What Gear Do I Need To Achieve Great Photos?

The centre of the universe is your camera bag and its contents. Your cameras and lenses are the tools of your trade. As you may have noted, both are mentioned in plural because just as you wouldn’t jump out of an aeroplane without a backup parachute, you shouldn’t attempt to photograph an emotionally spiked, non-repeatable event armed with only one camera. The same applies to lenses, too. The many aspects that comprise shooting weddings—portraits, the ceremony, dimly lit environs, tight, crowded quarters and bright outdoor settings—can push both the creative and practical limitations of the most experienced photographers.

Cameras and lenses aside, other items should be part of all wedding photographers’ war chests. Having these items on hand and knowing how to use them can make the difference between a great wedding album and one that’s mundane.

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It’s always important to think about the final product with anything we shoot. With product photography, are you attempting to fill a gigantic billboard and, therefore, need a megapixel monster of a camera? Or will your images be used on a website and be no larger than 1000px?

As well as the final output of your images, it’s essential with product photography to think about what you are shooting. More specifically, I am referring to the surface; is it reflective or matte? For example, if one was only to be shooting clothing, you could use a very different setup instead of someone who was constantly shooting jewellery. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on any piece of equipment, try and think about precisely what you will be photographing. If the answer to that question is potentially anything, then you will need a lot of stuff. If the answer is clothing for e-commerce on a pure white background, then you could get away with very little. I know large companies that use just one light to shoot all of their clothing in a conveyor belt style fashion.

16 Camera Accessories & Why You Need Them

Still wondering what accessories you need for your digital camera here in 2021?

I know that browsing photo websites or window-shopping at the store can tempt you to buy lots of fascinating things. But unless you have an unlimited budget (and storage space), having a concise shopping list for your camera system will make your decision much more straightforward. Choosing the right wedding photographer in Melbourne to capture every moment on your wedding day. 

Here’s the list I recommend, in no specific order of priority – this will depend on the photo results you need to achieve or the problem you’re trying to solve.

Lens Cleaning Kit

An immediate must-have after you buy your camera and lens is a cleaning kit. You want to keep your gear as clean, shiny, and polished as it is right out of the box.

Of course, this won’t replace regular trips for professional cleanings at an authorised centre, but it will optimise everyday use.

To clean your lens from any dust or fingerprints, you should get a micro-fibre cloth. This inexpensive piece of material can save your costly gear from getting scratches.

Also, regularly clean the sensor with an air blower, significantly if you change lenses regularly.

Memory Card

What Gear Do I Need To Achieve Great Photos?

Another immediate purchase after the camera is a memory card, and the more you get into photography, the more memory cards you’ll need!

This also depends on the card’s capacity, the size of the images your camera delivers, and the kind of photography you do.

For example, if you’re into sports photography, you’ll probably often shoot in burst mode, and that goes through the storage space very quickly.

When you’re buying your memory cards, you’ll need to consider the format, the speed, and the capacity.

Tripod

Everyone should have a tripod in their gear. It can be a small and light travel tripod or a heavy full-size studio one; this will depend on your own needs.

Whatever the case, a tripod can be helpful for many things. The first and most common is to avoid camera shake; having your camera stable will give you more freedom to move the settings for long exposures.

This can be useful for creative purposes when doing long exposure photographs or practical reasons if you’re dealing with low light situations.

A tripod can be of help too when you need to keep a steady composition, for example, when you’re doing food or product photography. Or when you need a precise focus, as you do in macro shots.

When you choose a tripod, you need to consider the material, for example, carbon fibre is lighter than aluminium, but it comes with a price. However, if you’re planning on taking it on the road, weight can be a big issue.

Also, check the head of the tripod. A ball head will give you a lot of versatility, but a pan and tilt head gives you more control over minor adjustments. Some brands make their tripods so that the head is interchangeable.

And if you don’t have a camera to hand, use a phone tripod to make the most of smartphone photography’s convenience.

