15 Useful Photography Gadgets

As a photography I am always on the lookout for new photography gadgets to help enhance and improve my photography.  There are a whole range of photography gadgets on the market, some useful and some less so.  I thought it would be interesting to see what other photographers have in their photography bags and find out what photography gadgets they find most useful and why.  Below are some interesting results from my network of photographers around the world.

Neutral Density Filter (ND Filter)

Neutral Density FilterA neutral density filter is used to reduce the amount of light entering the lens making long exposure photography possible even in bright conditions.  They come in different strengths graded; 0.3 (1-stop), 0.6 (2-stop), 0.9 (3-stop) etc up to 10-stop. The higher the number the less light it allows in.  A 10-stop will make it possible to capture movement blur in waterfalls, the sea, crowded streets etc in the middle of the day.

Why do you like ND Filters?
“Because the results are poetry in motion :-)”

Recommended by: Matthias Hauser, Germany
Visit Matthias’s website for some great examples

64GB Memory Card

Memory Card

Memory cards are now so big and relatively cheap there’s no need to change them during a shoot and they can easily accommodate a whole holiday’s worth (or more) of photographs.

Why do you like the 64GB Memory Card?
“I bought it a year ago and already have over 5,000 images on it. It serves as my third storage backup, after an external hard drive and Flickr.”

Recommended by: Carol Groenen, USA
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Spare Batteries

Digital cameras and flashguns all need battery power to keep them working so it’s always a good idea to have spares so you’re not caught out when the perfect image present itself to you.

Why do you like Spare batteries?
“I never know when I might find interesting things to shoot and spend a whole day out there.”

Recommended by: Aimee Maher, USA
Visit Aimee’s website

Remote Switch/Cable Release

CAbke Release Remote SwitchA remote switch/cable release lets you press the shutter of your camera without risking shaking the camera.  Particularly useful when you’re using a tripod for long exposure shots or if you’re photographing wildlife and you want to keep yourself well hidden.

Why do you like your Remote Switch/Cable Release?

“The remote switch has come to the rescue on occasion as the weather is very changeable here in Donegal.”

Recommended by: Eddie Barron, Ireland
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Mobile Phone

Mobile PhoneThe mobile phone is now much more than a means of making calls.  When out on a shoot it can act as notebook, guide book, translator and map all rolled into one handy pocket sized gadget.

Why do you like your Mobile Phone?

“If I don’t use it to make notes I might get home with 200 photos and lots of work to do because I don’t have the names or details of what I have photographed. That makes it a much tougher job when it comes to uploading images for sale with full descriptions.”

Recommended by: Dorothy Berry-Lound, Italy
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Photographic Reflector

Photographic ReflectorPhotographic reflectors are simple ways to bounce either ambient light or flash light back onto your subject; to fill a shadow, to shade a subject, to put catch-lights in a model’s eyes or to change a colour.  Reflectors can be a piece of paper, a cloth, a sheet of white mounting board or even a smart Lastolite reflector (other brands are available 😉 ).

Why do you like photographic reflectors?

“It lets me change the way light falls on my subject and capture it in the way that that my creative brain is telling me to.”

Recommended by: Chris Wareham, UK
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Polarising Filter

Polarising FilterA polarising or polarizing filter is used to enhance the blue of skies, manage reflections or reduce glare from the surface of lakes or the sea. They are particularly useful when shooting in bright sunny mid-day conditions, enabling a more balanced exposure across the photo.

Why do you like your Polarising Filter?

“I like shooting during mid afternoon hours so the polarizing filter helps me achieve the perfect exposure, especially when including the sky in my shots.”

Recommended by: Judy Wolinsky, USA
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LED Photo System Lights

LED Pro LightsThese lightweight, battery powered daylight lights are so compact they can be carried anywhere.  They can be used get light into difficult areas or to create mini studio set ups.  The size of these lights makes them endlessly flexible.

Why do you like the LED Photo System Lights?

