Essential Gear for Outdoor Photography

March 05, 2018

Looking to take your photography outdoors? All you need is to prepare and equip yourself with necessary knowledge in basic photography, as well as a few essential pieces of gear and additional accessories that will help you achieve amazing results even in harsh and unpredictable conditions. Here are a couple of things that you may want to consider adding to your main outdoor photography arsenal:

Manual Camera

You can use pretty much any kind of camera for outdoor photography, as long as you understand its limitations and features. Smartphones of today offer a good amount of megapixels to produce high-quality images, but you’ll definitely need more professional ones (like a mirrorless camera or DLSR) if you want to produce more dramatic results and higher-resolution, gallery-type prints. 

Additional Lenses

Interchangeable lenses for more professional digital cameras and clip-on lens accessories for smartphones. The safest choice is to have a good walkaround lens that offers different focal lengths so you can frame your subjects tighter and get a wider shot without having to change lenses. But for more serious outdoor photography, it’s advisable to have separate and dedicated lenses wide-angle, telephoto, and prime lenses for more control over your depth of field and image quality.

Waterproof Camera Bag

It’s only wise to use a waterproof bag to protect your camera in the rain and other harmful elements while traveling and shooting outdoors. Aside from being waterproof, it will have to be sturdy and sufficiently padded so your camera equipment won’t end up brushing against each other.

Camera Covers

Your camera bag will only protect your gear when they’re packed away, so you’ll definitely need waterproof camera covers that will keep dust, grime, and excessive moisture from damaging your electronic equipment. For maximum protection, you can get separate ones for your camera setup and lens, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of shooting in harsh, changing weather.


Another essential photography gear is a tripod, which will help keep your camera steady and give you different vantage points when shooting outdoors. This is a particularly important tool when capturing long exposures, HDR images, time lapses, and panoramas. Make sure you pick one that is strong and well-built with (extendable or bendable legs) that won’t easily fall over from a strong gust of wind or the weight of your camera. A bubble level and ballhead would also be great to help you achieve accurate leveling and positioning for landscape photography.


Both electronic and mechanical gimbals help stabilize your camera so you can improve your mobility, especially when tracking moving subjects during street photography, sports photography, or wildlife photography. For more intense and sudden movements, it’s best to go electronic so your images are less likely to be ruined by g-force and inertia.

Camera Clamp

Like a tripod with flexible legs, a camera clamp is a multi-purpose accessory for holding your camera, flash, and any other tool that you need to mount on a flat or tubed surface, like a door, tree, or even your car’s rear-view mirror. The Mobile-Catch Black Edition Pro Lightweight Clamp ($34.99), for example, is lightweight but can take the weight of sizeable DSLRs.

Match it with their Extension Rod ($6.99) and Professional Ballhead ($37.99) to increase the distance between the clamping area and the camera, as well as to be able to position your camera to face any direction. The King-of-Kings Clamp ($45.99) is a similar but more versatile clamp that also serves as a mini tripod.

Lens Hood

Lens hoods are great for protecting your lens and preventing glare and flare, especially when shooting under bright and directional sunlight. You can always use the hood that came with your camera, but you may want the improved coverage of bigger lens hoods that you can purchase from any camera store—or make one yourself.

Lens Filters

When shooting outdoors during the day, you may also want a neutral density (ND) filter to manage the amount of light that enters the lens, thus allowing you to use much slower shutter speeds and wider apertures for capturing movement and dramatic out-of-focus blur. A circular polarizing filter is another must-have for outdoor photography as it helps darken the sky to a deeper shade of blue, reduce reflections, and suppress glare.

Shutter Release

A shutter release helps you take a series of steady shots without actually touching the shutter button on your camera, which would otherwise result to camera shake and image blurring. You can choose a wired one or a remote shutter release, depending on your needs. You can also opt for an intervalometer, especially if you’re going to do lengthy time lapses and extreme weather photography (like lightning photography)

External Lighting

There will be times when you’ll be needing more customized and directional lighting, and external flashes are great for that. You’ll only have to learn how it works and how to trigger it from afar with your camera. Alternatively, you can also use a big and wide LED light that you can attach to your camera for continuous lighting.


Shooting outdoors means working largely with ambient light, and having a big reflector helps you use sunlight to provide more flattering and dramatic lighting for your subjects. It comes in different sizes and tints (white, silver, gold), plus you can easily make one on your own using a huge white styrofoam or white cloth. Simply reflect the light to produce diffused, bounced lighting.

Lens and Sensor Cleaners

Avoid ruining your shots with annoying sensor dust. Keep your gear clean by wiping your camera body and lenses with a soft lens cloth that doesn’t shed fibers. Also get a blower that will help remove specks and sticky pollen off your sensor without friction. You’ll also do well with a cleaning fluid that doesn’t damage your camera and internal glass surfaces.

Extra Batteries and Memory Cards

This should go without saying but if you want to shoot tons of photos, and for longer periods of time, you’ll need extra batteries for all of your battery-powered equipment as well as memory cards. Consider investing in longer lasting batteries and more spacious memory cards so they won’t add significant weight to your load or use up that much space in your camera bag.

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