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Protective Wrap

Sometimes, you may want to take your camera with you, but you can’t bring a dedicated camera bag – perhaps it’s too bulky or because it will grab too much attention.

Either way, putting it inside a regular bag or backpack might be the best choice, but then you’ll need to provide extra protection.

A protective wrap is a perfect solution for these situations. It won’t take up any extra space, and it will keep your camera from getting scratched with other things in the bag.

It will also provide some cushioning to protect the camera from light bumps, although this won’t help with rough handling, so be careful.

Camera Bags

Camera bags come in many different styles. You can choose a backpack, a shoulder bag, a messenger camera bag, a holster bag, or a sling bag. They can open on the side of the front. They will have one or more compartments for other gear, etc.

There’s a wide variety for you to choose from and many people have more than one.

The most important thing to consider in a camera bag is quality because it will be holding very variable equipment.

Then, make sure that it gives you easy access to your equipment. Consider also size and weight because it needs to fit the equipment without damaging it but still be comfortable for you to carry.

Lens Filters

From all the lens filters that you’ll see on the market, some are more essential than others.

Polarising filter – this is a very versatile and practical filter that you can get. It’s primarily used for landscapes because it deepens blue skies. It’s also valuable for removing reflections by avoiding any clipping in the highlights, making it useful for anything with a reflective surface. 

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These filters are divided into two categories: circular (CPL) and linear. The results you get with both are the same, but the circular one will work better with your camera’s metering system.

UV filter: If you do film photography, this is an essential camera accessory. If you shoot digital, then its use is debatable.

Many photographers (myself included) stick by its importance, and yes, in many cases, this is because we started with film photography. However, even if digital sensors are not sensitive to UV rays, it can’t hurt to put a filter on, if nothing else, to protect the lens from dust and scratches.

ND filters: Neutral density filters are a must-have for long exposures. With them, you can reduce the intensity of light and therefore make longer exposure times.

Lens Hood

This accessory is used to prevent glare. You simply attach it to the front of the lens, and it will block the glow from a light source coming in from the side.

(Some photographers also use them as protection for their lens from knocks.)

Lens hoods come in many shapes and sizes. Some of the most common are three petals and cylindrical, but you can also find conical or four different sized petals.

They’re not expensive and can save many of your shots. Usually, they’re included with the lens purchase.

Remote Shutter Release

This accessory allows you to fire off your camera from far away. This can come in handy if you’re doing a self-portrait, shooting from the top down, or using a slow shutter speed that can be sensible to the slightest movement.

Bubble Level

Most tripods include a bubble level so you can balance your camera, but what about working handheld?

There are some bubble levels that you can attach to the camera’s hot shoe and make sure that the camera is straight with the horizon. You can also buy them with 2 or 3 axes to align your camera to more planes.

Camera Strap

What Gear Do I Need To Achieve Great Photos?

I know what you’re thinking: why buy a strap if the camera already comes with one. Yes, that’s true, but the kit camera strap is not exceptionally comfortable nor attractive.

If you’re out shooting the entire day, a neck strap can be uncomfortable and cause you to end up in pain. That’s when a different belt is needed.

Sling or cross-body straps – hangs from one of your shoulders, so you can switch from one to the other as you need to rest. You can also use it across the chest to distribute the weight more evenly.

Many wedding photographers find this style to be the best, not only to carry around for 8 hours but also because you can use two of them at a time to carry two cameras.

Wrist and hand straps – are mainly used with small or lightweight cameras like the mirrorless system. It gives a break to your neck and shoulders while keeping your camera (literally) on hand.

Nifty Fifty

A range of focal lengths is always essential, especially if you are just moving up from your kit zoom lens.

One of the most versatile camera lenses that you can buy as a fast prime lens is a 50mm, also known as the nifty fifty. The image quality that you can get with it is impressive, especially for the price.

