Best Photography Gear Under $100
- I have a rule for myself: Always buy the best, regardless of price. It may sound snobby, but I have found that anytime I go the cheap route I end up regretting it. Then I’m out the cost of the cheap item because I have to upgrade anyway. I prefer to prevent this buy saving up a little longer in order to buy the best version of any item right off the bat.
- Fortunately, sometimes the best isn’t terribly expensive. These are my five favorite pieces of gear in my photography kit that cost under $100:
- Peak Design Slide Strap
- For a long time I carried my camera around the streets of Southeast Asia using a wrist strap . I didn’t hate it, but it was annoying that I only ever had one free hand. I would have switched to a neck strap, but it was too much of a pain to put it on and take it off of the camera.
- When I found the Peak Design Slide Strap I bought it immediately. For $65 I solved two problems - I now had two free hands at all times, and I could easily remove and attach the strap in a couple of seconds.
- It works by attaching two clips to the strap rungs on your camera. Then, when you want to use the strap, you just clip it on and throw it around your neck. The clips have a red string inside so if they ever get too frayed that they are in danger of breaking you will be able to see that clearly and replace them.
- When I first started in photography I would create masks and do fine touch-ups in Photoshop using my trackpad. That quickly became frustrating. My finger would often slip, causing me to create a big line going off the side of the photo, and I’d have to press Undo and do the whole thing over. This would happen about a hundred times on every photo.
- Finally, I decided to purchase a Wacom Tablet for $78. Not only did I save precious time while editing photos, but my edits also got much better. I was able to better fine-tune the softness and preciseness of my strokes. In my opinion, this is a must have, not a nice-to-have, for all photographers who do more than just tweak the sliders in Lightroom.
- There are versions of this tablet that are more expensive, but the cheaper option works great and is smaller and, therefore, better for travel.
- This is by far the cheapest item on this list. So cheap, in fact, that you better buy it now. It’s a sitting pad, made for camping, and it’s lightweight and small. It’s not a comfortable chair made for relaxing, but more of a divider to keep your butt off the hard, cold, or wet ground.
- I don’t know about you, but I’m always sitting on the earth while I wait for wildlife to show up, move, or do something crazy. And the waiting tends to be long. If I’m in a marsh waiting for cranes to come closer to my hiding spot, I’m less likely to stay still and quiet if I’m sitting in wet grass.
- This pad has made me far more comfortable and kept me dry and warm in more situations than I can count, and it cost me $9.99. (For people in Europe, Decathlon has an even cheaper one, about €3.)
Entrance Fees & Travel Costs
- To me, Google Drive is a no-brainer for photographers. Google Drive storage is unlimited with a G-Suite subscription, which costs about $12 per month.
- I put all my files, photos, and videos on Google Drive. The RAW files, developed .jpg files, Lightroom Catalogs, and everything else are stored there. I’m not afraid of Google going out of business, but just for safety I also have my Google Drive synced to an external hard drive. With this setup, I have unlimited storage of my thousands of photos, with a near zero chance of ever losing them.
Thank you for reading this list. I hope you found something you can buy now to improve your photography. What purchases under $100 have you enjoyed? I’m always looking for recommendations, so let me know.
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- Whenever I start complaining about the entrance fees to a national park, the price of gas or an Uber to get to a photo location, or the effort it will take, I try to remind myself that it has always been worth it. There is not a single time in my photography career that I have been disappointed for paying an entrance fee or hiring a guide.
- Almost always less than $100, these fees are the price of doing business. They are tax deductible if you are a working photographer, and they are the necessary price of getting the shot. Without paying these fees, you are stuck in a poor location or worse - you don’t go out at all.
- Pay the fee the and get the shot. It’s worth it every time.