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!
UPDATE: I’ve created a kit of recommended photography accessories here
You can click each small photo to learn more about what each item is.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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!