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10 Great Pieces of Camera Equipment for the New Year

great-pieces-of-camera-equipment

The equipment you use in photography can do much for the types of photos you create. The purchase of an additional lens can unlock new areas of photography for you that were otherwise not an option. There are lots of pieces of equipment you can buy for photography beyond the camera body and lens. In this article, you will learn how to accessorize your equipment. Interested in that? Read on and discover ten great pieces of camera equipment you could buy to boost your creativity!

LED light stick

There are many items you can use for light painting. A simple flashlight, your smartphone, or a glow stick, to name just a few.

A few years ago a new product entered the market though, and it’s changed the game. There are two companies you can look towards if you want to get hold of an LED light stick yourself. The choice of the product then is the pixelstick and the magilight.

These are both LED light sticks, and each product has its good and bad points. The bottom line is they both allow you to program light patterns that then transmit through a series of LED lights. They allow you absolute control of the light painting, and therefore give you maximum creativity!

Image: An LED light stick can be a lot of fun to use.

An LED light stick can be a lot of fun to use.

A glass ball for camera equipment?

Yes, that’s right! Those who have read articles written by me for digital photography school will know I often use a crystal ball for my photography. The product has been rebranded in recent years, and in photography circles, it’s now known as the lensball.

This is a great piece of camera equipment, that’s relatively inexpensive. How many camera lenses have you bought for less than fifty dollars? That’s what this product represents – it’s like an external lens optic that you can place almost anywhere within your scene.

Are you looking to buy a lensball? You can do that from lens ball, or refractique. These are rival companies that offer a similar package, they’re more expensive than some others on amazon but come with better quality glass and other items that make the package better-suited for photographers.

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A glass ball works just like an external lens, or put simply, a lensball.

Tripod

This item might just be the most creative item you’ll ever buy for your photography.

Other items you can buy will give you an extra option in your photography, a tripod, on the other hand, opens up a host of new ways for you to photograph.

Take a look at some of the photography techniques that need, or benefit from, having a tripod. Now it’s worth investing in a good tripod, one that’s sturdy enough that it doesn’t move during the exposure. If you’re traveling and want something smaller and less heavy, then the Gorillapod or a carbon fiber, lightweight tripod from K&F Concepts might be for you. See a reviews on the Gorillapod here and the K&F Concepts tripod here).

  • Light painting – The use of products such as an LED light stick for creating interesting light patterns in your photo requires a tripod because it’s a long exposure.
  • Long exposure – Lots of creative landscape photos use long exposure. This could be to flatten seawater, create silky white water at a waterfall, or to produce traffic light trails in a cityscape image.
  • Digital blending – While it’s possible to take a set of bracketed images with your camera handheld, it’s much better to use a tripod. Digital blending works best with a set of bracketed images of different exposure values.
  • Cloning – Set up your tripod and clone yourself or an inanimate object across the scene your camera is recording.
  • Infra-red – Unless you convert your camera to infra-red, you’ll need to use a filter for this form of photography. That will mean a long exposure.
  • Self-portraits – The next step up from the handheld selfie. Get your camera set up on a tripod, and properly place yourself within the scene!
Image: Use a tripod and take multiple photos to clone yourself!

Use a tripod and take multiple photos to clone yourself!

Filter set

Now, of course, this is more than one item! However, they’re so small, that for this article, I’ll treat them as one piece of camera equipment.

It could be said that in the days of post-processing the need for a bag of filters is not there anymore. You want to get your image as correct in-camera as you can, though, so having a handy set of filters to facilitate this is always good.

These are some of the filters you should consider.

  • Circular polarizing filter – A must for any outdoor photographer. Use a circular polarizing filter to increase the vibrancy of your scene, and to intensify or reduce reflections.
  • Graduated neutral density filter – Great for landscape photography, where you want to balance light in the foreground against light in the sky.
  • Neutral density filter – The weaker ND filters are often used with strobes to allow the use of higher apertures, while still keeping within the flash’s sync speed for shutter speed. The stronger ND filters allow you to practice long exposure photography during the day. This one by K&F Concepts is an adjustable 2-32 ND filer in one.
  • Infra-red filter – A fun niche area of landscape photography is infra-red. Using a filter allows you to take this type of photo without adapting your camera.
  • Colored filters – These can be used to add color to your sunsets, produce sepia photos, or to enhance your black and white photos.
  • UV filtersUV filters are essentially clear glass that absorbs the ultraviolet (UV) rays. While they can reduce the effect of haze, they’re mainly lens protection.

There are some filter sets available such as those by NISI.

Drone

Image: The bird’s eye view provided by a drone is a great angle.