“Traditionally I would be restricted to flashlights but this little light is small enough to hide behind things and is magnetic so I can place them almost anywhere and still use them with a tripod. I have placed the lights in opaque containers to create a larger light or behind water bottles to get a A Fresnel lens effect”

Recommended by: Iris Richardson, USA
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Cross Body Camera Strap

Cross Body Camera StrapThe traditional camera strap hangs round your neck putting strain on the back of the neck.  This can be uncomfortable over long periods, particularly with big DSLR cameras and lens combinations.  The cross body strap places the weight on the shoulder.

Why do you like your cross body camera strap?

“It is much more comfortable than the original strap that comes with the camera. It also has a handy swivel-slider that attaches to the camera body. This slider make for a smooth movement when lifting the camera from hip to eye”

Recommended by: Amy Sorvillo, USA
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Filter System

Filter SystemPhotographic filters are useful creative tools that can help enhance your photography.  There are two main types of filters; round filters that screw directly to the lens and square filters that are held to the lens by a holder.  These filter systems or filter holders come in a range of sizes with adapters to fit different lens threads which means you can use them across a range of lenses of different sizes.

Why do you like the Nisi Filter System?

“I like the NISI system because the same square filters and holder can be used on all my lenses by using adapter rings. I can confidently use the system with consistent sharpness across the frame, with no colour cast.”

Recommended by: Catherine Reading, Australia
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LITRA Torch 800 Lumen Photo and Video Light

Litra TorchThe LITRA torch is a rugged and versatile daylight balanced continuous light packed in a compact cube. The light has three power settings making it perfect for adding light to dark corners when you’re out and about.

Why do you like the Photo and Video Light?

“The main benefit is size; it’s about 1 1/2 inches square, making it easy to attach to the camera or hand hold for just the right angle. It fits quite nicely in a jacket pocket or backpack when not in use, and it’s rechargeable, so I don’t have to worry about extra batteries!”

Recommended by: Sharon McConnell, USA
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Plastic Clamp

Plastic ClampPlastic clamps are not the first thing many would think of as a photography gadget.  But these simple household clamps are perfect for nature photographers to help hold small branches and plants out of shot.

Why do you like your plastic clamp?

“Respecting the environment and leaving everything the way I found it is important, so having the clamp ensures that I get what I want without interference or damage”

Recommended by: Debbie Oppermann, Canada
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70-200 F2.8 Lens

70-200 F2.8 LensAlthough not to everyone’s taste or budget a fast zoom lens offers creative flexibility which will enhance your photography.  All long focal length lenses will compress perspective making near and far objects seem similar sizes, this can make it difficult to make an object stand out.  If though you couple this to a shallow depth of field achieved with a low F-number you can make your subject stand out by blurring the background.  And if your background includes lights then you get some lovely bokeh effects.

Why do you like the 70-200 F2.8 Lens?

“I love the compression, isolation and the Bokeh this lens makes”

Recommended by: Maggie McCall, UK
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Lens Cap Strap

Lens caps are a vital part of keeping your lens element free from dust and scratches but what to do with the cap when you’re taking pictures.  Do you put it in your bag or pocket or balance it on a handy ledge and risk losing it?  A lens cap strap takes away the worry of where you’ve put your cap by attaching it to the lens with a short string.

Why do you like the lens cap strap?

“The strap makes it easy to just hang the cap off my camera and helps me not to lose my cap covers”

Recommended by: Cynthia Guinn, USA
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Camera Rain Cover

Camera Rain CoverWe all need a coat when it rains and your camera is no different in needing protection from the elements.  There are many covers on the market which will give your camera added protection from the rain whilst still giving access to all the controls.  Covers range from clear plastic camera shaped bags to nylon and silk covers with zip fasteners, hand holes clear viewing panels.

Why do you like your camera rain cover?

“I love it because I do a lot of flower photography and many flowers are enhanced by raindrops. Also, if I’m out shooting and it unexpectedly starts to rain, I can protect my camera.”

Recommended by: Anita Pollak, USA
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