One of the best reasons to go to trade shows is to get your hands on new gear. I’m not talking about the latest camera or lens from Nikon or Canon–you can hold that and try it on at the camera store any time you want. No, the best gear to get your hands on is all the accessories that aren’t out of box in camera stores. My favorite booth for great accessories at WPPI this year was Phottix, where I found the handiest accessory I’ve seen in a while.

The Worst Thing That Can Happen

Say you’re photographing an eventa wedding reception, or maybe the Chamber of Commerce Banquet. You’re probably using a speedlight to help illuminate the room, and that thing is burning through batteries. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll run out of power right before an important instant.

Last night when I was shooting at the banquet I had to be ready to shoot each award recipient, but I couldn’t get very close the stage. My speedlight could light the stage, but it requires nearly full power on every click, which drains the batteries quickly. My bag was safely stowed upstairs, and there was no way to get up and back without missing some important pictures.

The Perfect Solution

This little pouch is perfectly sized to hold eight AA batteries, which is enough to keep me shooting through the night. Better still, it’s got a loop to strap onto a belt, or bag strap so it’s handy. I kept it on my belt, and it sat under my sports coat without protruding too much.

It was so nice to have batteries ready to hand right when I needed them.

Here’s an easy tip: load the fresh batteries plus (+) side up, and put the spent batteries back minus (-) side up. Also, the pouch is a perfect fit for camera batteries, too. AA’s on one side, camera batteries on the other.

I’ll tell you about my other favorite Phottix tool soon.

Extend Your Batteries’ Life

By changing one setting on your camera, you can double or even quadruple your batteries’ life in your flash. If you’re shooting at 200 ISO and the picture looks good, then increasing the ISO to 400 will brighten the picture one stop (which is twice as bright). That means the flash can now be half as bright…which uses half the power. See where I’m going? Increase it to 800 and your batteries will last four times as long. Worried about noise? Don’t be: use the tips in this article to get the job done.