Anker USB 3.0 Card Reader 8-in-1Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca
Each day I get anywhere from 5 to 10 emails asking what kind of camera gear "to buy". Last night someone actually asked me "what other gear" I use excluding cameras and lenses. NO doubt you need a camera and lens to make a photograph but there are tons of other equipment I use to support my work. Each of them is equally as important to what I do. So, I thought of making a list of about ten things I use daily with costs under the $50 mark.
Image 1: Anker 8-IN-1 USB 3.0 Card reader
I've used more expensive card readers from big name manufacturers...and they all stopped working within a year of use. Most of them were well over the $50 price. Then a friend turned me on to this Anker product. It take a variety of cards and you can even use both slots at the same time. They advertise it at "Up To 5GB/s" transfer speed but I averaged around 90 MB/s with real world use. More than fast enough to get images off my SD cards and into Adobe Lightroom. Incidentally those speeds are fast enough to work with 2K video.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE II: Giottos Rocket-Air Blower
Very handy for delicately blowing light dust particles of sensors, lens elements and surfaces during product shots. These things last forever and come in a variety of sizes. I have about 4 of them from very small to huge. The largest model moves a ton of air with very little efort.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE III: Neewer NW561 Speedlites
These are my workhorses and I have 6 of them but really only use a max of two at any given time. The odd wedding or event will require all six though and they are cheap enough to replace if they get knocked over by guests or curious kids. The color temperature is consistent and the build quality is very decent. None of the purchases has failed since last Fall with near constant use. Neewer offers models compatible with every major DSLR/Mirrorless camera on the market.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE V: Neewer LED64
These are incredibly handy and batteries seem to last forever with constant use. They do develop a slight magenta tint over time, at least 2 of my units have anyway. I don't mind so much as I tend to correct for that with manual white balance adjustment at the time of capture. You can stack a bunch of them together to create a larger light source but prefer to use them to light specific areas of a subject in conjunction with speedlites. Just a note...when I bought my set they were sold by Neewer but I see that they are now marketed under the "Godox" name.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE VI: Lastolite Professional Reflector
These are probably the most important item in my gear kit. It's used almost as much as my speedlites. They come in a variety of sizes and I have three...small, medium and hella large. The only downside is using them outdoors...they tend to make like a kite and fly away unless someone is holding them. I have gold, silver and a really old zebra patterned one though I can't recall off-hand if that a Lastolite model.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE VII: No-Name Lens Cleaning Brush
These are sold under a variety of brands. I suggest buying one based on build quality as mine has come apart a few times. I just repaired it with some super glue and pressed it back into service. This one is about 10 years old. I use it to brush off equipment (fine dust).
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca
IMAGE VIII: Peak Design Capture
I hike a lot...this little item keeps my camera secured to my bag or belt as I walk along. It's well made and quite heavy for it's size. I've owned it for a little over two years now and Use it about 2 times per week without issue.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE IX: Clamps
You can get these at any hardware store. They are useful for securing gear, backdrops...you name it. I drilled a hole in the larger one which enables me to attach a flash and pretty much put it anywhere for main or fill light. The smaller ones can be used for securing clothing on models etc.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE X: Lepage Fun-Tak putty
This stuff is amazing for product photography. You can prop items up at any angle, rest another item on top of another etc. It just locks on and keeps them in place. I've even used it on food shots. Once in awhile if I'm desperate I'll even use a little bit to clean dust off surfaces. The little red tube is non-toxic glue.
Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca IMAGE XI: Lee Filters
And finally...my swatch kit of Lee Filters. I attach these to my speedlites to create different lighting effects or to color-correct the flash based on where I'm shooting.