I enjoy writing equipment reviews when I find some really fantastic piece of equipment but as I packed my camera bag the other day I realized there is alot of equipment that I swear by, but have never reviewed. Most of it, however, is little - the kind of stuff I consider trivial, but it makes shooting all the better/easier/or more enjoyable. This blog post is a review of my favorite things - the equipment that I often overlook but that makes a photo shoot.
UPstrap Camera Strap - a camera strap is really important. I have used a zillion different straps over the years, including the trending sling straps, but I love nothing more than my UPstrap. It doesn't slip off my shoulder, it's sturdy, and I don't find myself being annoyed with the camera strap. When I forget I've got a strap on my camera, then it means it's working properly! Learn more and purchase yours at UPstrap's website.
Really Right Stuff Camera Bracket - Seriously, if you aren't using an arca-swiss style ballhead and a bracket like the one sold by Really Right Stuff, you're missing out. The brackets allow you to rotate between portrait and landscape with the camera quickly and while maintaining the center of gravity and weight over the middle of the tripod. I used to suffer from tipping tripods when I dropped a camera down into portrait mode - no more. You can buy Really Right Stuff brackets from their website.
Hoodman Loupe - This is a new one for me. After getting one of these loupes for Christmas I'm totally hooked. It's essentially a magnification tool to look at the back of your LCD screen and ensure the photos are in focus before you walk away. I use mine all the time for macro photography - it allows me to ensure my focus points are dead on for small focus areas before downloading on my computer. My only complaint is that it's awkward to carry (I don't care for the neck strap, that's in my way), but I always have it close at hand. Learn more at Hoodman USA's website.
Wacom Bamboo Tablet - I started using a tablet for editing about six months ago and my life has been changed forever! I feel like I have so much more control and the movements are much more natural when editing. The Bamboo is least expensive of the Wacom tablets, but I'm a huge fan of it for the price. There is a learning curve to using these tablets, but the pay off is worth it in the end. See the full line of Wacom tablets on their website.
Think Tank Shape Shifter Backpack - This one is kinda cheating since I have reviewed this bag before, but I can't say enough great things about it. I haven't used another camera bag since purchasing this backpack. I now leave my bag packed in my office and always have it ready to grab and go. If you didn't read it before, be sure to check out my comprehensive review and learn more at Think Tank's website.
Hiking Boots - I own two types, a pair that goes above and a pair that go below my ankles. I wear them every time I shoot to prevent foot fatigue and ensure I always have great traction. It's not the sort of thing one thinks about as "camera gear," but footwear can make or break a photo shoot! I got mine at REI.com.
My Journal - I carry a small journal with me as I shoot and keep it handy when I'm working in my studio. The journal is less of a diary and more of a list - ideas for future blogs, ideas for future photo shoots, places I want to go, ideas for my next project. I never want to loose any of these ideas, and a paper journal is a great way to keep them. I routinely also use my journal to write down tricks and tips I might have picked up in a book, magazine, or from another photographer. The journal I use came from Barnes and Noble and cost less than $10.
Photo Technique Magazine- I get lots of photography magazines, but this is the one I get most excited about when I see it in the mailbox. They cover a random but awesome amount of material and don't overwhelm you with ads and cheesy crap. I probably will never put most of what I read in that magazine into practice, but I hands down learn more from that than all my other periodicals combined.Subscribe online today!
Scott Kelby's Photoshop book(s)-When I am struggling with Photoshop, his books are the best guide to get me out of trouble. I probably open his CS6 book at least once a week to find some new feature hiding in Photoshop that I never knew about. You can purchase his books at a variety of online retailers.
My MacBook Pro with Retina Display- I split my editing up between the MacBook and the iMac, but the MacBook does all of the travel, blogging, and it's fair share of image editing. I don't know how I lived before it. I also love the Retina display for the crisp images and amazing detail. I wish my older iMac had the same display! Discover more at Apple.com.
Well folks, there you have it- some of my favorite things!