It’s no secret that more pictures are taken during the spring and summer months than at any other time of year. Now that the outdoor shooting season is in full swing, photographers from casual shooters and enthusiasts to working pros are on the go. They are taking weekend trips, going on hikes in the woods or at the shore, traveling to vacation destinations and shooting in the field on assignment—or maybe they’re just having fun being creative.
Experienced photographers who have felt the frustration of not having what they need when they’re shooting out in the boonies often take their entire shooting outfit along with them. This could include a second smaller camera bag to hold what’s required for the day’s shoot, extra batteries and a full-size tripod stowed in the trunk. While that’s generally an effective strategy, it sure helps to have a list of essential items travel that will keep photographers operational in the field at a high level no matter what.
Here are 10 essential travel items that not only fulfill that mission but will also help your customers to have a more satisfying travel shooting experience. They can also enhance your customer relationships and, of course, ring up profits.
While each of the specific items we’ve selected is an excellent choice in its own right, each one also stands for a product category and there are other branded products that are equally suitable for travel photography and in the field.
10 Essential Travel Accessories
1. Cullmann Magnesit Copter Mini Tripod. With the CB-2 mini ball head, this well-made tripod will fit into any camera bag for easy travel. It can be used on a tabletop and other firm level surfaces, or it can be held against a wall or doorpost for added stability when shooting. It’s made of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, stands 6.5 inches tall, weighs less than a pound and will support cameras up to 2.5 pounds. Its legs have rubber feet to prevent slippage and are rounded on their outer sides so the tripod can also be used as a comfortable handgrip with the legs folded. The CB-2 mini ball head features a single knob control and a reversible shoe mount that can hold an off-camera flash, LED panel, etc. It’s available in an assortment of colors. $34.95. cullmann.de
2. Sigma WR Ceramic Protector Filter. Experienced shooters use a clear or UV filter over their lenses to protect their precious glass from dust, sand, scratching and direct physical impact. Sigma’s WR Ceramic Protector filter takes this to a higher level, employing a super-hard, clear glass ceramic substrate that combines an impressive 99.7% transmittance value and a hardness greater than chemically strengthened glass. And it provides greater flexibility than sapphire crystal. As a result, the filter delivers superior shock, scratch and impact resistance even under adverse conditions. It also features a water-repellent, antistatic coating that resists water droplets and fingerprint smudging, and is easier to clean. The filter comes in seven sizes from 67mm to 105mm. $93–$315. sigmaphoto.com
3. Sanho HyperJuice Plug USB Battery Pack. Running out of battery power where there’s no outlet can really ruin the day. Having this fully charged, 18,000mAh, 20W total power lithium-ion battery will let users charge two USB devices (such as a camera and a smartphone) simultaneously while on the go. It provides up to 2.4A of charging power per port and delivers maximum power to individual devices regardless of which USB port they’re plugged into. Available in five colors, it has a retractable wall plug for convenient charging from any standard outlet. It also features an aluminum housing and a five-level LED power indicator. Industrial/military grade AA cells provide the power. $89.95. sanho.com
4. ROR Residual Oil Remover. Used by many top camera repair outfits, this is the right stuff for cleaning multicoated lenses and electrical contacts. ROR is designed to emulsify and remove the microscopic film of oil residing on equipment surfaces that is caused by environmental pollution. It can be applied with a clean microfiber cloth moistened in the solution, and several applications may be needed to remove the multilayer build up on some surfaces. It will safely clean lenses, scanners, LCD screens, optics, TVs, iPods and the like, but it is NOT recommended for use on focusing screens, CCD/CMOS sensors or internal antialiasing filters. 1 ounce, $5.50; 2 ounces, $9. ror.net
5. Manfrotto Compact Monopod Advanced. A monopod is a great ultra-portable accessory that takes up little space and adds crucial stability when shooting in dim light or with long telephoto lenses in the field. This sturdy, five-section unit folds to 16 inches and extends to an eye-level 61 inches. It will support cameras up to 6.6 pounds and weighs just 12.3 ounces. The monopod has fast-operating flip locks for easy setup and a quick wheel that lets users hold the camera with one hand while mounting it with the other. Designed with an ergonomic soft grip and a wrist strap for added security, it comes with a carrying bag. $34.99. manfrotto.us
6. Seagate Backup Plus Slim Drive. Taking a compact, high-capacity external hard drive along lets shooters back up images and videos on the fly—and free up space on memory cards. This pocketable USB 3.0 drive offers 2 terabytes of storage and measures a compact 4.5x3x0.5 inches and weighs less than half a pound. It is bus-powered via a superfast USB 3.0 connection and features a maximum sustained read/write speed of approximately 100MB/s. The Seagate Dashboard includes a protect function that lets users
schedule automatic backups in one click, as well as save/capture functions for acquiring and backing up files posted on social media. And a share feature lets users upload multiple files to social networks. An ideal travel accessory, it’s compatible with Mac/Windows operating systems and comes in four colors. $109.99. seagate.com
7. Domke Color-Coded Protective Wrap. Fabricated of padded knit nylon with a non-scratch backing, these squares of soft protective material can be wrapped around cameras, flash units and other gear to prevent them from scraping against other items in a camera bag. Available in 19×19-, 15×15- and 11×11-inch versions, they’ll fit around a variety of equipment shapes and have touch fasteners on all four corners. The wraps come in red, yellow, blue, gray and black so photographers can instantly select the equipment they need. $19.99–$26.99. tiffen.com
8. Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc. This 42-inch, versatile light modification tool provides white, silver, gold and black surfaces plus a one-stop translucent diffusion panel. It offers a great way to achieve the precise lighting effects wanted when shooting on location or in the studio. The white disc provides a neutral fill, the silver one adds contrast and increases specular highlights, gold adds a touch of warmth, black blocks unwanted reflections and eliminates spill, and the translucent disc cuts the light by one stop and creates a broader, softer light source. The discs’ 42-inch size makes them suitable for three-quarter-length portraits and medium-size still life subjects. They fold to one-third their size for storage and easy travel in an included carrying bag. $23.95. rayalighting.com
9. Pearstone Microfiber Cleaning Cloth. This 18% gray, 7×7.9-inch microfiber cleaning cloth is ideal for cleaning lenses, TV and computer screens or other items that require a gentle touch. Its “easy grip, textured surface” facilitates the cleaning process. Because of it unique color, the cloth also doubles as an 18% “gray card” that can be used to calibrate a camera for the most accurate color balance and exposure settings—ingenious! $6.49. pearstone.com
10. Tiffen ND Filter. Tiffen’s variable neutral density filter has a rotating ring that can be set to provide from two
to eight stops of light reduction. This lets users shoot at wider apertures to achieve creative bokeh effects in portraits and landscapes, or shoot at slower shutter speeds to blur motion for a more natural look, as with a waterfall. The ND filter has a wider profile front ring to minimize vignetting. Tiffen’s graduated 0.6 ND filter can reduce the exposure by two stops in selected areas of the frame, such as an expanse of sky or beach. It has a feathered edge between the density and clear areas to create a natural looking taper. ND filters do not affect the overall coloration of the image, and Tiffen filters are manufactured using the proprietary ColorCore process to ensure uniformity. In 67mm size: variable ND, $120.85; graduated 0.6 ND, $49.99. tiffen.com