If anyone has ever tried to do a multiple outfit photoshoot in New York City you know it can be such a struggle. Between finding a place to change to get to and from your locations, and any mishap in between you have to be prepared for anything. So I’m breaking it down for you. Telling you exactly what you need to take with you for a New York City photo shoot.

My Backpack

As a New Yorker, I have multiple backpacks for various uses. I have 2 specific ones I use for my shoots that are large enough to pack 3-4 outfits rolled. The first being my Anello laptop bag. This is my work bag but it so large and has so many pockets I also use it when I go to take photos. Both my bags have a zipper closure as well as a snap at the top so I know my bag is secure, which is crucial in New York City.

The second backpack I carry around is my Fjallraven Kanken Bag. I have the regular size and this is a great bag for a lighter shoot since there are not as many pockets. One thing I like about this bag is the shape, it’s super small and lightweight but it can still carry a decent amount of clothes due to the structure of the bag. The way the zipper opens up the whole bag is convenient if you pack clothes in the order you plan on shooting them (which keeps me super organized.)

What’s Inside

A small brush– this is because it can be so windy in the city, especially when getting around by subway. I always like to give my hair a quick freshen up before each shot, so a hairbrush is essential,

Dry Shampoo– Also so essential. The summers in New York are brutally humid and head sweat is a true thing. Even if you’re on first-day hair it’s good to carry around dry shampoo on a summer’s day.

Setting Spray– Between clothing changes and running around the city I always end up smudging my makeup, or even sweating it off. I absolutely need some sort of face spray whether it be rose water, setting spray, or just aerosol Evian water. This keeps my face fresh and gives me a chance to reset my makeup. Bonus tip: Bring a makeup sponge with you to blend out any makeup imperfections after you spray your face if you don’t have any touchup makeup on you.

Dry Spray– Deodorant Spray is a must have to combat the dreaded “swamp ass” in the summer. You do not want to be the person to leave a puddle of sweat under your bum on a subway seat. It’s just not a cute look and dry/ deodorant spray will help with this so so much.

Bike Shorts– See above, but this is another tool I use to combat “swamp ass” as well as chaffing. Chaffing is the worst if you’re walking around the city all day and bike shorts will make chaffing never a problem. I always have to remind myself to wear them. Even when I don’t think I need them, I need them and regret not bringing them.

Umbrella– You honestly never know when it’s going to start raining in the city, and if you get caught in a downpour you can’t just jump in your car to wait it out. Also, umbrella’s can make an adorable prop in the right setting so having one can work out in your favor even when there is no rain.

Portable Charger– When running around the city your cell phone battery is bound to get drained. This obviously is never a good thing. One thing out of towers forget is that having a cell phone is essential to getting around New York. You need it to call Ubers, check train schedules, check maps, make dinner reservations, etc. Often times you’ll be hard pressed to find a free outlet in any given coffee shop, and chances are you’re not going to want to sit and charge your phone for an hour or more when you’re bopping around the city. This is why your portable charger is essential, I have the Mophie power station which has served me well for almost 2 years. This thing is amazing and I can get 3 full charges on my phone before it dies. Could not recommend this enough.

My Secret to Changing Outfits

Now, many photographers will tell you that you need a pop-up tent to change your outfits in between locations but in New York City there are literally dozens of different places to change in almost anywhere you go. Granted, some places are more glamorous than some. But if you’re looking for a spot to change oftentimes you can’t be too picky unless you’re willing to pay for a sit-down meal to use the restrooms. I definitely have favorite spots in every neighborhood, but here are my top 5 generic spots you can find in almost every neighborhood.

  1. Hotels – Nice/ Larger Hotels often have restrooms in the lobby or near the main hotel bar. This is a favorite for me since restrooms here are often super nice and not very crowded.
  2. Starbucks– Granted some Starbucks restrooms can be pretty gross but it’s always a good standby if you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll have to ask the barista a code, but make a not in your phone of the location and code and you can come back later and not have to ask.
  3. Department Stores – These are the Cadillacs of outfit change options. Restrooms in department stores are so so nice and often times have a powder room where you can take a chance to touch up your makeup and refresh yourself which is always needed on a shoot day. Saks 5th and Bergdorf Goodman are my two favorites to change at.
  4. Apple Stores– These are definitely a bit harder to come by but you can almost always find a restroom in an apple store. I’m pretty sure the employees of the SoHo Apple store know me by now since I’ve gone in so many times to change.
  5. Public Parks/ Areas – Although a restroom in a park may not be my number one choice to get changed at. They’re always there and will get the job done in a pinch. The restroom in Central Park at the Bethesda Terrace is comical for how short the stalls are and everyone in the park can see me changing, but it’s free and works so who am I to complain. Other spots like the Oculus, or Rockefeller Center have restrooms which work as well.

I hope this was informative and you go into your first, or next New York City photoshoot with some new knowledge and are prepared for anything NYC throws your way.