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Outdoor Photography - What You Need to Capture Great Photos

written by: digitaldan1•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/18/2009

Outdoor photographers know packing the right gear can be the difference between getting the shot and missing it since running back home for a forgotten lens or accessory really isn't always possible on a shoot.

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    A list of equipment for outdoor photography should be pretty varied since "outdoor" photography includes a wide range of photographic areas and interests. This list is broken down into different types of equipment and offers some insight into each piece of gear's uses.

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    List of Equipment for Outdoor Photography


    DSLR camera and backup or point-and-shoot and backup (should always have a backup in case of equipment failure)


    • extreme wide angle zoom or lens (landscapes, unusual perspective images) 12-24mm
    • wide angle lens or zoom (landscapes) 20-35mm
    • telephoto lens or zoom (tight compositions, wildlife) 70-200/300mm and/or 400mm
    • teleconverters (extend the reach of long lens for wildlife) 1.5x, 2x
    • macro lens, diopters or extension tubes (insects, plants other macrophotography)

    Weather gear

    • camera rain coat (bad weather)
    • rain gear for photographer (bad weather)
    • ground tarp (laying on the ground for bug's eye view, emergency shelter)
    • rope (for using tarp as a tent or lean to)
    • chemical heat packs
    • cold weather clothing


    • ball head or some other type of tripod head depending on your preference
    • cable release tripod (long exposures, moving water)
    • plamp (keeping plants steady)

    Gear for carrying equipment

    • backpack (carrying gear)
    • chest pouch (easy access to main camera and lens so you don't have to remove backpack every time you want to take a shot)
    • belt pouch system (can carry additional lenses and a water bottle for easy access)


    • polarizing filter (clean up reflections, add contrast)
    • GNDs and NDs (light control)
    • intensifier (intensifies specific colors)


    • flash unit(s)
    • better beamer or other flash extender (increases the range of the flash unit)
    • collapsible 5 in 1 reflector (light control, plus can be used as a background for small plants and objects)

    Misc. gear

    • GPS system, Eyefi wifi or geotagging system
    • extra batteries (camera, flash, gps)
    • field guide as appropriate
    • Trekking poles or hiking staff

    Emergency gear

    • energy bars
    • water
    • water purification tablets or purification system
    • satellite phone
    • signal mirror