We all know that being a photographer can get expensive, from camera bodies to lenses, there is a never ending list of gadgets and goodies that we can spend our hard earned money on. The last thing anybody wants to do is spend their money on the “must haves” of photography when we could just as easily drop some cash on the things we want. Below is a short list of gear that every photographer should have in their arsenal, but probably doesn't want to spend his or her money on.
Nobody wants to spend $30 or more on a roll of tape. I know I always cringe when my roll is nearing the end of its life and I have to shell out the money for a new one. However, the fact that it runs out at all is proof that having gaff tape on set is important. My number one use for gaff tape would probably be to tape down cables and extension chords because a lot of the people I work with, myself included, are super clumsy and I would rather spend a small amount of money on a seemingly unimportant item than a large sum of money on a nice piece of gear that I accidentally knocked over.
In my mind it’s a little easier to justify buying a nice hard drive. I have had a couple hard drives crash over the years and that very well may be the worst feeling in the world. If it hasn't happened to you, take it from me when I say you don't want to experience it. That’s why I upgraded to a G-Technology thunderbolt drive. I use that hard drive to keep all my current projects and then I have about seven or eight Seagate backup drives that I transfer my projects to after I have finished with them.
Clamps come in handy more than you might think, but they’re still not that fun to purchase. Thankfully they’re remarkably cheap (for the most part) and most of them are extremely durable. In my opinion it’s always a good idea to have a few different types of clamps and a bunch of different sizes. I keep an assortment of clamps of various sizes with me just incase I have to secure a backdrop or a reflector to a stand. Some of my favorite clamps I have are the Manfrotto Super Clamps because in addition to simply being a clamp, I can also attach lights, tripod heads, or any number of other things to it. They’re great for getting those lights or cameras in tricky hard to reach places.
Sand bags hands down take the cake for the least sexy item I have ever purchased. There’s nothing fun about dropping your hard earned cash on a glorified sack of dirt. It may be hard to stomach the purchase of a sandbag, but I use them on every single shoot and they have saved my life (gear) more times than I can count. Having piece of mind that my light stand isn't going to come crashing down from a small gust of wind is worth every penny in my book.
This is just a short list of the things that I have purchased over the years that at the time I didn't necessarily see the value in but as time went on they have proved to be worth the money. Let me know if there is anything that you think should be on this list that I left off. I would love to hear from you about your gear needs that aren't any fun to buy.