10 Things all photographers need
Being able to use a flash or Speedlight is a skill all photographers need. On or off-camera flash can make a huge difference to your images. If you are in business, this one skill can put you head and shoulders above your competition.
#9 Flash Trigger
A remote flash trigger allows you to use your flash off-camera. This is a crucial piece of equipment if you are going to be shooting with a Speedlight. They work over a distance of 300+ feet (approx. 100 Meters), so you can get really creative.
#8 Camera Bag
Every photographer needs one. The longer you are in photography the more stuff you get, and you need a bag or case to carry that stuff around. They come in lots of styles, including, backpacks, shoulder bags, sling bags, roller, holster, and hard cases.
I started with a medium-sized backpack that I used for two or three years. It took a bit of a beating and is now used to carry speedlights, battery chargers, AA batteries, and anything else I need with me. It was replaced by a Pelican 1510 case, that’s impact-resistant, waterproof, and is carry-on sized. A big plus for me is the wheels and pull-out handle, which any wedding photographer will appreciate at the end of the day.
If you are going to shoot landscapes and need to do some hiking along trails, a case isn’t what you need. You need a large weather-proof backpack.
If you are just starting out check out medium-sized shoulder bags, sling bags, and backpacks.
Some photographers, myself included, go years without using a tripod. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I was trying to get some pics of the moon and I realized how cheap and shaky my old tripod was.
If you are going to be shooting portraits, headshots, products, or landscapes you need a tripod. You won’t use it for all your portraits, but the end results will be sharper when you do. If you’re thinking of taking landscapes you need a tripod 100% of the time.
Avoid the cheaper models, they won’t be sturdy enough for heavy equipment.
#6 Memory Cards
When you are buying memory cards always get the fastest available. The faster the card can save the image the better, especially when you are shooting over 5 frames per second.
Don’t buy one 128Gb card, instead get four 32Gb cards. If you only have one card and it becomes corrupted, you’re in trouble.
#5 Extra Batteries
Having extra batteries is really important. Sometimes batteries fail so you need backups. This is even more important now that mirrorless cameras are being used. The electronic viewfinders use lots of battery power and cause them to run down quickly. I’m looking at you Sony owners.
#4 Camera and Sensor Cleaning Kits
Keeping your lenses clean is extremely important. So buy yourself a cleaning kit with an alcohol spray and lens cloth.
The same goes for your camera’s sensor. If you’ve ever been editing an image and found spots in the sky, then your sensor needs cleaning. When buying you need to match the cleaning pad to the size of your camera’s sensor.
#3 White Balance Card
A white balance card is used to set a custom white balance. Your camera needs to know what 18% gray looks like in the setting where you’re shooting. Once it has that information the whites in your images will be accurate. The simplest type of card is an 18% Gray card, some sets use white and black cards too. You can buy an 18% Gray card for less than $10. Get one it’ll save you time when editing.
You might not think that reflectors are that useful. Well, they are, and using one will change the quality of your portraits. They work by reflecting light onto your subject and removing the shadows. If the sun is hitting the right side of the subject, place a reflector on the left side and angle it to bounce the light onto the subject. The result is an evenly lit subject.
Compared to other equipment they are inexpensive.
#1 50mm 1.8 lens
This lens is the starting point for anyone wanting to shoot professional images. It’s cheap, if you shoot Nikon or Canon, and has a wide range of uses. If you want the best bang for your buck, buy a nifty fifty. You won’t regret it.