- Photography Gadgets for Lighting - StandDaddy
- Photography Gadgets for Tripods - Also the StandDaddy
- Photography Gadgets for Lenses - Hard Lens Hood
- Photography Gadgets for Smartphones - Lens Kit
- Photography Gadgets for Cameras - Wireless Remote
- Photography Gadgets for Video - LED Light Panel
- Photography Gadgets for Camera - Spirit Level
- 6 Video Lighting Techniques (That Are Useful for Photography, Too)
- Tripod Tips for Beginner Photographers
I have seen my fair share of photography gadgets, I must say. In many cases, I am very impressed with the ideas behind the item and the end product of the various photography gadgets that came from these ideas.
I'll show you six unique photography gadgets that serve a truly useful purpose. For fun, I’m also going to talk a little about why these photography gadgets were designed in the first place.
Note that the photography gadgets I discuss can be purchased ready to go. There is a whole other genre of photography gadgets that you can repurpose from items you have in your home or garage already, but that’s for a different article.
Also, I’m going to skip some of the major camera accessories, such as flash units, tripods, and extra lenses, since I have numerous articles already covering those items. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
Photography Gadgets for Lighting - StandDaddy
Lighting stands are a major need for any studio lighting kit, whether in a permanent studio setup or something portable. Along with stands come all of the extras that make certain lighting configurations possible such as booms, soft boxes, scrims, and backdrops.
What I find happening all the time, even with super steady light stands, is my lighting items end up making the stands rather top-heavy. For example, a high-quality studio strobe or LED continuous light with a softbox attached might have a wider total area than the stand’s footprint.
Any boom arm for adding overhead light will definitely reach outside the footprint of most light stands, which means I have to be very careful not to bump into anything lest I accidentally push it over to the point of it coming crashing down.
The simple solution is to add weight to the bottom of the stand to make it more steady, a principle similar to how the keel of a sailboat compensates for the top-heavy mast. Most of us have used sandbags to accomplish this, but there’s a better solution - StandDaddy.
StandDaddy is a set of ring clamps that attach to the stand’s feet or the end of a boom arm, allowing you to use portable and inexpensive barbell weights to steady the rig. The clamps slip right on and are hand tightened in whatever position you need.
You can easily adjust the position of the clamps to maximize their usefulness and vary the center of center gravity. The large set screws do not mar any finish and are easy to loosen or tighten without tools.
Please note that the barbell weights do not come with the StandDaddy clamps. Weights are easy to find, though. I found 2 ½ lb plastic barbell weights at WalMart for around $2.00 each. You may already have some lying around. Any type will work if they have a 1” center hole.
Photography Gadgets for Tripods - Also the StandDaddy
A similar situation happens when adding anything to our tripods, such as a slider unit for video or a horizontal bar for flat-lay photography - our rig becomes top-heavy. Just having a large lens on our camera can cause it to be a little less secure than we might wish.
In the world of photography gadgets, StandDaddy really stands out as being very useful. I find it easier to carry, set up, and use in the field or my studio than the sandbags I’ve been accustomed to.
Check out why Joe Edelman likes using StandDaddy clamps for his work in the field in the video above.
Photography Gadgets for Lenses - Hard Lens Hood
Among photography gadgets, a hard lens hood is invaluable for helping to control contrast reducing stray light that may strike the front lens element. What we might forget is how good a hard lens hood is as a protector for our front lens element.
Whether it came with the lens or was purchased as an add-on, a hard lens hood protects from bumps and scratches. It can also become a crumple zone for drops or if your tripod tips over because you forgot a counterweight.
Using one has saved my bacon numerous times. Just be sure to order and use the proper lens hood for the type of lens you have. You don’t want unintended vignetting by using a lens hood that’s too deep for the focal length of the lens.
Photography Gadgets for Smartphones - Lens Kit
I don't want to leave out anyone photographing with a smartphone (myself included), so an auxiliary lens kit is one of the best photography gadgets I recommend for mobile photography.
While my smartphone has an incredible array of lenses built-in, sometimes we want a wider angle, a wider telephoto reach, or a closer macro. A set of lenses like this one are incredibly useful photography gadgets. It even has a fisheye lens included.
Photography Gadgets for Cameras - Wireless Remote
A wireless or cordless remote control is another of the more useful photography gadgets we could want in our bags. The mechanical cables or air-operated tubes for remote shutter release aren’t usable for modern electronic and digital cameras. However, that is a good thing since the current lineup of releases does more than anyone could have thought of in times past.
Take the Pixel TW-283, for instance. Not only can you use it to trigger your camera's shutter from close by to reduce vibration, but it can also be used from quite a distance away - over 200 feet. It also has options for being used as an intervalometer and a long exposure timer, making possible unique and difficult shots.
Photography Gadgets for Video - LED Light Panel
To separate this item into the realm of photography gadgets and not be simply part of a recommendation as a lighting accessory, I’m suggesting the small, battery-powered, ultra-portable Salarlo CF140C RGB LED light panel.
It can mount on your camera and be used as a continuous video light or for still photography. What I really like about this gadget is that you can hold it in the palm of your hand since it’s a cool LED light, and you can have it change the color of the light output, making it an awesome tool for creative light painting.
Photography Gadgets for Camera - Spirit Level
A simple hot shoe-mounted spirit level is one of my most used photography gadgets in a lot of my professional work and also in my fun photography. I use one when shooting a panorama or with an extremely wide-angle lens. It helps keep straight lines from being distorted, making images easier to view.
I also use it a lot when shooting video, whatever lens I have mounted because a slightly tilted video is hard for viewers to watch, plus it makes your video appear very amateurish. Especially when I’m filming myself for a YouTube feature, I need my lines to be level.
These unique photography gadgets that serve a useful purpose will help you do more with your photography and videography. What are your favorite photography gadgets?