- the built-in flash on your camera is fine for triggering other flashes, acting as a fill-in flash, and in desperation, acting as the main flash, but, your photos will look MUCH, MUCH better if you can bounce a flash onto a wall or use off-camera flash.
- you need an electronic flash (“strobe or “speedlight”) with low sync voltage (not the really old flashes as a high sync voltage can damage your camera’s digital circuits), with lots of light output (eg. guide number 45m or more at ISO 100), the ability to adjust the manual output by at least a few stops (eg. full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and it would be nice to get down to 1/64th output), it does NOT have to have TTL-compatibility with your camera, although this is nice for when you wish to use it on-camera or with a TTL off-camera cord (note the Canon TTL cord will double as an Olympus TTL cord). See here for more on flash guns and their technology.
- at least two Universal Translator units to allow use of cheap 1/8″-to-1/8″ mono audio cables to act as PC sync cables – one unit connects to hotshoe of camera (or via PC sync cable to the PC sync outlet), while the other unit connects to your off-camera flash (either via it’s hotshoe, or via a PC sync cable).
- if you have the money, the Pocket Wizard Plus II radio wireless flash triggers are well worth the expense if you plan to do off-camera flash regularly more than 3m or so from the camera – if you cannot afford these, there are cheaper alternatives. For those with Canon dSLR’s who want to do off-camera TTL flash or use a higher flash sync, then the newer Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 system may be the answer.
- if you will find yourself in situations where you cannot bounce your flash off a neutral wall or ceiling, you may wish to consider a flash umbrella or umbrella softbox such as a Westcott Apollo with an umbrella bracket, or a Lastolite EZYBox softbox kit. This can be hand held by an assistant or mounted upon a light stand.
- you need a tripod for super-telephoto lenses, long exposures such as dusk, night, waterfall shots with ND filters or infrared photography, HDR or stitched panorama, and preferably should be used for macrophotography and video work.
- the bigger the camera and lens, the bigger the tripod and tripod head you need – see here for more on tripods.
- one of the beauties of the compact, light Micro Four Thirds camera system is that you can get away with smaller, lighter, cheaper tripods which can be hidden inside a normal back pack.
- digital cameras generally do well with natural lighting but even the best have trouble with artificial lighting.
- there are many accessories to help – a simple neutral white or grey card for which you can create a custom white balance setting on your camera is very useful. You can even take a photo in RAW of this card and then use the same settings in RAW conversion for the remainder of your photos.
- inaccurate white balance can seriously adversely impact your images – take the little extra time to get it right.
- protective filter (or “UV” filter) – remove this when taking photos into light sources to minimise flare.
- circular polarising filter – essential for forests, etc to bring out nicely saturated greens in leaves, etc.
- ND8 filter – to allow longer exposures for waterfalls, streams, etc, and to allow wider apertures for portraits in full sun.
- rectangular half gradient filters with mount (eg. Cokin) – to bring out details in clouds or at sunsets / sunrise.
- infrared filter – such as Hoya R72 for infrared photography
- see here for more information.
Photo back packs or carry bags: