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7 Things Photographers Should Carry

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7 Things Photographers Should Carry

The Essentials

Wired or Wireless Remote:

The built-in cameras self-timers are ok but not the best for getting the job done, A remote release allows you to trigger your camera's release when you want, without physically touching the camera shutter which can induce those ugly vibrations = blur. Some cable releases will allow you to stand off a short distance – which is fine in most cases + they normally operate using the power from your camera. Newer cameras offer support for wireless remote releases with a longer range, and often front and rear IR receivers, meaning you can trigger the shutter from behind or in front of the lens. I always carry a small wireless remote that operates on a short-range frequency up to about 30 feet and as long as you can see the camera it will normally work.  The only downside to this is the transmitter (hand controller) operates on batteries. Nowadays, the newest cameras have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth – so get the app already!!  This one is my personal favorite.

Cleaning Cloth:

You know how many times I smudged my filter or needed to wipe some grime or water off my equipment out in the field, a bunch. It happens and can be frustrating, so stuff a three pack of micro cloths in your bag for this choir. You will not even know you have it until you need it! Remember using your shirt tail is not all that cool.  Also, It is a good idea to keep the cloths in a reclosable bag.

Plastic Bags:

This is something you learn the hard way – you will eventually get caught in a downpour. I don’t know what kind of equipment you are carrying but having a few plastic bags to shove your gear into for protection is a big life saver. I was out with my Nikon DSLR on a Tripod with a full macro setup ( lens, SU-800, flash) and was carrying this on my shoulder between shots, but I only had my small bag and all this gear would not fit – guess what, It started to rain cats and dogs.  Luckily I had a folded plastic bag with me and I simply slipped the bag over the gear and waited it out.  Nothing damaged, and I continued my hike, a bit damp but my gear was saved. I personally use a 3mil contractor bag.

Spare Battery:

I drove 45 miles to capture a sunrise only to discover once on site my battery was about to expire,  I don’t know how it happened, but I overlooked the one thing we all fear – being away from a power source and our batteries are drained.  That morning I was out of luck and only managed a few shots by keeping the camera turned off until the perfect moment – three shots that were it. I now keep two spares charged and ready to go just don’t forget to rotate your batteries for longer life. 


I hear some people say you don’t need a stinking tripod, you can just crank up the ISO and hand hold. Look you 're right, not every occasion is appropriate for a tripod but if you’re nature/landscape photographer go get yourself a good quality light tripod.  Your images will love you for it.  I got my first pro level tripod a few years ago after using those cheap ones for years. Now I have a leveler and pano head to go with it, its light and rock solid.  Wow – wide sweeping landscapes and a little Photoshop you get one heck of a photo. You will rarely see me out with my camera and not have my tripod in tow.


I will just leave this at filters, whether you carry UV, Polarizing, or SkyFilter – You get protection, and normally increased contrast and reduced glare.  I warn you don’t buy the no name $9.00 ones.  Get the best your money can buy,  I have used B+W, Hoya with very good results and makes the images look fantastic. Some people debate the usefulness of filters; whether they feel the need or not - I have filters on any of my lenses that accepts one. Not only for protection but one day you may wish to sell that lens - and when the new owner looks at the front element it will be pristine.

Did anyone mention ND Filters? You are out on a beautiful rock out cropping and the waves are splashing down at your feet - problem is it is 1pm and the sun is bright. You want to smooth those waves? Pickup a 10 stop ND filter and slip/screw it onto your lens - lowers your shutter speeds and smooths the raging waves.

Memory Card:

I only had this happen one time, and had no spare CF Card with me.  I was out shooting when I got this message on my Nikon DSLR saying the last image was not saved.  I kept shooting, and kept getting warnings.  I opened the camera drawer and reseated the CF card, but still kept getting the warnings.  The card had gone bad and I had no spare, not even a cheapo with me.  I was out of luck.  Like having a car without gas, not much use.  I now carry spares even though my new camera has dual card support, I still carry one each as a spare.

For Special Situations

Small Flash:

If you like to do flower, light macro / close-ups or even informal portraiture a small flash can make the difference between good and fantastic and a little fill can go a long way to add some depth to your images and fill in the shadow areas.  I love using my flash on a small hand wand, this allows me to move the flash anywhere I need it then remote fire using the wireless remote we talked about. This is normally possible for those cameras having a small built-in flash that can be configured as the master.

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