The bird’s eye view provided by a drone is a great angle.

A drone is the ultimate new toy for any photographer!

The sky literally is the limit! The bird’s eye perspective you’ll be able to achieve will be unique.

Take care to learn how to fly these before attempting the more ambitious photos. This costs a lot of money if you lose it through the battery running out or losing its signal.

You’ll also find an increasing number of countries tightening up the certificates you need to fly them. In addition to this, you need to know where the no-fly zones are. These are typically around airports, but other sensitive locations can also restrict drone flights.

Which is the best drone out there? It’s really hard to look past the DJI Mavic drones; they’re very portable, which is a huge plus. Read some reviews on DJI’s drones here.

Reflector disc

Another small and inexpensive item that can add to your photography is a reflector disc.

You can use this to reflect sunlight onto your subject, or in conjunction with a strobe set up. These reflectors fold up into a small space in your bag, but then open up into a larger disc for maximum reflective effect.

They come in different sizes, and you can get rectangular or circular shaped discs. In addition to that, you can get silver, gold or white as a reflective surface that will make your subject warmer or cooler from the reflected light.

great-pieces-of-camera-equipment-lastolite-halo-reflector

Rogue flashbender

There are quite a number of lighting modifiers you can use with a flash, the Rogue Flashbender Kit makes the list here for its versatility compared with other products.

The concept is fairly simple.

You attach the flashbender to your flash, and then use the white surface to bounce light onto your subject. The flashbender panel itself can be manipulated into various shapes, giving you the following options.

  • Bounce the light – The primary use of the flashbender is to aim the flash upwards, so you can bounce light off its white surface. This softens the light, giving you nicer light on your subject.
  • A softbox – Through buying an additional translucent panel that can be attached to the flashbender, you can soften the light even more.
  • A snoot – Shape the flashbender into a cylinder and wrap it around your flash to convert it into a snoot, now that’s versatility.

The full kit can give you even more options, such as using color gels to alter the color-tone of light.

great-pieces-of-camera-equipment-rogue-flashbender-kit

Smartphone apps

While not physical pieces of gear, they’re just as important for the modern photographer. The information they can give you on-the-go is vital. There are many apps out there. Some are specifically about photography, while others are very helpful to photographers like weather apps.

  • Photographer’s ephemeris – Knowing where the sun is in relation to your main subject is very important. Get this planned ahead with the Photographer’s Ephemeris.
  • Snapseed – A nice app for editing your photos on the go.
  • Photoshop express – Everyone knows Photoshop, and with this app, you can edit your photos on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Windy – This is the best app out there for knowing weather conditions on the ground, and ahead of time.
  • Photopills – Like the ephemeris, Photopills gives you all the information you need to know on the celestial bodies in the sky. This also comes with information about the Milkyway, making it essential for astrophotography.
  • Camera+ 2 – The leading app for using your phone as a camera.

Lightbox

great-pieces-of-camera-equipment-lightbox

A lightbox is essential for any still life photography.

You’ll need some form of lighting to get the best results, with off-camera flash working best.

This piece of camera equipment will allow you to get the best product photos. You can also do some food photography with it. The aim of this is to get even light throughout your photo, with no strong shadows. It does this by bouncing light around the white surfaces that surround the box.

Image: Product photography with a lightbox is better.

Product photography with a lightbox is better.

Business cards

Having a set of business cards that you can use to build up your contacts is just as important as any other gear you might have as a photographer.

There is nothing like those face-to-face meetings with people to gain potential business, whether that’s being hired or selling prints. These can be inexpensive, or you can go for the more designer business cards.

  • Moo – These are the best quality cards you can get. You can get your photos printed on the back, and each one can be a different photo. That means when someone takes your card, they’ll also be taking a look at a portfolio of your work!
  • Print shop – A cheaper option is to head to your local print shop. A lot of these will create a design for you, and may even print one of your photos on the back of the card.
great-pieces-of-camera-equipment

Business cards made by Moo are of top quality.

Which camera equipment is for you?

There are many items you can buy for your photography.

Which item is for you?

Perhaps you’ll focus more on buying the right lens for your photography style. However, there are other items you can buy that will give your photography a creative boost.

Have you ever tried any of the items on this list, or are you tempted to buy one? As always at digital photography school, we love to see your comments in the comments section, together with any images you have.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Simon Bond
Simon Bond

is a specialist in creative photography techniques and is well known for his work with a crystal ball. His work has featured magazines including National Geographic Traveler. With over 8 years of experience in lensball photography Simon is the expert in this field, get some great tips by downloading his free e-book!
Do you want to learn about crystal ball photography? He has a course just for you! Get 20% off: DPS20.