5 Things Every Photographer Should Have

Photography is an art form that has progressed light years in the last few decades. Digital photography has exploded and has helped simplify the art form in many ways. However, photography still requires great skill and talent to pull it off successfully. Anybody can take a picture: not everybody can be a photographer.
With that in mind, there are five things that are absolutely essential for any photographer. These items will help improve your photography and create better quality photos. Always carry these items with you to each of your shoots.

Non-Camera Accessories

A photographer will carry nearly a dozen pieces of accessories for their camera with them at nearly all times. However, many often forget non-camera related accessories. These simple accessories can help streamline your photography process or improve it in many ways.

  • Electrical tape. Carrying electrical tape is essential for many photo shoots. It may not seem useful at first, but consider this scenario: you are involved in a major photo shoot and you have to attach one of your flashes to a tree. Electrical tape is a simple and temporary tool for this job.
  • Alligator clips. Anything that can’t be held by electrical tape can be held by alligator tips. These are especially useful for holding wires away from the lens during complicated shoots.
  • A towel. Bring a clean towel to help wipe off your camera lens if it rains, if mud splashes the lens or any dirt somehow gets on the lens in anyway.

Other accessories you should take to every photo shoot include a pad of paper, pencils, a calculator, a cell phone and up-to-date car insurance. Getting pulled over on the way to work and getting a ticket for having no car insurance not only delays your shoot and costs you money but it also makes you look incredibly unprofessional.

Digital Survival Kit

Many people don’t understand that digital cameras need upkeep and repair, just like a film based camera. Digital cameras often run into problems with their sensors. A digital survival kit is designed to let any photographer clean their sensors on the fly. These kits usually run under 20 dollars and can help save a photo shoot from disaster if your sensors aren’t working right.

Extra Flashes

Every photographer should have at least one extra flash. Flashes aren’t perfect and may stop working or begin working improperly during an important photo shoot. Without extra flashes, your photo shoot will unprofessionally grind to a halt.
Flashes are also not made equal. Some flashes are better for certain situations. For example, you need different flashes for:

  • Night time photography.
  • Indoor photography.
  • Sunset photography.

Always have a diverse set of flashes available for your camera at all times. This holds true even for digital cameras. Many people think they can simply fix their images on digital image software. While these pieces of software are incredibly useful, they cannot completely fix poor lighting conditions or poor photography


No photographer worth his salt leaves home without a tripod. They have served as one of the most basic and essential pieces of photographer equipment for decades. Hand photography can be useful in many situations, such as during action shots. However, a tripod has dozens of uses that make them essential to any photographer:

  • Keeping the camera steady on uneven surfaces. This makes them especially useful for nature photography, where the ground may be hilly.
  • Long exposure photography. Long exposure photography requires the camera to be still for long periods of time. Any slight change in the position will ruin the exposure. Tripods hold the camera more steady than any hand.
  • Wedding photography. Great wedding photography requires multiple shots from the same angle over and over again.

Tripods also offer the advantage of increasing your depth of field. An increased depth of field is useful for landscape shots.


No photographer should be without a great filter. Filters help remove certain types of light from the film. Filters work on both film and digital cameras. Filters can be used to:

  • Increase the intensity of skin tone in portraits, leading to greater contrast amongst their surroundings.
  • Darken the color of blue skies for nature photographs. This helps to create a more vivid image that emphasizes the sky more than its surroundings.
  • Eliminates light reflections from glass, water and mirrors. These reflections can cause a glare on your image that can ruin it completely. A good filter can eliminate that glare without any extra work from you.
  • Reduces light during long exposure photography. Long exposure photos can get saturated with too much light if shot during a very sunny day. A filter helps reduce much of this light, keeping your image safe.

Every photographer should repeat the mantra “never leave home without filters” every day.

Cleaning my camera gear - Day 225 of Project 365

Author Bio: Sandra Landry is a freelance writer and photography enthusiast.  She loves to spend time trying to find photography tips to help her get better at her hobby.

2 Responses to 5 Things Every Photographer Should Have

  1. Are filters really relevant in a world of digital cameras? In fact, they could potentially create a problem for an inexperienced photographer. For instance, using a colored filter on a digital camera with the camera set to auto white balance?

  2. As a digital photographer myself, I would agree with you.

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