Everybody talks about camera gear, cameras, lenses, Canon, or Nikon, etc. Many people also get into strobes and light stands. Bloggers go down the list, lens filters, tripods, ball heads, camera bags, batteries, camera straps, you name it. The approach most people take is that you need something related to photography to improve your photography “kit”. But what about non-photography items? In this post I’m going to talk about everything that has nothing to do with photography that can help you be a better photographer.
A Nice Pair of… Shoes?
Having the correct shoes is so important as a photographer, mainly because photography is as much about knowing where to take pictures as it is how to take pictures. If you’re a nature photographer, you’ll need good outdoor hiking shoes. I would also recommend a pair of comfortable hiking boots to wedding photographers. The whole concept of a hiking boot is to protect your feet from the elements and keep you comfortable on a long hike. Those requirements fit well with many kinds of photography done outdoors. You may find yourself outdoors more often than you think in every genre of photography.
A Wind Resistant Jacket
Get a jacket to keep yourself safe from harm on cold days. I’ve stood out in the cold for hours on end many times as a wedding photographer. And if the bride throws a fit and decides she wants to make everyone wait 20 extra minutes for no reason, you’ll be nice and warm rather than pissed for no reason.
A Rain Poncho
Never underestimate your subject’s willingness to get the shot. Even if it’s clearly raining outside. A common occurrence for the bride and groom is to get a couple of these clear vinyl umbrellas with white & black trim. You might think an umbrella is a good idea for you, it is not. Umbrellas are impossible to use while holding cameras and lenses at the same time. The best option is a nice rain poncho. I would go to a military surplus store online to find a good one. Something this is seam taped and treated to be waterproof is usually good. I think my poncho cost $24.95, so you don’t need to spend a huge amount either.
A Fast Computer with Lots of Storage
A fast computer is so important for editing lots of images the way professional photographers do. Many professional photographers don’t edit, but I highly recommend that you do so unless you are working for a big company that has dedicated editors for their photographers. If you plan on owning the copyright for your images and keeping them around then you’ll also need lots of storage for all that as well. A good starting point for someone just getting into shooting stock photography might be 100TB of storage. If you’re a wedding professional who shoots 50+ weddings a year, 100TB is also a good place to start. Videographers shooting in 4k or higher will want to go for 1PB of storage at a minimum to start.
A Car, Truck, or Van
You also need a mode of transport to get you to and from your jobs and carry your equipment around in safely and securely. Remember that a vehicle that either hides your stuff very well like in a trunk or concealed area in your vehicle is best. You definitely don’t want to leave loads of stuff in the back of a truck for people to find and take as they please. (For you millennials it’s called “stealing”.)
Being able to print your own stuff is great and can save you money. Plus, you can decorate your walls with your prints and people will love you for it.
A Portable Wagon
I used to laugh when I saw photographers dragging wagons full of gear behind them. Now I consider a wagon an important part of being a photographer. It saves me multiple trips to and from my car when I bring all my gear in for a wedding reception, and I’ve used it at wedding shows to help bring in my table setup. It looks more professional wheeling in a wagon than it does trying to open a door with arms full of light stands and strobes, trust me.
Having an assistant is great. Every professional photographer should have an assistant. There are always people you can hire to be assistants and if your goal is to do really professional looking photography, an assistant is an absolute necessity.
A Web Location to Share Photos
Even if all you have is an Instagram, it’s better than nothing. Trying to win at Instagram is more difficult than ever without large cash infusions for paid advertising, and Mark Zuckerberg has gone fully stupid with his latest “Metaverse” idea, but somehow Instagram has stuck around. If you just think of it as an easily accessible way for people to see a portfolio of your work, there’s nothing too very wrong with it. Although, I wouldn’t put my best work up there willy-nilly. The Instagram terms of service grants Mark Zuckerberg the right to do as he pleases with all those images for as long as he lives presumably.
Well, I hope that these ideas have you thinking about the ways you can spend your money. Gooood luck!