50mm is known as a ‘normal’ or ‘standard’ lens, which means that you won’t get any distortion. You’ll also capture the scene and subject as closely as possible as to how we perceive them with a naked eye.

Also, these types of lenses have a maximum aperture of f/1.4 or f/1.8 for very reasonable prices, allowing you to blur the background on the cheap!

Flash

An on-camera flash comes in different models. A Speedlite or flashgun is commonly the first artificial lighting that you’ll come across, and it will become a faithful companion.

The more you grow, the more models you might need – for example, you can get a ring flash for portraits. You can also get all sorts of accessories and modifiers to make them more versatile.

Some of the most popular ones are softboxes, arm brackets, and filters. You can also grow into studio photography, putting the speedlites on tripods and using them as strobes.

Photo-Editing Software

No matter your photography standard or experience with image manipulation/retouching, all photographers need to have photo-editing software.

Think of editing like the icing on the cake – without it, your photo won’t be its very best.

The industry standard for digital image editing the Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom, but these incur a subscription fee.

Thankfully, there are several other excellent programs aside from the Adobe apps to choose from here in 2021, so you’re likely to find something for your exact needs and budget.

Extra Batteries and Battery Grip

Depending on the kind of photography you do, you might find yourself working long hours before you can go back to the studio, so you need to have some extra batteries.

Even if you work in the studio and have long photoshoots, you might want at least one extra battery to use while you recharge the first one, and so on.

Consider getting a battery grip if you shoot in these conditions often. With a battery grip, you can have your extra batteries attached to the camera, and at the same time, have a bit of extra grip to make hand-holding the camera for long periods more comfortable.

Some of them even include a continuous mode feature that boosts the burst rate and an extra shutter button on the side for holding the camera in portrait orientation.

Tethering Cable

If you shoot mainly in the studio instead of outdoors, I recommend getting a tethering cable.

You can connect your camera to your computer and have a live view of the shot with one. This is excellent for composing and styling your images.

It’s also much appreciated by clients because they can see what you’re doing, and they can let you know if they need something different.

You can also save your images directly as you shoot them, with some editing software also applying presets to photos as they appear on the screen.

SD Card Reader

One final essential accessory is a memory card reader. SD is the most common card format, but double-check which one your camera uses before buying a card reader.

If you own multiple cameras (or a model with two different format card slots), there are multi-format card readers.

Some photographers prefer to plug the camera into their computer directly, but a reader is much faster.

The Benefits of Working With the Camera Equipment You Already Have

We have all heard the expression, “The gear does not make the photo. The photographer makes the photo.” That being said, the gear does undoubtedly help in perfecting the art of photography.

If you are a professional photographer or even a serious amateur, you know that photography is quite an expensive profession/hobby. Good equipment can be costly, and by the time you build your everyday gear bag, it can set you back several thousands of dollars. Just when you think you have the perfect setup, you hear about the latest camera or a faster lens than what you have just released for pre-order. Gear lust is genuine among photographers! If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

There are several advantages to renting photographic equipment.

  • The cost of renting is typically much lower than the cost of buying the gear. This becomes more relevant if it is not something you will use too often (like a mega telephoto lens, fish-eye, or tilt-shift lens).
  • Ability to try out the equipment and see if it suits your style of photography. Once you know you like a piece of gear, you can invest and realise you’re making the right choice.
  • Using a rental as a backup system for assignments, especially events like weddings or concerts.
  • Travelling light and having gear shipped directly to your hotel is an option many photographers mention as a plus for renting. This also eliminates travel-related anxiety around lost luggage and excess baggage charges.
  • Using a rental when your main gear is out for repair. This lets you keep working while you wait for repairs to be completed.
  • Eliminating buyer’s remorse. It is true that not every piece of gear works for everyone. Frequently we buy gear because a particular photographer that we admire has the same equipment, only to be disappointed that our pictures are nowhere like theirs.

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