10 more non-essential but useful accessories for your camera bag
Continuing on from the previous article 10 non-essential but useful accessories for your camera bag, here's another ten items that aren't essential, but can be very useful to have in your bag, depending on what you're shooting.
A tablet can be used for sorting and limited processing of photos on the go, or as an alternative to a laptop while on holiday. It can also be used for showing clients or models the photos you're shooting, without them having to squint at the tiny screen on the back of your camera.
Many modern cameras can be controlled by a tablet via WiFi, useful if you need to capture something where you can't be standing next to the camera to operate it. A tablet can also be useful for showing off your portfolio of images.
It's a good idea to pack a rain jacket both for yourself and for your camera. You need one for yourself, because if you're wet and cold, then it will negatively impact your photography. Your mind will be on getting somewhere warm and dry rather than your photography.
A pack-up rain jacket doesn't take up a lot of room and is handy in the event of a shower
And a rain jacket for your camera lets you continue shooting even in wet weather. It doesn't need to be an expensive rain jacket either. A plastic bag with a hole punched through for the end of the lens to stick though and an elastic band to hold it in place will work well enough.
A gorillapod is a mini tripod with flexible legs. This allows you to wrap the legs around items like poles or thin tree branches, to secure your camera in an unusual position.
Joby Gorillapod SLR by Rob Nunn on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
It can, of course, also be used with the legs positioned normally, providing a steady platform for your camera at or near ground level.
It's not only your camera that a gorillapod is useful for holding though. You might instead use it to hold a flash in position while you hold the camera.
Remote shutter release
A remote shutter release enables you to take photos without having to actually touch the camera. This is useful when using the camera secured on a tripod - pressing the shutter button on the camera imparts a small amount of vibration to the camera, using a release instead avoids this.
Still Time by Tony Hall on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-ND)
A remote release is also required for most cameras to take photos with an exposure time longer than thirty seconds. A release allows you to lock the shutter button down for as long as you want the exposure to be, then release it when you want the exposure to end.
Some more advanced shutter releases also feature intervalometers, allowing you to take photos at regular intervals to create a timelapse.
5-in-1 fold up reflector kit
A fold up reflector kit can be very useful for portrait photography and flower photography. The kit consists of a diffusion panel - useful for diffusing harsh light from the sun or a flash.
Then wrapped around this is a cover - on the outside one side is silver and the other black. On the inside one side is gold and other white. The cover can easily be reversed, then put back over the diffuser, which acts as a frame. This provides a good number of options for controlling light, all in a small package.
Felix im MMZ by Hallenser on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
A beanbag acts as a camera support. You can put it on the ground, on a rock, or over a car window, then rest your camera on top of it (though you still need to keep a hold on the camera if balancing it on top of a car window). It helps keep your camera steady as well as stopping it getting scratched when resting on a rough surface.
Shooting Low by darkday on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
Because the beans can be moved around, this gives you some freedom of positioning the camera to point slightly up or down. However, positioning can be a bit tricky.
Business cards can be a very useful and quick way to let people have your contact details. If you take a photo of someone you meet while out, you can hand them your card, then they can easily get in contact with you to get a copy of the photo later.
There is also the potential that someone will get back to you to purchase a print or hire you when they need a photographer. Having your cards printed with a range of your different photos allows you to use them as a mini-portfolio as well.
Moo business cards by Lisa Brewster on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-SA)
Penknife or multitool
A penknife or multitool can be very useful when you need to do some DIY work on the job. For example, you might use it to cut up a side from a used food container, then tape it to your flash to use as a gobo.
Multi-Function Pen Knife CF14 by A Yee on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
If travelling by air, remember that you can't bring a knife, no matter how small, in your carry-on luggage though. You'll need to make sure you put it in your checked luggage, then retrieve it when you arrive at your destination.
Filters and stepping rings
Depending on what you're photographing, you may want to bring one or more filters with you, such as a polarizer, split neutral density filter, neutral density filter, or soft focus filter, to name a few.
FILTERS by Oğuzhan Abdik on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
If you have lenses with different size filter threads (or filters in different sizes) then you'll probably also want to bring step-up or step down rings to allow mounting the filters on each of your lenses.
Something I sometimes do is mount stepping rings on my lenses and filters to make them all the same size thread when packing my bag. That way I don't have to fiddle around with screwing and unscrewing stepping rings in the field. However, this does mean purchasing some extra lens caps in the size that you're standardizing your lenses to.
Another item that is not specifically photography related, but very useful to have with you is pain killers. If you get a bad headache it will seriously affect your photography, so having painkillers available can be very handy. Bear in mind that they take a while to act, so are typically best taken at the first signs of a headache, rather than when it becomes painful.
#Headache situation #ibuprofen by Khairil Zhafri on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)
Painkillers can also be handy if you're suffering from a bad back or flu and need to get through the shoot. If you're suffering from a bad back from carrying a bag packed full of accessories though, maybe it's time to consider what accessories are really bringing you a worthwhile benefit for the weight they add.
I can pack all of the accessories in the title image into my camera bag with quite a bit of room to spare. While that would give me a good 'ready for anything' kit, I would never carry that amount of gear normally.
Photography should be enjoyable. If you're not enjoying yourself due to the weight of gear you're carrying, this will affect your photography in a negative way. So think very carefully before you overpack your bag with accessories.