Day in the Life


What to Pack: Birth Photographer


In the Birth Photography circle, this question comes up a lot.  What do I need? What should I pack? What should I pack it in?

Birth photography is no joke.  I am documenting a one -time event.  I need to know that I have EVERYTHING I might need, and then some.  I may be there for 2 hours, or 20 hours.  Sometimes I don’t have time, from when my client goes into labor, to get home and grab other things I’d like.  I have to have everything in one place, easily accessible so I can leave at the drop of a hat.

My gear suitcase goes everywhere with me when I’m on call!  What I pack has evolved over the past 2 years to this…

1. Macbook Pro, 15″ – Sometimes theres down time, like at long medicated hospital births and I’ll go down to the cafeteria, grab some lunch and hop on the internet (or begin editing!)

2. Extra iPhone battery case- This will charge my phone back to 100% in 30 minutes.  It has come in VERY handy!

3.  Film- Medium format for my Holga, and 35mm

4. Cameras- Minolta XG, Holga, Canon 60D (Back-up) and not pictured here because I took the picture with it is my Canon Mark ii

5. Lenses- 85 1.8, 35 2.0, 28 2.8. Not shown is the 50 1.4.  I also rent the 35mm 1.4 for every birth (until I save up enough to buy it!)

6. Off Camera Flash Triggers- Both my flash and triggers are Scott Robert Lim’s gear. I LOVE how easy his stuff is to use!

7. Flash- Manual flash by Scott Robert Lim

8. Extra Batteries for my flash and triggers

9. Olloclip- attaches to my iPhone and turns it into a wide angle, fish eye or macro lens!

10. I carry four 16gb CF cards.  I only use Scan Disc after having my two Lexar both become corrupted.

11. 1TB External HD- Bought it from Best Buy for $100.00 I first dump my RAW images here and it is just as a safety in case anything happens to my Mac.

12. Battery Charger- I also have an extra battery, not shown and I make sure all 3 (one is in the 60D) are charged before I go on-call.

13. Lens Cloth- Got it free at a photo convention.  😉

14. Expo Disc- I may die with this thing around my neck.  It’s one of the best purchases I have ever made.


1. Baby Blankets- These are dual purpose. First, in case my clients don’t have any.  (Our hospitals have hideous, thick, used blankets) and second, to help cushion everything in my bag.

2. Rack Cards- People need to see Birth Photography to get it, so these rack cards are my business cards.  On the back is a collage of images and my contact info.  I always have a stack with me!

3. Sling Bag- Got this handmade bag at a thrift store.  I put the things I need at arms length like lenses and CF cards in it and wear it at my births.

4. Hand Sanitizer-  This is a mixture of Coconut oil, Thieves essential oil, and aloe vera.

5. Essential Oils- I carry Peace and Calming and Lemon.  The first, if I feel myself getting anxious and the second if I need to wake up.  I will a few drops on my neck and wrists. (Young Living Oils are amazing!)

6. Gum- something fruity!

7. Step Ladder- I’m short!

I bought this simple suitcase at Ikea for $10.00.  I took out this cushion for lenses out of another (was too small) camera bag and put it on the side.

– The bag I carry on me.  I will also have my 28mm and 50mm lens in here.

How it all gets packed in!  Lenses, flash and accessories on the right.  Cameras across the top.  Baby Blankets stuffed around.

::NOT SHOWN:: is a water bottle and snacks.  I buy nuts, those to-go peanut butter packets and granola bars.  I also have a small change purse with $3.00 worth in coins and $20.00 bill.  (vending machines and parking)

Here it is!  All ready to go!

What do you pack?  Anything you have found helpful that I didn’t include?


  1. Jodie says:

    What a wonderful list. I have a lot of the above and also love the following…
    *24-70 2.8 Lens
    *Thongs in a plastic bag in case in wet area
    *Crocheting 😉
    *Spare set of clothes
    *I sometimes bring a cake 😉 if waiting around and have the time to bake.
    *Lavender Oil
    *Spare Model release for hospital staff if needed
    *Pad of paper and pen
    and snacks…snacks
    Oh I love my Expo disc too. Thanks for the article, I will have to do this too. Although I don’t have all your tech equipment. More to learn and collect over time I guess. Thanks again.

  2. INGRID says:

    GREAT LIST. I also pack some Advil or Tylenol. All the anticipation and excitement sometimes gives me a headache, especially if I’ve had little sleep. 🙂

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