It is a dream of every photographer to capture the elusive perfect image that will wow the world. Unfortunately, despite putting much effort and practice, most beginner photographers struggle to capture images that will stand out. It is even more serious when you are trying to take product images for an online store knowing that people will most likely make a purchase decision with what they can see in the image. Although tools like ecommerce product configurator exist to help store owners optimize their store images, you will need a quality image to use.
Tools that can help you capture quality images include:
1. Camera cleaning kit
Clean optics are essential for the quality of your images. Before you start taking pictures, you should first clean your optics to ensure that the camera captures the best image quality. In addition to ensuring quality images, cleaning up your optics also ensures the longevity of your camera. Some photographers make a mistake of cleaning their camera lenses with a t-shirt or a paper towel, which can potentially scratch the lenses. Instead, you should always carry a cleaning kit that should at least have a microfiber cloth, lens pen, and a pocket blower.
2. Camera Tripod
A camera tripod is a versatile camera accessory that every photographer should have. Whether you will be shooting portrait, landscape, street, night or wedding photography, a tripod will come in handy. A tripod adds stability to your shooting bringing new possibilities and perfection. With a tripod, you can be able to capture quality images in a low light setting as the tripod lets you take longer-exposure shots without any camera shake.
3. Remote shutter release
As a photographer, a remote shutter release is one of the photography accessories that you should always carry. The remote shutter release lets you take shots without physically operating your camera reducing the likeliness for camera shake and accident blurring. Remote shutter releases can be wired or wireless, but the best depends on your preferences. It is also possible to find remote with advanced features such as built-in timers, half-press support, and LCD screens.
4. Prime Lens
Most professional photographers use DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for photography, which makes owning several prime lenses (each of which has a single focal length for example 20mm) very important. For a beginner, you should look for lenses that offer several possibilities to enable you to advance your photography skills by experimenting with different types of photography. A fixed camera lens lets you think through your shots stretching your skills and abilities.
Even if you do not intend to shoot in the dark, a flash will come in handy at some point in your shooting such as with beach shots, bright sun behind a subject etc. A built-in flash may not be good enough, or it may not offer you many possibilities. External flash units are usually not very expensive, and thus, every photographer should invest in a powerful, feature-rich unit.
6. Collapsible reflector
If you love trying your photography skills on different things, you will find a collapsible reflector very useful when taking still-shot portraits, food, and products. When choosing a reflector, you should look for a versatile product that is suitable for in studio and on location photography.
7. Memory cards
Photographers carry more than one card. Instead of buying a big card, you should purchase several standard units. Cards can get corrupted or lost, which would put all your images at risk if you only keep your images in your big card. The card can also die or malfunction during a shooting session, which will put the session in jeopardy if you have only one card.
8. UV and Polarizing Filters
These filters in addition to protecting your expensive lens block out UV light and make your photographs look better. Modern cameras block UV light but these inexpensive filters can protect the front element from dust and scratches or even breakage. Polarizing filters on the other hand cut out polarized light entering the camera much like polarized sunglasses. They can darken an image and get rid of reflections.
9. Memory card Wallet
Memory cards are small and getting smaller, fragile and easily lost. If you havent lost a memory card yet, even if you are not a professional photographer making a living from photography, you do not know the feeling. Heres a tip from experience- get yourself a memory card wallet.
10. Camera bag
Lets face it, camera equipment is expensive and fragile. You do not want your $2000 DSLR banging into door frames and benches. Not to mention if you travel, most regular bags do not offer enough protection, just like with laptops. Most camera bags offer adjustable dividers which make it easy to make sure your gear such as lenses does not move in your bag at all.
11. Head lamp
If you ever find yourself needing to change lenses, clean a camera, replace batteries, or find something in your camera bag in complete darkness when on a photo shoot you know how useful and important hands free lamps are. The camera’s light is just not enough.
12. Camera Bubble Level
These attach to your camera’s hot shoe and are a useful indicator for leveling, especially if your camera does not have such an indicator.
13. ND Filters
Neutral Density filters or ND filters control how much light will enter your camera’s sensor. If you are shooting in bright light and want to use specific camera settings, such as a slow shutter speed for the illusion of motion in a photograph, you will need these. Otherwise the photo will be overexposed.
Graduated ND filters on the other hand have variable light transmission, so in simpler terms different parts of the filter allow a different amount of light through. This is especially useful in landscape photography where the sky is brighter than the foreground and you want to see the results in the camera rather than waiting for post processing of the image.
14. White balance card
To make sure that objects which appear white in real life are rendered white in a photograph you need white balance cards. This allows the camera to take into account the color temperature of the light source in your shot, whether its sunlight, fluorescent, tungsten etc.
15. Spare batteries
Even with the improvement in battery life in recent years, depending on how much you are shooting, what besides the camera you are powering such as flash, and especially if you are using mirrorless cameras which use an electronic viewfinder, you should carry spare batteries. This is expecially true on longer trips and when you are in temperature extremes.
16. Battery chargers
Depending on how much you shoot and how long you have in between shooting, having more than one charger can be a good idea. Some may be compatible with international voltages, some may be able to run on a DC car current.
17. Camera straps
There are so many types of camera straps out there these days, you should never feel like you have your hands full with your photography equipment. You can carry cameras on your neck, on your wrist, on your chest, on your shoulder, on your backpack strap, etc. More importantly, straps keep your hands free to make sure you are safer and protect your equipment.
18. Camera grip
A camera grip serves several functions. It makes smaller cameras easier to hold for extended amounts of time, allows you to hold the camera vertically comfortably, holds extra batteries, and gives you additional shutter button locations.
19. Lens cap
Lens caps are not just there for looks. They protect your expensive glass and filters from dust, scratches, and nasty sharp objects that seem to always come out of nowhere. Better carry a spare in the correct diameter for each lens you own.
20. Card reader
A quality SD card reader also comes in handy as it allows you to quickly transfer your images to a computer for further processing. If youre in a bind, you can also use camera memory cards just like hard drives to store files, folders etc.
How to choose the best essential photography accessories for your needs
Choosing the best photography accessories can be hard. You may have to factor various things that include price, quality, weight, build, and handling, among others. The process is further completed by the fact that different photographers require different gadgets. What is best for a beginner may not be ideal for a semi-pro photographer. Furthermore, what a professional photographer needs may be different from what an enthusiast photographer needs. Different photography equipment such as cameras come with various features that make them ideal for different photography needs.
As a beginner photographer, you will find a camera with auto control feature more useful. Choosing the photo features such as shutter speed, ISO setting, and aperture can be hectic and even make you miss some crucial images. If you are a beginner, it is best to look for gadgets with simple camera modes like night mode, sport mode, and portrait mode. Professional photographers usually look for accessories with advanced features as simple camera modes are too restrictive.
The ideal way to choose the best camera accessory for your photography needs is to choose based on your experience. Professional gear is best if you are familiar with most camera settings and good in switching between different modes and settings. If you are looking to learn while taking the best photos, you should look for a camera and camera accessories that offer both auto and manual operation modes.
The right photography gadgets and accessories can help you get the picturesque shot as well as make your photography more enjoyable by opening up new possibilities. However, before purchasing an accessory, you should ensure that it is compatible with your camera.
Don’t forget to read our essential photography equipment for beginners.