When it comes to photography gear most people just think about lenses, camera bodies and flashes. The small stuff that makes all that work is important to! As we grow, many of us have had bad experiences with some brand or piece of gear at some point. At this point of my business, I am very happy with my setup and workflow of small but necessary gear for photographers.
I shoot with Canon DSLR bodies, so all of the products I refer to may be different if you shoot Sony, Nikon or Fuji. The basis behind everything will be relevant to any camera though.
My Canon 5D has dual card slots, one for a SD card and one for a CF card. I shoot RAW on both. I know some photographers shoot RAW on the CF and JPEG on the SD as a backup. If you are a professional and do not have a camera with dual card slots, I recommend that be your next upgrade ASAP.
Memory cards have so many ranges of good and bad. Sandisk is the only brand that I use and they have three “levels”; the Ultra, Extreme and Extreme PRO. The Extreme PRO are the only ones I buy now, but I do have some of the Extreme ones left for if I have the other ones full. The Ultra version are the cheapest, but are not going to help you out in the long run. I find the Extreme PRO never lag for me and I haven’t had any corrupt on me (yet). I do not shoot video, but the faster cards help with shooting GIFs and just normal shooting for me.
For sizing, I typically go with the 128GB and 64GB. Anything larger than 128 would never be useful for me as I would never need that much space on one card. I always format my cards before a photo shoot or wedding. My cards are an extra backup until I have completed my gallery; so I set them aside and do not use them or delete anything until that gallery is uploaded, sent and backed up on multiple external hard drives. If I ever get to the point of running low on cards, that just makes me get editing done faster so I can free up space on a set of them.
Off brand batteries can be great as a backup for your backup, but I have found on brand (Canon for me) batteries last longer and even charge faster. On wedding or elopement days I bring them all with me, but for regular shoots I bring two Canon backups for my two camera bodies. I have never had a battery completely crap out on me, so I cannot say anything bad about certain brands. I still prefer using Canon brand.
For chargers I use the Canon single battery chargers at home which come with the camera. You can buy them separate if one gets lost or you just want another, but they are pricey. I have a couple different docks that can charge two batteries at a time that I will bring with me in case I ever need to charge. One is pretty small so I just keep that in my camera bag with me and the bonus is that it can hold two if I ever need a charge. I don’t think staying on brand for the charger is as important as the Battery itself.
- Camera Brand Batteries – Canon 2 Pack Battery Pack
- Main Battery Charger (comes with the camera) – Canon LC-E6 Charger for LP-E6 Battery Pack
- Other Battery Chargers – RAVPower Rechargeable Battery Charger
I have had such bad luck in the past with backup hard drives so I am pretty paranoid. My bad experiences were before or when I was just getting into starting my business. I have never completely lost anything important for a client. I never have more than one of the same hard drive, I like to keep them different brands in case one ends up being bad. My current set of hard drives has been working out so great for me.
My main external hard drive is big, but it just sits on my desk behind my laptop so it is not a problem for me. This is the hard drive I actually edit on and save everything on, so I don’t have everything on my laptop hard drive. I have 2 other main external hard drives (all different brands) which are smaller physically. When I am done with editing I save it all to both of those too, so I have everything on my main, my 2 backups, and then the JPEG gallery saved with Pic-Time.
I have one more hard drive that I just started using. I only have the second half of 2020 saved on that one, but will continue to backup with it too because it has the space. This one is for traveling specifically. I have heard a lot of good things about this hard drive and I have piece of mind moving this one around. vs the others that are more delicate. So when I am out I have everything saved to my SD, CF and my travel hard drive.
- Main Hard Drive – MyBook 4TB Hard Drive
- First Backup – Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
- Second Backup – EasyStore 2TB Hard Drive
- Traveling Hard Drive – LaCie Rugged 5TB Hard Drive
Everything mentioned above needs to be protected! The SD and CF card holders I have are great! They are a bit bulky, but they are going to protect your cards and it is worth it. I don’t have separate cases for used and to-be-used cards, but I will eventually get around to that.
For batteries, they don’t need as much protection but it can get annoying to have them in your camera bag without a case. I like the case I have, but I believe it is advertised to put cards in the front slots which I would not recommend as a permanent storage solution.
And finally, safes. Keeping your hard drives in a fireproof and waterproof safe is such an important measure. I have one that is small just for traveling. When I am not traveling I have a bigger and more reliable one at home to keep everything in.
- SD Card Case – Kiorafoto Professional Water-Resistant Anti-Shock Holder
- CF Card Case – Kiorafoto Professional Water-Resistant Anti-Shock Holder
- Battery Case – JJC 6-pocket DSLR Camera Battery Pouch Holder
- At Home Fireproof/Waterproof Safe: SentrySafe Fireproof and Waterproof Safe with Digital Keypad
- Travel Fireproof/Waterproof Safe: SentrySafe Fireproof and Waterproof Box with Key Lock
The Small But Necessary Gear For Photographers is just as important as your lenses, camera bodies and flashes; especially if you are an elopement or wedding photographer! If you want to see the “main gear” I use check out What’s In My Bag here. This article contains affiliate links. I only recommend products and brands that I personally love and use for myself and business.