Here’s a short list of items that made my life a little easier this year. Some of these items are handy when shooting video, some are handy when shooting stills and some are handy for both. Some of the things that make my life easiest as a photographer/videographer have nothing at all to do with photography. But all of these are relatively inexpensive.
$5.99 Silver Metallic Sharpie for a 4-pack.
I came to these late in life and have been pleasantly surprised at how often I use them to label all the black items, like hard drives, power bricks and cases, etc. that would otherwise require a sticky-label.
$16.99 Network Adapter, Anker USB 3.0 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
I love my MacBook Pro Retina but it has no place to plug in an ethernet cable and there are times when there is no available wireless network or one that’s too slow, but a hard-wired ethernet connection might be available. This adapter takes allows you to plug an RJ45 ethernet cable into your USB 3 port.
$24.99 Lepow Moonstone External Battery Pack, Portable Battery Charger and Travel Charger 6000 mAh.
We never get enough charge time out of our phones so having a portable battery to charge them is a must. This device will also power some other devices that have accept power through a mini-usb plug.
$24.99 Photography & Cinema Pico Flex Dolly
Great and inexpensive way to add slider moves to your projects.
$29.95 ATR-3350 Audio Technica Powered Lavalier Microphone (also comes in XLR).
Shockingly good for a bargain price, this hard-wired lav mic come in 1/8 inch or XLR plugs and is great when wireless signal interference abounds or if you are on a tight budget.
$30.45 Cullmann Magnesit Copter Digital Tripod with cb 2.7 Ballhead.
Small compact tripod for supporting small, compact things. Comes with a great little ballhead that is worth the price of admission on its own.
$33.22 SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive.
It’s time to stop using anything USB 2. USB 3 products are 10 times faster. You just can’t have enough flash drives for storing or transferring files.
$34.92 Pedco UltraClamp Assembly
Checkout the variety of Pedco clamps. They come in extremely handy for a wide range of uses. You’ll probably want 2 or 3 once you see how cool they are.
$40.25 Joby GorillaPod with Ball head bundle.
The GorillaPod is a handy little device that not only serves as a nice compact tabletop tripod, but can be used as a shoulder brace and clamp-like device.
$54 SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB Class-10 UHS-3 SD Card
If you haven’t looked at the price of memory cards lately you will be shocked at how cheap they’ve become. A U3 card like this one is essential if you are shooting 4K video.
$69 Rode VideoMicro On-Camera Microphone
Looking for a small, cheap, decent on-camera microphone? Here ya go. The entry from Rode is of course a compromise because of its size, but it’s a lot better than using the on-cmaera microphone in your DSLR.
$79.95 WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0
Cheap and handy, we use these as backup drives.
$73 B+W 65-073102 77mm Variable Neutral Density 0.9-8x
Handy for stills but essential for video, a good quality variable neutral density filter is essential. Make sure you get the right filter size though. Or invest in a set of step-down rings.
$88.75 Alzo Easy Frame Diffuser & Reflector Kit- 40 Inch Metal Frame with Handle Incl. 1 Diffuser, 1 Silver, 1 Gold Reflector
There are lots reflector diffuser combinations on the market at a fraction of the price of the Alzo and at a multiple of the price of the Alzo, but the Alzo is the best value I’ve found. It comes with a frame that has a built in stand adapter, a handle, silver, gold, white and diffusion panels. I used it as a reflector and as a diffuser for both stalls and video. It is well built and compact.
$99 audioblocks.com one year subscription.
While there are lots of great royalty-free music sites, AudioBlocks distinguishes themselves by offering an all-you-can-eat model with some decent music.
Michael A. Schwarz Photography