ACD Systems Blog

13 Must-Haves for Your Next Photo Shoot

2012-12-10 21:41:43 GMT

In order to take amazing photos, there are some things you will need in addition to your camera and memory card. But there are also some items you will need in case things go awry. Going out to shoot while ill-equipped can result in disappointment and wasted opportunities. So, here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your time in the field:


  • Extra Batteries
    It may seem obvious, but, remarkably, a spare battery is often overlooked by the budding photographer. And yet it quickly becomes seen as a life-saver and conceivably impossible to live without. However, it is possible to find a back-up battery for cheap by forgetting about brand names. With the model number of the battery that came with your camera on hand, research online to find out which backup battery is best via consumer reviews. Likely, you can find a suitable alternative for half the cost of a brand name equivalent.

  • Extra Memory Cards
    Consistently, when you run out of room on your memory card, you will see the best shot of the day. Sometimes this sends you frantically scanning through your shots, looking for ones you can part with. And, really, can you even judge them properly on the little LCD screen? This frustration is highly avoidable. Always carrying an extra memory card or two will save you from having to make the tough choices out in the field.

  • External Hard Drive
    Digital SLRs go hand in hand with large file types, particularly if you are shooting in the RAW or in (beautiful) high-resolution. Frankly, you’re going to need the space of an external hard drive. Beautiful photos take up lots of space. Investing in an external hard drive will save you from slowing down your computer and possibly having to face parting with shots when you’re trying to make space down the road. Once that’s set up, make sure you establish a system for organizing and cataloguing your images immediately. Being organized from the start will allow you to work faster and think clearer all the way through your post-processing.


  • UV Filter
    Somewhere between filtering out ultraviolet light and simply protecting the lens from scratches, dust, and dirt, many professional photographers swear by their UV filters. Often it is no more complicated than the simple fact that a scratched UV filter is much cheaper to replace than a scratched lens.

  • Polarizing Filter
    For outdoor photography, packing this filter removes many lighting and weather-related restrictions. This helps to cut glare from the sun and off reflections and assists in increasing color saturation.

  • Cleaning Kit
    You will exponentially increase the lifespan of your gear by keeping it clean. Keep on hand a microfiber lens cloth for wiping smudges, like fingerprints, off your lens before shooting and keeping your LCD screen clear. (Or, for precise lens cleaning, consider a lens pen.) Also, when wiping isn’t the answer, you’ll want to have a dust-blower for blowing off dust and dirt.

  • Camera Case
    A good bag is necessary to both protect your camera and to offer you convenience as you cart around the rest of your gear. The best choice is one that is water-resistant and contains lots of padding and protection. It should be sturdy and have plenty of pockets and compartments for your bits and pieces.

  • Tripod
    Whether a heavy duty professional variety or a make-shift homemade version – the tripod is hard to live without. It’s essential in situations when capturing neat, focused photos, long exposures, portraits (particularly self-), or when shooting in low lighting. The best tripod is going to be light, tall, and durable. In a pinch, a mini tripod will get the job done and will fold up and fit nicely into your camera bag.

In the Field

  • Rain Gear
    Outside of the annoyance of getting nice and drenched, your camera needs protection from water. Always keep a rain sleeve, plastic bags, and rubber bands to keep your gear dry in your bag. In a pinch, even a shower cap can work. These simple precautions will allow you to keep shooting, even when the clouds open up.

  • Protection
    It can be a good idea to invest in a bag lock. You never know where you’ll have to put down your camera bag and who might be lurking about, looking for an opportunity to make off with your expensive bits and pieces.

  • Pen and Notebook
    There is nothing more frustrating than having nowhere to note down the details you know you’ll forget. Whether an idea for a shot, notes about location or subjects, recording your settings or anything else that comes up, you’ll be glad you kept a small notebook and pen nearby.

  • Flashlight
    As the light goes down low, you’ll find a flashlight not only useful for finding that tool you really need, buried in the bottom of your bag, but also for creating neat lighting effects and patterns in your shots. Experiment! Also, the practical insider will tell you the value of a little LED headlamp for hands-free configuring of your camera controls.

  • Mirror
    An acrylic mirror is lightweight and cheap, and will serve as a super handy reflector for deep shadows, portraits, or outdoor shots. This simple tool opens up all kinds of shooting possibilities!