Here’s why Ace Hardware is on my list of must-visit stores before a big photo expedition.

There are many, many gadgets that we photographers consider MUST-HAVE items and most of these can be found at any good photography store.

But there is another set of “gadgets” that you may want to consider, and the good news is, these can be found at any hardware store.

1. Flashlight – (two)

You never know when you’re going to need a flashlight. Having two allows you to hold one on your camera while setting up at dawn or dusk and another to light up your camera bag (or your subject if you’re into painting with light.)

2. Duct tape

I can’t count the number of times I’ve used duct tape to save my bacon. Whether it’s holding the battery pack on the D90 after it fell off or just holding a power cord up and out of the way, duct tape is a must-have item in any camera bag. You may want to add electrical tape to the list too.

3. Batteries

Almost every hardware store in America sells batteries. Most even sell re-chargable batteries. Stock up and remember that old re-chargable batteries don’t hold a charge as well as new batteries.

4. Rope

Rope is another one of those things you may think you’ll never need – until you do. I use rope for holding backgrounds up, for securing oversize items in the truck, or for lashing backgrounds together.

5. Small Step Ladder

Raising your camera 12-24″ will change the entire look and feel of most photos, help you avoid ugly backgrounds, and change perspective. You can pick up a small two-step ladder at most hardware stores to carry in your vehicle for just the right occasion.

6. Painter Pole

In photography, you never know when you’re going to need a piece of gear like this. The simplest way to use it is to convert this pole into a small softbox holder that an assistant can use to position light into a scene from a distance. The Shur-Line Easy Reach Model 06570 is my pole of choice. Available at most hardware stores. Add a few bits and bobs to it and you have an amazing piece of gear. Hat tip to Pixsylated for posting about this and giving me the idea.

I’ve really just scratched the surface here. There are lots of other useful items you can probably come up with at the local hardware store from background stands to props. But you get the idea. Enjoy.


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  1. […] Don’t Just Shop at a Camera Store Before Your Next Photo Trip Here’s why Ace Hardware is on my list of must-visit stores before a big photo expedition. There are many, many […] […]

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