A list of basic equipment to improve your photography technique or to make your life easier.
It is not about having everything, but about knowing what accessories exist, what use they are and if they will allow you to improve your photography or try different techniques.
- Memory cards / SD cards – micro SD
- Extra batteries and chargers
- Camera Backpacks / Bags / Cases
- Camera straps
- Accessories and cleaning supplies
Memory cards (SD / micro SD)
It is convenient to carry at least a couple of additional memory cards, especially if we go on a trip or to places where it will not be possible to buy an SD card in case of need.
Basic criteria for choosing an SD card:
- Preferably Class 10 (U1 / V10) or higher for photography
- Preferably Class U3 (V30) or higher for video
- Multiple medium-capacity SD cards (eg multiple 32GB cards) are preferable to a single large-capacity card, to minimize the risk of material loss in the event of a card failure.
Extra batteries and chargers
It is convenient to carry at least a couple of extra batteries for the camera. It will depend on the type of camera, the use that we are going to give it (for example, the video consumes much more battery), but as a general rule it is not a good idea to go out to photograph without at least one spare battery.
In addition, having several batteries will allow us to go out and photograph while we leave one of them charging (for example on trips, vacations, etc. we can leave some of the batteries charging at the hotel)
On the market there are ‘clone’ batteries, from third brands, which usually give good results and are cheaper than the original batteries of our camera brand. Some recommended models for the most used cameras (click on the links to find your camera and see which battery model it uses):
- Batteries for Canon SLR Cameras
- Batteries for Nikon SLR cameras
Most camera models include the charger in the starter kit. Some models (eg some Sony) do not include a charger but allow charging the battery inside the camera by connecting it using a USB cable (this solution is not perfect either because it means that the camera is unusable for taking pictures while the battery is charging)
A very good option is to buy external USB chargers . They are usually relatively cheap, take up little space and do not add weight to the equipment, and offer a lot of flexibility since they can be connected to any USB device that provides charge: a laptop, a USB car charger, a powerbank (external battery). It is a very good solution, especially for trips and outings to nature.
Keep in mind that these chargers are usually slower to charge (it also depends on the device that is providing the charge) but they are usually cheap and very comfortable to take anywhere.
To find the right USB charger for your camera’s batteries you can search by the camera name ( eg USB charger Nikon D5600 battery ) or better yet, search for the specific battery model ( eg USB charger EN-EL14 )
Backpacks and bags
There are many models of backpacks, bags and covers for photographic equipment, each one designed for a certain type of use or situation.
I think there are basically two great variants:
- Backpacks and bags designed to transport equipment . In which the volume of equipment that they can host prevails
- The backpacks / bags designed to work (in a photo shoot) . In which ease of access to equipment, comfort, etc. prevail.
In general, it is very difficult to find a single backpack (bag, shoulder strap, cover, etc.) that fulfills both functions perfectly.
In the same way that no two situations are the same. It is not the same to leave home for a while to take some photos taking a walk, to go up to the mountain to take photos while hiking, to cover a wedding or a social event, etc.
Personal preferences also play a role. There are people who are more comfortable with a backpack, others who prefer a shoulder bag to have easier access to the equipment, others prefer to go with a simple cover with minimal equipment …
In the end, I think the solution is to have several backpacks, and choose the one that best suits each situation.
The tripod is a practically essential accessory for both photography and video .
For photography it is necessary to shoot with slow shutter speeds and in general to obtain images with the greatest possible sharpness (since any minimal movement of the camera during shooting results in a shaky, shaky image)
For video it is more decisive if possible, since the stability of the shot during recording is one of the most important criteria in video . A video with vibrations or sudden camera movements produces an unpleasant sensation in the viewer.
Above all, a tripod seeks to be very stable, to prevent the camera from moving (for example due to the effect of the wind if we are outside) and to absorb well the small vibrations of the environment and of the camera itself.
On the other hand, it is important that the tripod is very usable and that it facilitates our work, for example when framing. In addition we would like it to be very light and that it could be transported easily.
Some of those characteristics of the ideal tripod are incompatible with each other, therefore we will have to find a balance, basically between: stability , usability , portability and price .
In the case of tripods, at least in the range from the lower end to the upper mid-range, there is a fairly direct relationship between quality and price. The quality of materials and construction greatly affect the stability and durability of the tripod.
Although it may seem like a minor element, the type and quality of the strap can make the experience of using the camera pleasant or a real nightmare, especially when it comes to relatively heavy equipment (camera + lens) and in long sessions. .
The main problem with the ‘standard’ straps that come with the cameras is that they are usually too narrow, which causes pressure in the neck area that accumulates and can become very annoying, due to chafing in some cases or neck and back muscle aches.
Using wider straps, the weight is distributed over a larger surface and the neck area appreciates it. If they also have some type of soft padding, we will avoid chafing.
There are other types of straps that are placed as a shoulder strap and allow even more stress on the neck and back.
There are also harnesses and other variants such as quick anchor belts.
- Black Rapid . It has very interesting high-end options, both in straps and in harnesses, with its quick anchor system. They are expensive products but of proven quality. Black Rapid Straps
- Peak Design has its own quick anchoring system for the straps by means of clips that can be purchased separately in case we use for example different cameras with the same strap. They are high quality straps, very resistant and easy to use. Peak Design straps and accessories
- Photo & Tech . It also has many options for holding the camera: neck, shoulder, wrist straps….They are usually products with good value for money. Foto & Tech straps and fastening systems
The basic cleaning accessories would be:
- An air bulb or blower , to remove the remains of dust and particles adhering to the objective lenses, the sensor and the camera itself.
- A soft bristle brush , preferably one specially designed for cleaning photographic equipment (hair-free, etc.)
- A specific cleaning liquid for lenses
- Microfiber cloths
For cleaning the sensor (in case we cannot remove the dirt or particles by blowing with the air bulb) there are specific kits, perhaps the most recommended and easy to use are those that allow dry cleaning, using a viscous material to the dust and dirt on the sensor stick. The best known are from the Eyelead brand.
The process itself is very simple but keep in mind that we are handling one of the most delicate (and expensive) elements of the camera. If you are not very clear about it, it is better to take the camera to the technical service for a complete cleaning. If you are going to use a liquid sensor cleaner (normally based on some type of alcohol), check first that said liquid is compatible with the sensor of your camera, since some sensors are covered by an organic film that can be destroyed.