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Extremely Essential Camera Skills
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11 Overlooked Photography Accessories

It’s easy to get wrapped up with cameras and lenses and forget some of the small things that make shooting a little easier. Here are 11 accessories that Lauren and I have started to use over the years and can’t live without!

(Note: I linked to B&H where we buy most of our photography gear, as well as a few other stores)

1. Canon Hand Strap with connector - The leather Canon hand strap has worn in beautifully. Lauren prefers to use a handstrap rather than a neckstrap, so this Canon one was a very nice option. And since she also likes shooting a camera without a battery grip (smaller and lighter) we needed to get something that would screw into the tripod mount so that you could attach the hand strap. The connector linked to above comes with it’s own hand strap, but it’s not very good quality. This system works out really well.

camera-accessories-11.jpg

2. Focusing Screen - Have problems keeping your horizons level and your straight lines straight? We were, so we picked up a few of these and they’ve helped a ton! They come with a tool to remove the current focusing screen, and a handy container to store the spare in. I included a link to one for the 5D mk II, but they exist for all camera body types.

camera-accessories-10.jpg

3. Flash Battery Pack – This flash battery pack is a little pricey, but when you need your flash to recycle much faster (first dance, bride is coming down the aisle, etc) it can be a life saver. It holds 8 AA batteries and comes with that little pouch. Nikon users have a nearly identical option – though I haven’t tried it myself.

camera-accessories-9.jpg

4. Intervalometer - This device will allow you to create time lapses. You plug it into the remote shutter release port, and program it to take a photo at certain time intervals (i.e. every 10 seconds). Then walk away and come back an hour or two later and presto! You’ve got your time lapse. Canon makes one for over $130, yikes! Pick one of these generic ones up (looks identical) for under $25. From what I understand Nikon users are lucky enough to have built in intervalometers. P.S. You’ll need to make sure you get the one that fits your camera model.

camera-accessories-8.jpg

5. Battery Conditioner / charger – I couldn’t find the exact model shown here so I linked to a similar product. If you have to charge a lot of AAs picking yourself up a good charger is definitely a must. These chargers have soft charging and conditioning modes which really help extend the life of your batteries ensuring you’ve always got a full charge! Along with the flash battery pack this was a pricier accessory to pick up.

camera-accessories-7.jpg

6. Wireless Remote – Control the shutter from far away. Another no-name option to save a bit of money, since Canon branded accessories seem to be very expensive! We photographed our own wedding using these! Again make sure you get the right one for your camera model.

camera-accessories-6.jpg

7. Video Light –  This handy little light is how we do a lot of our ring shot for weddings. We also use them for portraits at night occasionally. It looks like it’s been discontinued from B&H so I linked to Adorama.

camera-accessories-5.jpg

8. Firewire Card Reader – Do you spend a lot of time uploading cards after a wedding or shoot? These FW 800 card readers (4-stackable) are indispensable. They’re also pretty pricey, but pay for themselves in the time you save over the course of a wedding or portrait season.

camera-accessories-4.jpg

9. Lenspen – If you have a smudge on your lens that you want to get rid of, these work perfect. We always have a few of these in our bags and always pick a few up with every gear order. From what I understand the cap contains a special charcoal sponge, so every time you put the cap back on, give it a half twist and it will be good to go for next time.

camera-accessories-3.jpg

10. Rocket Blower – We use this all the time to blow off bits of dirt and dust. It seems we frequently get stopped when going through security with this, they always want to see what it is. :)

camera-accessories-2.jpg

11. Macrorings – Turn any lens into a macro lens. It will be manual focus, but that’s fine. Way cheaper than purchasing an actual macro lens, and a great tool to experiment with.

camera-accessories-1.jpg

Any accessories you think are often over looked or you find indispensable? Leave a comment and let others know!

UPDATE: Justin Van Leeuwen found the charger shown above (Maha PowerEx), as well as a source for cheaper battery packs!! Thanks!

