It’s World Photography Day this week. It’s an event which dates back to August 19th, 1839, and it’s a celebration of photography in all its forms. With the day soon approaching, maybe you want to treat yourself to a new gadget?
Or maybe you want to buy a little something for that special photographer in your life. Well, we’ve been going through the gear that we use and here are some of our favourite items that will definitely help to make any photographer’s life easier.
Table of contents
Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo
Everybody likes to have their camera reproduce accurate colours. Some cameras over the years have been notorious for making human skin too magenta or turning grass too yellow. The solution to this is camera profiling. This helps your software (Photoshop and Lightroom) understand how to translate what the camera saw into what it should have seen.
The Spyder Checkr Photo does this excellently. It’s small and compact, so it fits in your pocket to take it anywhere. It also comes with a small lanyard so you won’t lose it when out on location. And when you get it home, you can easily create profiles to have your images accurately represent the colours of reality.
- 62 colour swatches in total
- Expanded greyscale range
- Large grey targets
- Matte finish with long-lasting ink
- Dimensions: 122.17 x 97.54mm
- Weight: 100g
- Range of skin tone swatches
- Easy card replacements
- Integrates with Photoshop and Lightroom
- No real video support
- No RGBCMY swatches for vectorscope
- Open button can be a bit fiddly
Crucial 2TB X9 Pro SSD
The most important thing to a photographer these days is data integrity. We want to know that those images we’ve captured aren’t going to get lost in a crash, never to be seen again. So, we want to back up our work.
On location, there’s no better way than to copy your memory cards to SSDs. And if you’re using an Android device, you can do it without a laptop! The Crucial X9 will let you back up your images in the field, and when you get home you can plug it straight into your computer for editing.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2
- Max read speed: 1,050MB/sec
- Max write speed: 1,050MB/sec
- IP55 dust and water resistance
- Dimensions: 65 x 50 x 10mm
- Weight: 38g
- Very fast
- Extremely small and durable
- Works with smartphones
- More expensive than a 2TB HDD
- Difficult to recover in the event of failure
- SSDs don’t last as long as HDDs
Vello ShutterBoss II
One thing that’s always handy for a photographer to have in their bag is a remote trigger. These allow the photographer to fire the camera without touching it, minimising vibration. The Vello ShutterBoss II also allows them to shoot the camera unattended.
As well as being a remote trigger, the Vello ShutterBoss II is also an intervalometer. This allows you to trigger your camera externally at set intervals in order to produce a timelapse video sequence at the end of it. It’s also available for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm and Panasonic.
- Wired remote trigger & intervalometer
- Locking trigger
- 4-line Backlit LED Display
- Powered by 2 AAA batteries
- Dimensions: 155.0 x 40.0 x 18.0mm
- Weight: Unspecified
- Eliminates camera shake
- Easy timelapse shooting
- Long exposures up to 99:59:59
- Wired only, not wireless
- Requires AAA batteries
- 85cm cable is quite short
Haida M10-II Filter System
When it comes to photography, particularly in genres such as landscape photography, filters are often to be found. There is a wide variety of filters out there, but for photography, I’ve always found the 100x100mm square filters to be the most versatile system.
The Haida M10-II filter system is an excellent example of such a filter system. It offers the features that photographers need while taking care of all of the usual annoyances of some other systems on the market. It’s been my favourite since I first used it.
- Holds up to three 100x100mm square filters
- 360° of rotation with locking button
- Rugged aluminium frame
- Built-in light gaskets
- Available in 52/55/58/62/67/72/77/82mm
- Supplied with Circular Polarizer
- Comes with a circular polariser
- Available for a wide range of lens diameters
- Supplied in zip-up rigid case
- Can feel fiddly in the cold
- Metal on metal feels a little harsh
- No variable ND available
Lenspen SensorKlear Loupe Kit
There are many ways to clean one’s sensor from simple air blowing or full contact. But whichever method you use, a loupe can be very handy for inspecting one’s sensor to see if you’ve truly managed to clean it. After all, we all want a clean sensor and clean images!
The Lenspen SensorKlear Loupe Kit is not just a loupe, but it also comes with an air blower, as well as a Lenspen SensorKlear II lens pen for those stubborn bits of dust that air won’t budge. This has been a regularly used tool for me since getting one. The company says that even NASA use it on the International Space Station!
- Built-in LEDs illuminate the sensor
- Includes Hurricane Blower air blower
- Includes Lenspen SensorKlear II lens pen
- Powered by 2 AAA batteries
- Supplied with pouch
- Covers up to full-frame sensor
- Lets you REALLY see your sensor
- Bright viewing LED
- The Lenspen really helps
- Requires batteries, not USB chargeable
- Not that useful in the field
- Not a quick process
Peak Design AL-4 Anchors
Camera straps are important. They help prevent us from dropping our cameras on the ground. They allow us to hitch them over our shoulders so that we can walk with both our hands unhindered. Most cameras come with one included.
The problem is, when you start getting multiple cameras, you need multiple straps. And when you’re regularly going between handheld and a tripod, the strap might get in the way. That’s where Peak Design’s Anchor Links come in. These let you use one strap with as many cameras as you like!
