara Brushes

Typically, every pro makeup artist will have these in their kit because it is highly unprofessional to use the same mascara brush on different people. But like I mentioned before, I like to be prepared for any atypical situation, and these are so inexpensive, there’s no reason for me to not have them in my bag.

I buy these: 100 Pack Disposable Eyelash Mascara Brushes

These brushes are not only good for the actual mascara application, you can also use them to exfoliate chapped lips and make your model’s brows nice and bushy:

5. Blotting Paper (Oil Absorbing Sheets)

The common mistake of makeup artists who do not have a lot of experience in beauty photography is excessive powdering of the shiny oily areas on the model’s face during the shoot.

And if you are a photographer who is also not very experienced in beauty, you would not even know that this is a huge no-no, especially for closeup beauty. Nobody told me this in my photography college, I’ve learned this the hard way like many other things in beauty photography.

The problem with powdering is that it covers up and hides the skin texture from the camera. Then more oils from the skin mix into it, the MUA adds more powder on top, and before you know it, you’ve got a “cake face” with no pores left for the camera to capture.

The beauty of good blotting paper, AKA oil control film, is that it picks up and absorbs excess sebum, while leaving moisture on skin and not removing the existing makeup from the skin, and obviously not adding any more of it.

I’ve had a sample of Blue Paper for a while, but the sticky thingie that’s supposed to be helping you to pull out the next sheet of the paper from the pack was so sticky it would tear each and every sheet before I got to use it. I recently purchased Premium Facial Oil Blotting Paper and it is wonderful, and is actually inexpensive.

There are a few more little things that I always have on me for my shoots, but I’ll leave those for another time!

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Showing 4 comments
  • Deepak Maurya

    very knowledgeable blog thanks for sharing your knowledge

  • Jose Barrios

    Oil blotting tissues for me is the biggest item. I do not do much portrait work, but when I have, I have ended up asking the people present who has makeup they can share (corporate headshots).
    Thanks for the often-overlooked list.

  • Child Photography

    such a funny and relatable post for photographers. Also visit ur website for photography.

  • Sophie Richards

    I’ve always used the blue eyedrops for simple irritations and freshening up, I thought the Red variant was for serious eye conditions? haha I can relate so much in this post, my bag is literally filled with every thing that I “think” I might need.

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