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When it comes to photography equipment, most professional photographers will have their kit list nailed down and fine-tuned. Whether shooting digital or film photography, you’ve already got your favorite zoom lenses and know all about the very best cameras for photography. It seems like there’s nothing really new that can be learned…but what about the unusual photography accessories you might not have considered yet?
In this article, we’re running through some of our favorite but most definitely underappreciated accessories for a photographer. Once you add these items to your kit, you’ll never leave them at home again!
Multi-tools are a lifesaver for photographers around the world. When you’re on a shoot, you’re constantly switching out batteries, mounting your camera to tripods and all sorts of other tweaks. Having a multi-tool helps make these processes and switches all the more easier. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve used a Phillips and flat head screwdriver while shooting!
Additionally, multi-tools can be useful from a safety point of view. As photographers, we tend to carry around thousands of dollars worth of equipment, so it’s nice to have a little bit of defense and security. At the very least, your multi-tool should have the following:
- Flat head screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flat sharp blade
- Saw edge blade
- Bottle opener (yes, really)
As a bonus, I’d also suggest an Allen key toolkit as an essential!
Black gaffer tape
It might not strike you as the most important piece of photography equipment but ask any photographer or filmmaker and they’ll swear by this. Sometimes (usually at the most inconvenient of times, actually), something breaks on a shoot. Alongside your multi-tool, having black gaffer tape can save the day.
It’s not going to fix your broken item permanently or hold something together forever, but it will most certainly allow you to finish a shoot and get to the end of the day without too much drama. I’ve used black gaffer tape to fix broken drones out in the middle of the Himalayas and hold together snapped flimsy tripod legs. Don’t forget it.
Photography shoots are supposed to be fun, enjoyable activities, right? Bringing a bluetooth speaker can change the whole vibe of a shoot and I’d consider it one of the best photography accessories you can buy. Although it doesn’t directly impact any of your gear or change your photos, playing the right music can get you into a certain frame of mind and creative flow. Additionally, it could help your model understand the vibe you’re going for, working the angles and feeling more connected to the idea behind your shoot.
Bluetooth speakers nowadays are really small, lightweight and even weatherproof, so there’s no excuse to not bring one, in my opinion!
Whiteboard & notepad
Sticking with the point of any photo shoot being a creative process, bringing a whiteboard or notepad is always useful. On a whiteboard, you can quickly visualize your ideas and communicate them to your team out in the field. With a notepad, you can bring ideas and thoughts that you’ve visualized previously, aiding you on the shoot and reminding you of what you need to get.
This one always gets overlooked. When on a shoot, people eat snacks or there may be labels to cut off some clothing. Whatever it is, there’s going to be some trash to clean up and depending on your location, it’s not always a guarantee that there’ll be a bin to dispose of everything. Bring some trash bags with you to clean up and leave the shoot location as clean and untouched as you found it.
USB power bank
Aside from the camera itself, your phone is probably your most important accessory on any photo shoot. You use it to stay in touch and communicate with your team, navigate, plan and pay for things. So it’s absolutely essential that you don’t run out of battery, right? A lot of people have been caught out when this happens! Bring a USB power bank with you to keep your phone charged and perhaps even charge up some camera batteries, depending on how powerful it is.
Pop-up changing tent
This is shoot-dependent, but let’s say you’re taking photos of a model for a fashion brand and you’re in a more remote, outdoors setting. Having a pop-up changing tent is imperative. Imagine a scenario where you’ve shot one outfit but have four more to go. You want to give your model a way to quickly and safely change outfits so you can continue the shoot. If you don’t have a pop-up changing tent, you might easily waste an hour trying to find a public toilet or some sort of facility where the outfit change can be done!
This is a really underrated item when it comes to accessories for a photographer. If you are doing a fashion shoot or focusing on items of clothing, there’s a high chance you’ll have stray hairs and fluff appearing on the apparel – it’s just a part of life. Rather than go through all the pain and hassle of removing these tiny blemishes in post-processing (this can take HOURS), just remember to pack a few lint rollers with you. These will remove all of the hair and fluff in a few minutes. Easy!
First aid kit
If we’re being sensible, then this should probably be the first piece of photography equipment anyone packs. You never, ever know what’s going to happen on a shoot and, just like with the black gaffer tape, it’s good to have some quick fixes to hand. While you always hope not, sometimes, just like your gear breaking, there might be an injury on the shoot. Having a first aid kit can help smooth all of this out and ensure everyone gets the proper attention and care needed swiftly and effectively.
It’s not strictly essential, but I’ve always found this to be one of the best photography accessories. As much as we’d like to, we can’t control the weather. If we’re shooting in an outdoors environment or just working with natural light in general, then you need to be able to adapt to the dramatic changes that can happen throughout the day.
Placing a color checker in your scene enables you to adjust the white balance accurately in post-processing, keeping all of your images consistent, no matter what changes have taken place with the lighting. It can save you hours of work in post-processing.
So, there are 10 unusual photography accessories that you may not have considered before! Whether you’re shooting with prime lenses, trying out film for the first time or working on a fashion shoot for an outdoors brand halfway up a mountain, these are all useful accessories for a photographer to have at any given time. The most professional photographers always come prepared, ready for any scenario or situation. Bringing these tools with you enables you to create the best images possible.