- Connects to most camera straps
- Compatible with most cameras
- Low-profile anchor design
- Easy one-hand release system
- Made from Dyneema, Plastic and Steel
- Weight: 31.19g
- Use one strap with multiple cameras
- Easy removal for using on tripod or slider
- Lightweight and unobtrusive
- Difficult to use in the cold
- Difficult to detach with gloves on
- Easy to lose if not attached
Lowepro ProTactic Phone Pouch
Most of us carry our smartphones around in our pockets. But those of us who are keen smartphone photographers might own multiple smartphones. One as our regular driver and one that we only use for creative purposes. Or, maybe you’re just sick of filling your pocket with a phone.
The Lowepro ProTactic Phone Pouch is a great solution to free up those pockets! It attaches to either your belt or a loop on your camera bag (or its strap) to let you store your smartphone safely and securely in a zipped up pouch, but always ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- Fits mobile devices up to 6″ screen
- Secure zipper closure
- Mounts to Lowepro ProTactic backpacks
- Features SlipLock compatible tab
- Internal dimensions: 9 x 1.5 x 17 cm
- Weight: 84g
- Double-velcro straps
- Attaches to vertical and horizontal loops
- Easy to open and close one-handed
- No room for power bank
- Not very well padded
KYU-6 LED Light Bracelet
The KYU-6 LED light bracelet is a very handy little portable light. It’s small, so it’s easily packed into your bags, it can wrap around objects, letting you avoid hazards in the dark, or it can straighten itself out to become a small light source on your scene.
There are a multitude of things you can do with an LED light as versatile as KYU-6. They’re available individually in multiple flavours. There are both bicolour and RGB versions. They’re also available to buy in multipack kits.
- Available in RGB or Bicolour
- Bicolour range: 2700-6500K
- Up to 8 hours of battery life
- Charges from USB
- 120° beam spread
- Includes a number of effects (both versions)
- Built-in rechargeable battery Extremely compact for carrying multiples A lot more useful than you’d think
- USB port is microUSB and not Type C Not very powerful for larger sets No remote control
SmallRig Screw and Allen Key Storage Plate Kit
There are some things in this life that every photographer and filmmaker must have. These things don’t make them better photographers or filmmakers, though. Instead, they make the lives of photographers and filmmakers easier.
The SmallRig Screw and Allen Key Storage Plate Kit (what a mouthful!) is one such item. It’s essentially a metal tray containing every single one of the screws and the tools needed to tighten or loosen them, that you might encounter as a photographer or filmmaker. Tripods, gimbals, sliders, cages, whatever it is, this plate has it covered. They’ll never have to worry about losing a screw again!
- Includes 1/4-20″ and 3/8-16″ screws
- M2.5, M3, M4, M5 screws
- Four Allen keys
- Comes with 20 screws
- Lots of storage provided
- Full metal construction
- Cheese-style storage plate
- Covers all common threads
- Includes valuable tools
- The metal plate’s a bit heavy
- It could use the space more efficiently
SmallRig Memory Card Cases
If there’s one thing you can be sure of with photographers and filmmakers, it’s that they lose memory cards. It’s just a fact of life. We think we know where they all are and then one day we’re out with our camera and we forgot to put a card in the camera.
Memory card cases keep them safe and let us store backup cards securely in our pockets and camera bags. The SmallRig Memory Card Case is a particularly compact case and comes in a variety of card configuration options. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting a card again!
- Small and compact
- Pull-out design for easy access
- Labelled with card type on each slot
- Durable aluminium exterior
- ABS & polycarbonate interior
- Separate slots for each card
- Durable build quality
- Great value for money
- Sim card version available
- No single unit for all card types
- Might not be enough storage
- A hair too big for some wallets
The 5-in-1 reflector is a staple of the photography community. Almost every photographer, except perhaps street or landscape photographers, ultimately ends up getting one. A particular favourite of portrait photographers, they help you to light your subject with ease.
They typically offer white, gold and silver reflective sides, as well as a black, negative fill reflector for taking light away. Inside this multi-colour pouch is a diffuser, through which you can pass hard light to turn it into soft light.
- 5-in-1: Gold/Silver/White/Black/Diffuse
- Handles will often make life easier
- You can also get a stand for use in the studio
- Cheap. Many photographers have several.
- Use with natural light or flash
- An extremely versatile tool
- They pack up very small
- They let you shoot against the sun
- Available in a wide range of shapes and sizes
- They are usually quite delicate
- They can’t create light that isn’t there
- You need a dedicated holder
If you’ve been thinking that you might want to treat that special photographer in your life recently, then here’s your excuse. Buying gifts for photographers can be tough. If you don’t know what they’re into, what they already have or what they need, what do you get? Well, this list is a starting point.
Hey, maybe use this year’s World Photography Day as an opportunity to treat yourself and take up photography yourself. If you do, perhaps one of your friends will buy you something from this list!
And if you’re already a photographer and buying for yourself, hopefully, this list suggests a couple of things you don’t have yet!
You can find out more about World Photography Day on the WPD website.