It is always the perfect time to consider photography gadgets to add to your photography repertoire.
The photography bug bit me about ten years ago, and I haven’t stopped adding to my photography gadget collection or taking pictures since. I was maintaining a family blog for grandparents and family near and far; they loved seeing photos of our girls and our family through the years.
I’m the kind of mother/photographer who when my four-year old daughter got her hair caught in the mesh of the trampoline enclosure said to her, “I don’t suppose you’d hold on a minute while I go get the camera?”
Her immediate response: “No!”
Being the kind of mom that I am, and knowing that Kristen wasn’t in immediate danger, I ran for my camera anyway. Somehow Kristen had extricated her hair by the time I got back.
She wasn’t very happy with me.
As I have continued to strengthen my photography skills through the years, taken classes, added to my photography gadgets, and espoused the philosophy of “practice, practice, practice,” my skills have definitely improved. I still consider myself to be an amateur or hobby photographer but have learned a thing or two in the process.
And…I have developed a list of must-have photography gadgets for photography at home, on the road, and for travel.
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My Canon T3i was perfect for learning photography and with that camera I took some of My Favorite Photos over the years.
I love my Canon cameras, and in my beginning stages of learning, my children quickly tired of my requests for them to pose. They mastered the art of smiling for the camera and then returning to a solemn-faced pose as soon as the camera clicked.
For Christmas 2020, I was thrilled to upgrade another step to a Canon 6D Mark II. Again, there was a learning curve and I had new buttons and features to learn. Always seems as though there is so much to learn!
If you spend anytime on social media, you’ll soon encounter people who are passionate about their brand of camera. There has long been a debate about which camera brand is the best—Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc.
The answer? Whatever camera you have with you!!!
And nowadays, with the advances in smart phone camera technology, the best camera might just be in your back pocket!
Here is a list of the essential photography gadgets that I use and that your Valentine would be sure to love. You’ll find some of these accessories in 14 Genius Gadgets for Travel as you consider which gadgets are most appropriate to pack for travel as well.
My go to lens with my Canon T3i was the Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 with image stabilization. It came with me on all of my domestic and international adventures.
The drawback to upgrading from the T-series is that my Canon EF-S lenses are no longer compatible with Canon 6D Mark II.
That’s an important consideration as the photography hobby comes with some expensive photography gadgets and equipment!
The good news, my relatively inexpensive Canon “nifty fifty” lens—an EF lens—worked with both cameras. So, at least I had one lens I could practice with until investing in new lenses for my 6D Mark II. (Be sure to pick the nifty fifty lens suited to your brand of camera).
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens was delivered to my house a couple of weeks ago. I am looking forward to trying it out in Yosemite.
2. Camera Strap
I find that the camera strap gets hot and sweaty on my neck when I wear my camera all day long as I travel and site see. To ease the discomfort, I recommend investing in a softer, more colorful version. There are a few different styles you might be interested in:
Floral Camera Strap – a little more feminine
My advice when it comes to carrying your camera? Get in the habit of ALWAYS putting the strap around your neck. When you hand the camera to someone else to take a picture, ask them to put the strap around their neck as opposed to just holding the camera free hand.
Your camera is a big investment and while you may try to be careful, accidents happen.
3. Remote Control
The Canon Wireless Remote Control is one of my handy photography gadgets. It allows you to take “selfies” with your DSLr!
Or, if your hands are full holding reflectors or if you are using a tripod, you can easily set up your camera on the remote setting and enable the remote control.
There is a specific camera setting.
I remember last Christmas trying to take pictures with my camera while it was on a tripod and thinking my remote was broken. I hadn’t remembered to change the setting on my camera! Duh.
4. Camera Bag or Travel Backpack
I have a The North Face Women’s Recon Backpack that I use when I travel with my camera. I opted for this type of bag for my camera and photography gadgets because it also has plenty of room for my iPad, iPhone, travel essentials, and carry on items.
Plus it was designed for a woman’s body. It had a sternum strap, it came with a waist strap, and had extra padding against my back. All important considerations if you know you will be wearing your backpack all day long as you travel and site see.
There is also a The North Face Recon Backpack that my husband loves for all the same reasons as well and which is a better fit for his frame.
Want to know what I pack in my carry on? Check out My Carry On Packing List.
Around town, a chic camera bag can be disguised to look sleek and stylish without screaming to the world “Expensive camera equipment here!!!” (The same with a nondescript backpack.)
