5 Great Photography Accessories For Less Than $100 Each

It can be too easy to focus on giant light modifiers and expensive strobes as being where you should spend your money when optimizing your studio, but it can also be handy to consider some of the cheaper, less obvious, options that will help make your shoots go smoothly. In this article we take a look at five less common and cheap pieces of gear that can improve your next shoot.

Camping Chair ($20)

Before I stumbled onto this little gem I spent an awful lot of time shooting on my knees. I love shooting up at people to make them seem taller and more impressive in the frame but I often find sitting right on the floor is a bit too low. This magical little wonder lives in my camera bag and gives me a perfectly comfy little perch for when I want to shoot at those lower angles.

Mini Light Stand ($32)

For years it drove me insane that standard light stands were pretty limited in how low they could get to the ground. Some of the makeshift solutions I came up with were pretty ridiculous until I found this gift from heaven. It is built like a tank and gloriously sturdy with rubber feet that keep it reliably stable.

Justin Clamp ($61)

I have come to think of these glorious little clamps as a sort of “swiss army knife” of grip gear. They seem to be always coming to my aid when I have a weird grip related problem such as holding a flag at a weird angle, or mounting a speedlight to the side of a fence or some other difficult position that is particularly light stand averse.

Tripod Dolly ($42)

Not only are these things great, cheap, alternatives to a slider when making BTS video but they also make moving around stands so much nicer. They are, quite literally, convenience on wheels.

Impact QuickStik ($65)

The design of the QuickStik makes it amazing for use on location to help your voice activated light stands be a bit more comfortable. The harness sleeve transfers the majority of the weight to the wielder’s hip and also makes it much easier to hold the boom with only one hand. In the most simple sense the QuickStik helps avoid cranky assistants which means you can make them work longer.

Conclusion

Setting a few extra pennies aside from your expensive lens budget to make your shooting workflow a bit nicer can go a long way to improving the quality of your work. A less stressed photographer makes for a more focused one. Share some of your favorite pieces of convenience gear in the comments below!

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17 Comments

Ricky Perrone's picture

ahhh mini light stand! thank you!

Michael Comeau's picture

Cinefoil is the sh*t.

ALEXANDER TARDIF's picture

Can't believe I'm about to make a comment about a... chair... on a photography forum, of all places, but here it goes: I f-in' hate that thing! Yes, it's light and cheap, but it's unstable while hiking and setting it up on uneven terrain - the 3 feet simply don't spread out far enough for support. Granted, I'm 6'3" 225. I've had one for years and took it with me every hike, nested on the opposite side of a tripod on my backpack.

Thas was until I found this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/675855-REG/Clik_Elite_CE507GR_Clik... Now this thing kills it! Tiny (nearly flat!) when packed and just much more stable! Double the price, but well worth it! I just came back from Reno Ballon Race when I wanted to move around but had to sit and wait for the show for extended periods of time and it worked flawless to setup and use at 4am in the dark! Get one!

Lee Ramsden's picture

Nice suggestion!
If outdoors and hiking personally i like a simple roll mat, light weight, i can lay in a prone posistion and sit comforatably for hours.

Nice Balloon shot.

Kyle Medina's picture

That's not a bad idea. I typically sit on my butt when shooting wildlife. As you may know the ground isn't forgiving after a couple hours. This shot I used my cars windshield screen for the ground because it was a bit rough (I was wearing shorts). Now I just need to buy a throw over blind.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Ha, cool suggestion, its funny, I've been hiking with that chair for a decade and never had a problem with it. I love it in the studio and when working with people but I also adore it when I'm shooting landscapes 3/4 of the way up a mountain. I've never really experienced stability issues personally.

Brad Watanabe's picture

I've been thinking about picking up a portable seat for timelapse shooting and one of these two solutions is going in my amazon cart right now. Thanks for the recommendations

Kyle Medina's picture

Thank you for that suggestion!!

Chris Adval's picture

Tripod Dolly, whats the difference from folding up the legs on a light stand than this? It is really worth buying something separate when its possible to achieve with an already existing light stand?

Ryan Cooper's picture

Are you talking about the QuickStik? A tripod dolly adds wheels to a tripod. ;)

In terms of the Quickstik, it has two important aspects that make it much nicer to use than a folded up lightstand,

The first is the hip sling, as mentioned, which allows you to transfer the weight of the stand from your arms to your hips. Which makes it much nicer to hold for extended periods and allows you to wield it with only a single hand

The second is that it is much lighter than a normal lightstand since it does not have those legs to add weight.

Chris Adval's picture

No, the one listed on the article as "Tripod Dolly ($42)"

Ryan Cooper's picture

Thats referring to the image above, not the image below ;)

Chris Adval's picture

ahhh lol, gotcha ;-)

Prefers Film's picture

+1 on the tripod dolly. Next to my Harbor Freight rolling mechanic's stool, that would be one of my favorite "comfort" items in the studio. I'd also add the Peak Design Capture Pro to things under $100 that make your work easier

Michael Kormos's picture

Ummmm... Where's is the Fstoppers FlashDisc?

Ryan Cooper's picture

Ha, I intentionally focused on accessories and not light modifiers. (Otherwise the list would be all cheap light modifiers that I love!)

JK Chekpo's picture

I absolutely love my gorilla pod!