Enhance Your Photography With Five Inexpensive Add-Ons


Photography is not a cheap hobby.  Moreso, in an economy such as this, it’s hard to justify upgrades to your equipment.  And while you know you can really do some cool things with that Fisheye lens you’ve had your eye on, my guess it the reason you don’t have it yet is a shortage of cash.  But worry not, because I am here to help you get some new tools in your bag to enhance your photographic experience – without hurting your wallet (or your relationship with your significant other – you all know what I mean).

So here it is, my list of inexpensive equipment add-ons that will really add to your experience.  I have even included prices and links (To B&H Photo, of course) to ease in your quest.

  • Reversing Rings – Can’t afford a Macro Lens?  Well, if you happen to have a short prime lens, such as a 50mm, you’re in luck.  You can get a reversing ring to mount your lens backwards on your camera, and instantly you have a fairly decent macro lens.  The only catch is that your meter won’t work, so you’ll have to use manual mode.  But the results will be incredible.  Average price:  $15-40. See Reversing Rings at B&H Photo.
  • Close Up Lenses – In keeping with the Macro theme, you can also get a close up lens for your camera.  Well – it’s not really a lens – more like a filter.  The purpose of these is to allow you to get closer to your subjects by allowing you to focus closer than your lens was designed.  While you may not be able to get actual Macro scale, it certainly allows for some interesting compositions.  Starting around $25.  See Close-up Lenses at B&H Photo.
  • Lumiquest’s Soft Screen Diffuser – A friend of mine has one of these little guys and I’m fairly impressed.  It’s a diffuser for your pop-up flash.  It’s goofy looking, but it really does a lot for your pop-up flash (I wouldn’t advise using your pop-up flash otherwise).  Best part, it’s only $12.95.
  • Black and White Colored Filters – Okay, so these are intended for film, and yes you can get the same effect in your photo editor during post processing, but where’s the fun in that?  There are a wide array of colored filters available for your black and white photography, all less than $30.  These help you to make certain colors pop.  For example, try a red or yellow filter for your landscape shots.  Or a green filter in the urban environment.  Hell, try them with your color shots and you’ll get some cool artistic effects.  Light just works differently through the filter.  Note – you can spend a lot of money on these filters, but you don’t need to spend any more than $30.  See Colored Filters for Black and White at B&H Photo.
  • LED Flashlight – Yes, I said a flashlight.  They’re cheap (often less than $30), they come in different colors, and with them you can create light paintings.  Set your camera to a very small aperture with a long shutter (several seconds), and turn the lights off in the room – then paint with your flashlight.  You’re moving too fast to appear in the shot, but you’ll have a lot of fun.  (No B&H link here – go to your local hardware store or super store for the cheapest prices).

If those tools don’t keep you busy until you can really afford some serious equipment upgrades, than I don’t know what will.  This is, of course, a short list…so feel free to add your own thoughts.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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