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“You don’t take a photograph—you make it,” reads a quotable quote from famous landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Indeed, great photography involves mastery of all elements outside of the snapshot. The perfect photograph is rarely an accident. Rather, it is often the product of numerous shots, carefully adjusted angles, and movements from position to position. Those who take the hobby seriously, or those that have made a living out of it, know how much should be invested in the practice—especially on the part of additional tools for the camera.
If you’re among the biggest photography enthusiasts and you want to take your craft to the next level, here’s our recommendation of the nine important tools you should have. With these on hand, your photography toolkit goes from functional to exceptional.
- Camera bag. A good camera bag is a must-have for a serious photographer. Invest in one with ample compartments for your camera parts and accessories. Make sure that the inside has cushioning, and that the outside can protect your camera from water, dust, and dirt.
- Straps and holsters. Straps are also essential camera accessories. They’ll keep your camera hanging safely from your body when not in use. Most professional photographers also use holsters or camera belts, so that they can easily alternate from one camera unit to another.
- Cleaning kit. Some of the implements you can keep in your cleaning kit are a rocket dust blower, a soft brush, microfiber cloths, and cleaning swabs for your lenses and sensors. These are affordable, easy to pack, and make dusting off stray particles a breeze.
- A dedicated photo printer. Allot a space at home or in your workstation for a photo printer that can test-print your shots with high quality. To save up on printing and hardware expenses, you can opt to equip your printer with compatible or generic ink cartridges instead of their OEM counterparts. It isn’t hard to shop for compatible cartridges, as well as ink that can reproduce clear lines and bold colors in your photographs.
- Tripod. Tripods enable optimum shooting positions from multiple angles, and from multiple levels of elevation. Busy photographers will need to choose tripods that they can move around, pick up, put down, and even bust up during shoots.
- External flash unit. Also known asflash guns or speedlights, external flash units help photographers maneuver for the best shots when the natural lighting situation is not ideal. If you have a flash gun or speed light on hand, you’ll find yourself opting to use these over your camera’s built-in flash system.
- Camera filters. This is another subset of must-have tools for shooting with different lighting conditions, notably outdoors. Easily control the amount of light per shot with polarizing or UV filters.
- Storage devices. Photographers know that it will take tens, sometimes hundreds of shots, to single out the right one. Knowing that you’ll need to pick from so many files, don’t leave for a shoot without several memory cards or a hard drive. These will make for easy file browsing, storage, and backup.
- Camera charger and batteries. You also wouldn’t want to run out of power while spending long hours at a shoot. Make sure you bring your camera’s charger, as well as the type of batteries specified by your camera model.
Photography has proven extremely rewarding in recent times—not only as a hobby, but as a specialized and highly marketable career. Top-grade gear isn’t the only thing that will push your craft forward, but it will go a long way in deepening your skill, experience, and overall enjoyment of the art of photography.