A little gear goes a long way

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One of the beauties of stock photography is that you don’t need a bunch of special equipment to get started.

Any camera that you have will be just fine, even if it’s just a cell phone!

That said, as you begin to take more photos, there are a few pieces of gear that can make your life easier and open up greater creative possibilities.

In no particular order, here are my top photo gear suggestions:

Small Tripod. A small tripod, such as the Joby GorillaPod, is surprisingly useful. A full size tripod is also helpful, but you may not always want to carry it around. A mini tripod is easy to toss in a pocket, purse, or photo bag for times when you need a little extra stability. The flexible legs of the Joby allows you to wrap it around a railing, balance it on a rock, or put it low to the ground for some creative angles!

Smartphone Tripod Mount. If you like to photograph with your smartphone, you should definitely get a tripod mount like this one which will pair nicely with most tripods. It can be tough to hold a smartphone steady, especially under low light conditions. This handy little tool will help you get the sharpest images possible to submit to your stock photo agencies.

Reflector. Sometimes you just need to bounce a little light into a scene. This technique can work great with portraits, still life, and macro subjects such as flowers. Personally, my favorite reflector is simply a piece of white foam core board from any craft store. (I always have one knocking around in the back of my car.) Or you can pick up a foldable “5-in-1” Reflector such as this one, which comes in different sizes with white, gold, and silver options.

Here’s an article that shows the difference a little reflected light can make for your photos.

Circular Polarizing Filter. Got glare? A polarizing filter can save the day. I like the B+W brand

Water, rocks, foliage, and even pavement can all produce a glare that will wash out the colors in your scene. This simple tool will cut through the reflection and help colors to pop. It will also make blue skies more vibrant. I don’t use it so much with portraits, but it’s extremely useful for outdoor scenes. Read more about this, here.

Neoprene Case. For times when you don’t want to lug your entire camera bag around, but still want to protect your camera, check out these neoprene cases by Zing. They come in different sizes to accommodate different lenses. 

Spare Camera Batteries. There is nothing worse than having the perfect shot right in front of you as your camera battery dies. Pick up a few spare batteries to keep in your camera bag, and you’ll never have to worry about this again.

Adobe Lightroom. If you don’t yet have the photo processing program Adobe Lightroom, download a free trial at Adobe.com. Lightroom not only allows you to process photos beautifully, but you can also organize them, keep them in “collections,” add keywords and more. It’s well worth it if you truly want to sell stock photos and streamline your workflow.

A few simple pieces of gear can definitely help you get shots you might otherwise miss. But remember, at the end of the day it’s really not about the gear, it’s about your eye as a photographer!

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