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Quick Tip: Look Out for Simple Gadgets


We're starting a new regular feature today - Quick Tips. These will be posted twice a week, and will give you a quick piece of photography advice, demonstrate a simple technique, or just give a quick dose of inspiration! If you have any ideas for Quick Tip posts, I'd love to hear them on Twitter.

There’s no denying that photography is an expensive hobby or profession. We regularly deal with high quality equipment that comes at a price. Today, however, we’re going to quickly showcase a few super-simple, inexpensive gadgets that can make your life much easier as a photographer.

It’s all too easy to overlook the simple tools, that actually have the potential to make as big an impact on your work as a new lens, lighting setup, or camera. They're inexpensive, and useful to keep in your kit bag.

Keep Your Camera Clean

There’s nothing more frustrating than a dust-specked lens when you’re commencing an important shoot. Fortunately, there are a few inexpensive gadgets that can help rectify the situation quickly:

  1. An Anti-Static Blower - This will help to blow any dust or particles off your camera equipment without simply replacing them with extra contamination. The Visible Dust Zeeion Anti-Static Bulb Blower is a good option.
  2. Chamois Leather or Microfibre Cleaning Cloth - Regularly wiping down filters and lenses can be a necessity in certain conditions, and a high quality cloth need only cost a few dollars.

Apply a Filter

Filters don’t necessarily need to be expensive (although quality comes at a price), but can make a big difference in certain scenarios. Consider looking into a few of the following:

  1. A Skylight Filter - These are really inexpensive, and also serve as a way of protecting your camera's expensive lens. They also remove the unpleasant blue tint caused by reflected sky light and ultraviolet rays in sunny conditions.
  2. A Polarizing Filter - This will help to reduce the glare of bright sunlight, along with adding contrast to clouds and developing better tone to your images.
  3. An ND Filter - Either a standard Neutral Density filter or a graduated one can allow you greater flexibility of exposure and blur.

Keep It Level

A range of spirit levels are available for your camera - some digital, but others just containing a simple air bubble. You can pick these up for a few dollars, and it could save you the headache of straightening images in post-processing. This one from Opteka looks like a great, inexpensive option, or you could pay a few dollars more for one with a third axis.

Improvise a Tripod

Although a tripod is a vital piece of kit for any photographer, there are ways to get by without one. A bean bag can make for an excellent, adjustable base on which to place your camera, and is worth carrying with you for those times when a tripod isn’t feasible. Here are two options, depending upon your budget:

  1. The Pod - A stylish option for around $30.
  2. Adorama Bean Bag - The basic essential for under $10.

Share Your Simple Gadgets!

I hope that a few of those sound useful, and would really welcome any other simple, inexpensive gadgets you’d like to share in the comments. Which budget pieces of kit couldn’t you live without?

Photo taken by notanartist on Flickr.

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