Let’s face it - photographers have tons of gear. Even if you’re just headed out for the afternoon to take a few casual photos, you’ve still got a laundry list of items that you will definitely need. In addition to that, there’s an even longer list of items that you may or may not need for that particular shoot.
It’s a lot to keep track of, so to be sure you’re as prepared as can be for your next photo shoot, consider this list of 12 essentials you simply can’t leave at home.
There are times when you need a full-sized tripod to get the job done. But there are plenty of other times when a small tripod is more than sufficient. Though there are tons of miniature tripods out there, one of our favorites is HandlePod.
The beauty of HandlePod is that you can use it in a variety of ways. Shoot hands-free by attaching it to a fencepost or another stationary object using the built-in elastic cord. Hold HandlePod in your hand and use it as a stabilizing grip for low-light photos or even for shooting video. Of course, you can also use HandlePod as a stabilizer by pressing the handle up against a flat object for a fast and easy way to keep your camera from shaking while you shoot. You can even use it to stabilize your smartphone. It’s simply that versatile! Learn more about HandlePod by visiting their website.
If you take portraits, a collapsible reflector will be one of your top tools. Many reflectors come in a 5-in-1 kit with various colors that give you different types and intensities of light, including gold and silver. Even better, you can use a black reflector to add shadowing or a white reflector to diffuse light, all of which fold up into a tidy package that’s easy to carry.
No matter where you go, no matter what you’re photographing, your lens and camera will get dusty. All that dust needs to be removed somehow, and a blower is the best way to do that. Just a few puffs from a blower can get a good portion of the dust off your lens glass and camera sensor. And the more dust you can get rid of, the less likely it is to show up in your images (or negatively impact the functioning of your gear). As a result, a blower is a must-have accessory for any photography outing!
As important as it is to get rid of dust, it’s equally important to ensure your lens glass is absolutely clean. Fingerprints and smudges can render otherwise gorgeous photos useless, so having a lens cloth or two with you will help you do some housekeeping with your lenses as you’re out shooting. Don’t forget the lens cleaning solution either!
Some photographers think that an external flash is only good for portraits. That’s simply not the case! In addition to portraits, you can use an external flash for macro photography, street photography, and even wildlife photography and landscapes. Use it as your primary light source, use it to supplement existing ambient light, or use it in conjunction with natural lighting as a good source for fill light. Whatever the case, having a good, powerful external flash can pay dividends.
There will be times when you need to set up your camera and have the ability to trigger the shutter from a distance. Whether you’re taking a self-portrait, capturing a landscape, or something in between, a remote ensures that you don’t bump the camera in the process of pressing the shutter. The result? Sharper photos! Some remotes are simple and just fire the shutter. Others let you create time-lapse videos or fire the shutter in stages. Whatever type of remote you choose, it is sure to become one of the most-often used accessories you have.
If you have difficulty keeping your horizons level, a focusing screen can help you resolve that issue. All you do is install it inside your camera, and voila! You’ve got gridlines to help you compose horizontal and vertical aspect photos. What’s more, the focusing screen doesn’t interfere with your ability to see autofocus points, nor does it diminish the quality of your images. It can help you keep your camera straight when shooting video too.
If you’ve ever thought, “I’ll only be gone an hour” and decided not to take extra batteries, only to have your camera power down in the midst of shooting, you know the pain (and embarrassment) of not having extra juice with you. You don’t want to miss any opportunities for amazing photos, but you’re guaranteed to do so if you don’t have the power your camera needs to work. Add one or two extra batteries to your bag just to be sure. After all, you might intend to shoot for an hour and find many hours later that you’re still out there.
Lens hoods are a must-have accessory because they perform two major functions. First, on rainy or snowy days, they can protect your lens, keeping the glass dry so you don’t have water droplets appearing in your photos. Second, on sunny days, they cut down on sun flare and reduce contrast. Beyond that, if your camera slips out of your hand and lands lens first, a camera hood might just mean the difference between a lens that survives and one that has a broken front element.
Memory Card Wallet
Memory cards might be big on storage space, but their small size makes them easy to get lost or damaged. A memory card wallet solves that problem by keeping all your cards safe, clean, and secure in one space. Keep the memory wallet tucked in your camera bag, and quickly swap cards so you’re sure you don’t miss any of the action.
Carrying your camera with it dangling around your neck isn’t just uncomfortable, but it could also damage your camera by inadvertently hitting it on something. And, sometimes, you just need to have the ability to move quickly, and using a hand strap allows you to do just that. Whether you’re working your way down the sideline at your kid’s football game or wandering the streets of your city photographing architecture, carrying your camera with it secured to your hand is super comfortable and makes it easy to bring your camera to the shooting position too.
Even if you live in an area that only gets occasional moisture, a rain cover is a very sound investment. The last thing you want is for your time to shoot be cut short because you’re unprepared for a little shower. Even a little bit of drizzle or spray from a waterfall can be incredibly damaging to your camera. Give it the protection it needs to serve you for years to come with a rain cover. It will even help protect against snow and dust!