You have invested a pretty penny into your camera equipment. And if you are like me, you value that gear beyond its monetary value. It’s an extension of your creative self and that is priceless!
So it makes sense you want to keep that equipment safe. As tempting as it may be, there’s no need to wrap your precious equipment in a swaddle and place it in a bassinet. These items will protect your gear and put your mind at ease.
So many people think that you need the best camera to make a beautiful phototgraph. But if you ask me? Lenses are the memory (and money) makers! Keeping that glass clean, free of scratches and cracks is a top priority.
The moment you invest in a new lens you should also buy a UV filter for it. A UV filter is like a second glass on the lens. It won’t change the final photograph like a specialty lens filter. Rather, UV filters can be kept on your lens at all times and is like shooting through a window.
There are also specialty filters in which you can invest for shooting specific shooting situations. Landscape photographers often use neutral density filters to keep skies properly exposed. Luckily, these specialty filters will also help protect your lenses from dust and scratches!
A $50 investment can protect thousands of dollars worth of glass by mitigating accidental scratches and cracks. I have heard countless stories of photographers dropping cameras and the UV filter cracks, taking the brunt of the impact and allowing the lens to escape unscathed.
There are many lens filter brand options to choose from. I use this one and have been happy with the quality and effectiveness of it in protecting my gear.
Most new lenses comes with a lens hood. Lens hoods are great because they can significantly reduce haze in your photographs. They fix onto the front of the lens and block out the light that strikes the outer lens glass at an angle.
But lens hoods do so much more than that! This little piece of plastic can also protect your lens.
Put yourself in this scenario: you are outside taking photos of your children when your child begs (and whines) to hold your camera. You give in. You hand it over so she can hold the camera. She delights in looking at the photos you just took on the LCD screen. When done, she drops the camera facedown onto the ground.
But no need to panic because your lens hood was on! Instead of the lens taking the brunt of the crash, the lens hood absorbs the fall. That little piece of plastic may bend or crack, but your lens is safe. PHEW!
If you have lost or misplaced your lens hood you can easily purchase one from any camera supply store. It’s a low replacement investment with obvious benefits.
Lens cleaning cloths
This might sound like a no brainer – but please don’t clean your expensive lens glass with a paper towel, your wooly sweater, or your jeans. These rough fibers can leave behind dust particles, leave tiny scratches on the glass, and generally don’t clean the lens the way you would want them to.
Instead, use a specialty micro-fiber lens cleaning cloth. There are endless options to choose from and all of them will be great.
If you are at a photography trade show, chances are you will be able to find a bunch of these being given away for free. Stock up! These are prefect for cleaning your lens or even cleaning an airplane window so you can snap a quick photo.
Padded camera bag
Investing in a high quality padded camera bag is a must. You need a way to carry all your equipment around without danger of it banging around. Luckily, there are a lot of really attractive options that fit the bill!
Check to ensure that the bag of your choice has padding on the outside and interior. This will keep your gear protected from danger outside the bag while also protecting lenses and camera bodies from bumping into each other inside the bag.
The more snug your equipment is in the bag the better to prevent your equipment from cracking into each other. This is why I really like bags with customizable padding inside. I can move the pads around and fix them into place around my specific gear.
Camera bags are available in a wide price range and styles. From fashion bags to backpacks to rolling cases, it is very much a matter of personal preference. My advice is to head down to your local camera store and try some in person.
Camera straps & holsters
Camera bodies come with the manufacture’s camera strap. However, in my opinion they are rather thin and uncomfortable. The last thing I want when I am shooting all day is a backache or camera strap rash! If the strap isn’t comfortable, you are less likely to use it. This means that your gear is at risk of being dropped!
Instead, I recommend investing in a high quality camera strap or holster. It will save your back and shoulders. Even better, it will keep your camera easily and safely accessible to capture a fleeting moment.
I use the SpiderPro holster paired with the hand strap and love the combination. I wear the holster around my waist with my camera locked-in. It can’t fall and won’t touch the ground when I am squatting.
Another popular strap is the Holdfast harness. This is a great option if you shoot with two camera bodies. It keeps both cameras accessible at your hips and prevents them from banging into each other.
There are many camera straps and holster options. So take a look around and find one that you like. Be sure to prioritize the safety of your equipment over style of the strap (sorry fashionistas!).
Camera rain gear
We can’t always predict the weather in which we will be shooting. That’s why I am always sure to come prepared with wet weather gear for my camera!
Most cameras are “weather sealed” but can sustain only minimal amounts of water exposure before they are at risk for major damage. That’s why I always keep a stash of rain covers in my camera bag. They are inexpensive but will save your camera equipment from possible water damage.
In a pinch, you could use a large plastic Ziplock or trash bag to wrap around your camera. It might look silly, but it’s worth it to keep your gear safe!
Making the financial and creative investment in photography is a big deal. Be sure to protect your gear! If you have any protective products you can’t live without, be sure to let me know in the comments below!