BagSmart Camera Backpack – anti-theft design with water resistant canvas
Brevite Jumper Photo Compact Camera Backpack – a travel friendly backpack with room for your camera, laptop, and more.
5. Camera Insert
In order to use my backpack as a carryon, I found a Camera Insert that slips into the largest section of my backpack and allows me to carry my camera with one or two lenses, camera cleaning equipment, the charger with a back up battery, and a backpack rain cover.
The space dividers with the insert are changeable with velcro tabs and allow me to easily change the space as needed.
I tend to travel light even with my camera equipment, especially since I have learned from experience that too many lenses and photography gadgets add to the weight and strain on my back.
6. Memory Card
For many years, I have shot in JPEG format with my camera. I am learning more all of the time and will start shooting RAW this year. To accommodate the size of RAW files, be sure to have sufficient memory in your SD Cards. I usually shoot for one to two weeks straight on vacation, and having a card (or two) with enough space is an important consideration.
Having a back up card isn’t a bad idea either.
7. Back up Battery and Charger
Not only should you have a back up SD card as part of your photography gadgets, but you should also have a back up Camera Battery along with your Battery Charger. I have never taken so many photos in a day that I have needed to change batteries, but I have definitely come close.
The battery and battery charger are specific to each camera style. Make sure you find the battery and charger that match your camera.
After a day of sightseeing, I make sure that both of my batteries are charged and ready to go for the next day.
Wouldn’t you be sad to miss out on amazing photos because your camera battery died?
8. Lens Cap Lanyard
Lenses come with a lens cap, but when you remove the cap to take pictures, you either have to hold the cap in your hand, stuff it in a pocket, or ask your travel companion to hold it for you.
To alleviate this problem, I recommend investing in a Lens Cap Lanyard to add to your photography gadgets that attaches to the lens cap on one end and the other end has an elastic loop that slips over the circumference of the lens. You never have to worry about losing the cap and can keep your hands free for the more important task of taking pictures.
Believe me, your Valentine will appreciate this handy accessory.
9. Cleaning Kit
A cleaning kit need not be huge or bulky. But you’ll definitely want this as one of your photography gadgets to remove dust and fingerprints from you lenses. I use a Lens Pen and carry microfiber cloths that I also use to clean my glasses.
10. Lens Filters
There is a debate in the photography community as to the need or value of Lens Filters. For certain types of photography, filters are essential in achieving a specific look and feel to your photos.
I have always used a UV Protected Lens Filter on my lenses, mostly to protect the expensive lens. I have not noticed that this filter detracts from the look of my photos. Shoot, some people don’t even use the lens cap. To each his own and you will have to decide what is important for you.
Be sure to purchase the correct size of filter for your lens.
11. Lens Hood
While you often hear about the “golden hours” in photography, it isn’t always practical to only shoot at the first light of the morning or in the waning hours of the evening for the best light. If you are like me, you are shooting and sightseeing all day long when you travel and need to account for the sun as best you can.
This is where the Lens Hood comes in as an important tool in your photography gadgets collection.
The lens hood blocks the direct sunlight from hitting the lens and allows for taking photos in the bright light of the day.
Again, be sure to purchase the correct size for your lens.
12. Waterproof Backpack Cover
When Chris and I were exploring Florence for the first time together, the weather was not cooperative. We experienced rain all day long. That didn’t stop us from exploring!
At the first shop we stopped at, the owner created a backpack rain cover out of plastic bags to cover our backpack and keep it and the contents—my camera and photography gadgets—from getting soaked. While Chris may have looked as though he was walking around with a huge green turtle on his back, the plastic bags saved the day.
Not long after we arrived home, we searched on Amazon and found Waterproof Backpack Covers for future rainy days.
While not one of your essential photography gadgets, you may find that a tripod for your camera or your iPhone would come in handy for family photos, still shots, and travel photography.
You may wish to invest in a Mini Tripod that would be easily transportable.
Or a more substantial Tripod for a variety of shooting situations.
The GorillaPod might be a great in between tripod if your camera and lens fit the 6.6 pound weight specification.
14. External Flash
An External Flash will come in handy for your indoor and outdoor photography when you find yourself in low-light situations.
15. Lens Ball
The Lens Ball is definitely a novelty item and is fun to use in your photography. You’ll surely dazzle your friends with one of these photography gadgets.
Final Thoughts on Popular Photography Gadgets
If you love to take pictures or know someone who is a photographer at heart, consider investing in some of these gadgets to record the memories of life.