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

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Extremely Essential Camera Skills

Extremely Essential Camera Skills

A multi-media tutorial designed to help you get control over your camera, and get creative and confident with your photography.

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Discussion

21 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. This is a fantastic post. Thanks guys! I've been looking for a way to use a hand strap on a non-gripped body.

  2. a really important photo accessory :
    5-in-1 photo reflectors (lumidisc et al) — if you at all want to make the most out of a naturally lit photo, these things are it. fill in harsh shadows, soften light, all in one go!

  3. For Canadian shoppers, the maha powerex charger I actually picked up from one of those weird internet stores that carry batteries AND knives (Paulsfinest.com) and Flashzebra.com has some of the battery packs (Canon and Nikon) for a fraction of the branded cost. I think you void your warranty on the flash when using off-brand but I've had it for a year now and have had no problems.

  4. @ Justin – Thanks for the links and suggestions I'll add them to the post!

  5. Awesome Post Lauren. MACRORINGS! Didn't know even existed! You just saved us $500+ instead of buying a new macro lens! =)

  6. So Sorry Rob! Didn't realize it was your post! =) You're awesome too! Just wondering what focal length (or lenses) worked well with your Macrorings?

  7. great post! I've been jonesin' a hand grip for a while now – can't wait to ditch the neck strap!!

    ok – stupid question here – the batt pack – is that for when you are using off camera flash, or do you use it for running and gunning??

  8. @ James Nelson – We use it all the time during the reception. Just throw the battery pack in a shoot sac, or wear it on your belt. The phone-style cord doesn't get in the way too much. You can of course use it for off camera flash as well!

    @ Anthony – We usually use it with the 50 1.4 or 85 1.8. I should also mention that it's not a perfect macro solution. There is a bit of distortion in the corners (almost similar to a lens baby) which I kind of like, but if you're only using a macro to do detail shots this will do the trick nicely (an expensive dedicated macro lens. For $10 give it a try!

  9. good post ! thx

  10. I think that video light comes in a nice LED form now, too.

    One of the best posts EVER. I didn't know about macro extenders, and those grips sure seem to come in handy. If I have some spare cash over the summer, I know what I'm picking up!

  11. cool post Rob & Lauren :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Have you guys tried the Canon Focus Screen that's geared to manual focus? It's suppose to work really well with manual focus, but it darkens the viewfinder with any lens slower than a 2.8. I'm thinking about it . . . . Here's a link on Adorama:

    http://www.adorama.com/ICAEFS.html?utm_source=gbase&utm_medium=Shopping%20Site&utm_campaign=Other&utm_term=Other

  13. Thanks Josh! I did see that (thanks for the link). I wish they had that screen in combination with the grid focusing screen – I can't shoot without the grid now!

  14. WOW! Thank you so much!

  15. Thank you so much for this post. I have a bit of a shopping list now….. so excited to put some of these to use this coming season!

  16. macro rings, how did i not know about these little guys! off to search for them now, thank you so much :)

  17. I never knew that about twisting the cap on a smudge pen! Can't wait to go try it. Also these are some really helpful tools you've pointed out. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  18. Once again, amazing post, Rob. I have been looking at non-Canon macro ring extension tubes and I noticed yours is not Canon brand. Most off-brand tubes do not come with instructions. Do you have any tips on mounting the tube and the lens? I have heard horror stories about people getting the extension tube stuck on their camera!! Yikes.

  19. Thanks for commenting everyone!

    @Sunday – The offbrand macro rings we have are a bit snug but they do come off without difficulty. The way these tubes work is that there is a camera mount end, and a lens mount end, and then several different length tubes that screw together. One tip would just be to make sure that the tubes are screwed together tightly (so that the lens doesn't come off). It's not something that's ever been a problem, but something to look out for.

  20. Thank you for the quick response! I really appreciate it. Looking forward to experimenting with my new macro rings!

  21. My partner and I use something call Rapid-Strap for our camera’s – Santa picked them up at Henry’s last Christmas. We love them! We also use the Lens Pens and like them.

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