We recently did a really popular story on PopPhoto.com about great household items to keep in your camera bag. One you're going to hear me mention a lot is a trash bag. I always keep a trash bag in every camera bag, with me at all times. Why do I do that? It's not because I'm looking to, you know, pick up trash. It's to cover my gear in case it rains.
I used to shoot a lot of football, and, you know, it would rain a lot. If your gear gets wet and ruined, you know, it's kind of a bummer, but a garbage bag is just a really, really simple down-and-dirty solution. You know, you cut a hole in the front of it, tape that around the front of your lens, and just throw the rest over the camera, and, you know, kind of wrap around the viewfinder and shoot away.
,Other good items you can keep in your bag, that I tend to keep in there, are things like: bits and pieces of cardboard, tape, A-clamps, bungee cords. These are all really good if you're on location and you need to, let's say, you know, you're getting lens flare on your camera, and you need some sort of lens hood. You take some cardboard, wrap it around and tape it, and you got an instant lens hood. The same goes if you're doing a studio shoot. Cardboard can make a great snoot. A snoot is literally like a tube that will come off a light source to make it more directional. So again, cardboard works great for that.
l personally use gaffer's tape, but electrical tape, duct tape, they all, you know, work really well. Gaffer's tape is the tape of choice, because it doesn't leave any residue, peels right back off, it's all natural, acid-free. Rubber bands are also great to keep in your bag, just to keep wires and cables, you know, neatly packed away.
I also personally like to have a mini screwdriver, just in case I need to do a quick-and-dirty repair.
Paper towels, I always keep some paper towels in a side compartment of my bag, along with various, just lens-cleaning cloths. Again, you know, just in case things get wet, things could smudge. It's just good to have that there.
These household items just prove that one of the greatest things about photography is the DIY factor. You can do a whole lot, on the cheap, with just things lying around your house, and save money and not have to go out and buy expensive gear because, you know, a piece of cardboard works just as great as a $50 lens hood.