My Favorite Gear

This is my curated list of items I find useful to have in my camera bag, beyond camera and lenses.

If you find this list helpful, you may also like my other curated list of gear for setting up a DIY home studio, with a special emphasis on flower photography.

Note: The following are items I use myself and recommend. When you purchase these items using the Amazon links provided, I will receive a small commission which I use to help maintain content on this website.

Hoodman Screen Loupe

As a photographer who spends a lot of time photographing outdoors, I find the Hoodman Screen Loupe and invaluable tool. I place the loupe directly against the back screen of the camera and rotate the loupe's eye piece to focus for my eyesight, so the image and text are clear. This enables me to clearly see the details on the screen when it would be otherwise difficult in the bright sunshine. In addition, it allows me to verify important settings and assess an image histogram without the need for my reader eyeglasses since the optics of the loupe magnifies the image. It is especially easy to use when photographing with the camera on the tripod.  It's one of my constant photography companions, a trusted tool.

MeFOTO Globetrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

I use a tripod for the majority of my photographs, not only does it keep my camera steady for sharp shots, but it helps me with composition so I can place the edges of the frame exactly where I want them. The challenge comes in bring the tripod with you when traveling and sometimes you just can't fit a big and heavy tripod in your suitcase!  That's when I reach for my MeFOTO travel tripod. I use a carbon fiber model since it's about half the weight of aluminum models. What I like about the Globetrotter model is that the legs segments are sturdier and more substantial that a lot of other travel tripods. Also, this model expands to a reasonable standing height without having to expand the center column (the weakest link in a tripod). It comes with a simple ball head and arca-swiss style quick release plate (my preferred design since it holds the camera more securely). Of course, it folds up small to fit into your suitcase. This model is a 6 in 1, not just usable as a typical tripod, but can be converted into a Monopod, Boom Pole, Selfie stick, High Hat, or tabletop tripod.

Collapsible Soft-Sided Folding Cart

They say you can't take it all with you, but with this cart, I beg to differ. As a photographer I have no lack of "stuff" I need to have with me to make my shots. The problem is carrying it all. This is a collapsible cart (so it easily fits in the back of your car) and it's lightweight enough that it's easy to lift, it has chunky wheels that can handle an outdoor trail environment, and a great capacity to carry camera bag, tripod and photography accoutrement and still have space for a lunch bag and exterior pocket for a water bottle, reflector or whatever you like.  It's a great find that makes the process of photographing that much easier.

Photo Backpack that holds it all and fits in the overhead bin

When traveling by air, I need a photo backpack that is big enough to hold all my essential photography equipment including camera, multiple lenses and laptop. MindShift Gear's BackLight 26L fits that bill. Plus, I like that the opening to the gear compartment is secure because you open it from the side that is against your back. Exterior pockets and front design allow for carrying a water bottle or securing a jacket. If you like the design, but the size isn't right for your needs, it's also available in 18L and 36L sizes.

Camera harness for holding camera when hiking

Carrying a heavy camera around using the neck strap can lead to neck pain, so instead I use a Cotton Carrier Harness. This allows me to attach the camera to hold it on my chest leaving my hands free and of course taking strain off my neck. The shape of the harness is woman body shape friendly. What a relief! 

Protecting your lens / camera body 

Sometimes, you need to carry camera equipment in something other than a padded camera bag. When that's the case, I use Domke padded wraps to protect my gear. They are available in different colors for easy identification, and in 3 sizes: 11 in, 15 in and 19 in to accommodate items of different sizes/shapes.  The wraps have velcro to keep the pad securely around your precious gear.

Compact kneeling pad that fits easily in your camera bag

When I'm photographing flowers in particular, I need to kneel to be the right height for the shot. I used to struggle carrying around knee pads, but now I use this foldable foam pad instead - it's more compact, and easy to fit in my camera bag, plus it doubles as a comfortable seating surface when you want to sit on the ground.  A simple, but great find!

Highly portable White Balance card

When photographing in mixed lighting situations or environments likely to cause a color cast in your shot (forest shade, etc.) It isuseful to take a test photograph including a calibrated white balance card in the shot. Later when editing your images in Lightroom Classic, you can use the white balance eye dropper tool to select the white balance card to appropriately set the white balance for the shot, neutralizing any color casts. Next you can copy this white balance setting to the other frames shot in that same lighting situation. I like to carry a WhiBal card -- it's small and therefore easy to bring with you and does the job at a cost-effective price.  It also has white and black color patches that can be used to set the image white point and black point.

A camera bag a woman can love

When you're photographing around town and want to be a little more incognito with your camera gear, I use my Think Tank Lily Deanne camera bag. It's a camera bag that looks more like a purse. It's also a nice option for your personal bag on an airplane.  I have the medium size.

Keeping your memory cards safe and handy

This memory card wallet can store multiple memory cards of different sizes. You can attach it to your bag, a vest, your belt or camera strap for handy access while you are photographing. 

Easy access to your extra camera batteries

Particularly when you're photographing action, you need access to extra batteries fast. I use this pouch to carry two extra batteries on my belt.

Backpack straps for securing extra gear / coat / tripod, etc.

When you are trying to hike handsfree, it is helpful to be able to secure items to the outside of your backpack. These adjustable length straps make that process simple and fast.  Hook them on to loops on your backpack and use the clips to easily open and close the straps.

Small gimbal for tracking action or intentional camera movement

The sidekick is a great option if you're using a telephoto zoom and want to have the fluid motion of a gimbal head without having to remove your tripod ball head.  Not only is it great for tracking action of wildlife and birds in flight, I found it is also useful for doing intentional camera movement shots.

Hold steady! This clamp can be the extra hand you need

If you feel like you need an extra hand to hold a branch out of the way, assist with holding a small reflector, or even holding a flower stem in place, this Plamp (plant clamp, get it?) is just the thing. Secure one end to your tripod leg, the other end holds whatever you want. Note this 2nd generation version is beefed up to provide better support. Note, you might want 2 if you want to hold a bigger item like a reflector.

Small, portable and adjustable lighting - great for macro work

These lume cube lights are the perfect solution to light a macro setup. You can adjust the color temperature and intensity and the kit comes with helpful accessories like a diffuser and color gels. Handhold the lights or attach to a tabletop light stand.

Filter wrench

Thin filters are often recommended for wide angle lenses to avoid the filter vignetting. However, they can be hard to remove. A filter wrench is a handy tool to have in your camera bag for removing stuck filters from a lens, or stuck filters attached to each other. 

Rain sleeve for telephoto lens

These clear plastic sleeves are an inexpensive solution to keep a long telephoto lens dry in rainy conditions. 

Taming your flash for better flash photographs

Adding this diffuser to your flash unit makes a huge difference in making attractive flash photographs. The light comes from two directions giving a look that approximates studio lighting. The unit collapses down so it can easily fit in your camera bag. 

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