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Let me be the first to tell you, I have GAS. I got it bad.
No, not the gas you may be thinking of, but one more associated with photography – Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
Over the last 10 years in photography, I’ve bought A TON of accessories and pieces of gear that I thought were going to be game changers.
“Check it out, a tripod head that rises up and holds position.” Yeah, I bought this two years ago and can count the times I’ve used it on a fist — zero.
While not all of them were the game-changers I had hoped, there are some that I won’t leave home without and are constantly packed in my camera bag. Below is a list of some of my favorite accessories I’ve purchased over the years.
Please note that I do shoot Nikon and am obviously more familiar with those accessories. I tried to grab links to the Canon and Sony equivalents, or another brand that has been well received
Circular Polarizing Filters
These can easily be a nature photographer’s best friend. Simply stated, polarizing filters can help cut out surface reflections and accentuate colors. There are a few general rules to keep in mind when shooting with them, one being, they are most effective when shooting 90 degrees away from the sun.
For an accessory that is less than $50, these filters are a great investment. The most common sizes are between 52mm and 77mm, but to be sure of what size you need, check the back of the lens cap and you’ll see it marked.
BUY ON AMAZON
Neutral Density Filters
If you find yourself hooting during the day when the sun is high in the sky, or want to show motion during when it’s light out, Neutral Density Filters are another great addition to the bag. ND Filters can get costly, as each can be between $75 to $100, but the benefits are well worth it.
I currently have a square filter set up, but there are circular ones as well. The square filters require more set-up time and are more fragile, but one piece of glass can work for various lenses.
Circular filters require less time to set up and can take a bit more of a beating, but they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you go for the cheaper circular filters, they can cause a vignette on some photos.
If you’re looking to go with square filters below is you shopping list. Square filters also require a rig to hold the glass to the lens. The rigs are comprised of basically two components: the Filter Holder and Adapter Rings.
Lee Filters makes an excellent, easy-to-assemble Filter Holder, but Lee’s adapter rings tend to be a bit costly. Filter Dude makes adapter rings that are a more friendlier-price and work perfectly. The adapter rings come in various sizes to match the lens, so similar to the polarizing filters, match the size of the ring with your lens cap.
If you want to go the circular rout, B+W provides 72mm Adapter Ring.
We can easily get into much more details on filters – perhaps we’ll save that for a future post.
A camera remote, or remote triggers, can be wires or wireless and is a device you typically use when you want to avoid camera shake during a long exposure. Foto&Tech makes easy-to-use wired remotes for Nikon, Canon, and Sony.
There are wireless options and of course each manufacturer makes their own, but they tend to be more costly. The wired options from Foto&Tech are reliable and under $15.
When on the road or traveling to another country, bringing a full-size tripod can be cumbersome and take up a lot of valuable space. Having a good travel tripod will go a long way. Check out the koolehaoda KQ-166 Travel Tripod for this purpose.
This compact tripod is lightweight, comes with its own case and can easily go anywhere with you.
I’m a sucker for bags. Messenger bags. Backpacks. Bags with wheels. You name it, and I probably have had it at some point. The Slingshot Edge 250AW by Lowepro has become my favorite bag of all time. It’s perfect for carrying at least one body, two lenses and a bunch of other accessories. I can easily carry everything I just mentioned, as well as my filters, trigger, and tripod! There’s so much room for activities!
Aside from speedlights, which every event photog should own, having a portable lighting option is a great secret weapon to have in the arsenal. Which leads me to my next piece of gear — the Neewer Light and Stand Lighting Kit.
The kit comes with two stands, two lights, four batteries and four chargers. I purchased this kit specifically for a headshot session, and it has paid off ten-fold.
I most recently used it in a music video shoot (which you all will hopefully see before the summer is over), and I must say the battery life is impressive. I was able to use the lights at full power for about three and a half to four hours. Also fun fact — if the batteries die, you can always plug them in for an endless light source!
I’m gonna be honest, when I first saw these hit the scene, I thought they were dumb. But when you find yourself with an Amazon gift card and you’re looking to indulge, you might find yourself buying a Lensball. They don’t take up too much space in your camera bag and can add a fun, unique element to nature photography.
Deyard K020 Memory Card Case
I used to have memory cards scattered all over the place and some floating around loosely in my bag. But no more! The Kepton Memory Card Case can hold SD and micro SD cads — storing up to 24 memory cards!
This list can go on for days with the amount of camera accessories that are available to us. While I know I didn’t hit them all, share with us what some of your favorite purchases have been.