Premium Documentary Project | Module 4 – The essential accessories you may need

Hello everyone! As usual, please make sure you have read the previous modules before starting this one. In this module, I will talk about accessories, the ones I use and why. We often give more importance to the camera and lenses, but believe me when I say that a careful choice of accessories can make all the difference in successfully completing a photographic project. I will start by saying exactly the same thing I said about the cameras and lenses: as few as possible but as many as needed. So, one by one, let’s now start describing the essential accessories you may need:

  • Bag: I’ve been using just small and medium-size messenger bags. I prefer these over the backpacks, because they allow instant access to cameras, wallet, mobile phone, notebook and pen, passport, power-bank, and many other essential items, doing it on the go, without having to stop and take it off, as it would be necessary with a backpack. Also because I use them as my daily bag to carry what I need besides the photo equipment. If you already have a backpack, or if you don’t but you prefer that format, it will also suit perfectly. It’s essentially a matter of personal preference.

The Benro Smart 30 shoulder bag I’ve been using over the past few years.

  • Camera straps: Some like to use them, some don’t. This is also a personal choice. I find them useful when shooting with two cameras in order to have one hanging on the shoulder while using the other, making the switching operation very fast and easy. You will probably agree with me when I say that the straps that Fujifilm ships with their cameras are awful, made with the cheapest fake leather they could find. If you will walk for hours every day with the camera on your shoulder is better that your strap: 1) Is comfortable and do not make you put the camera back in the bag after 15 minutes of use. 2) Is durable and sturdy, even if someone tries to steal the camera, the strap should withstand the initial pull. For over 1 year I have been using the Simplr straps that I highly recommend. Lightweight, durable and very, very sturdy.

Simplr M1a camera strap.
Simplr F1 camera strap.

  • Spare batteries: Depending on how long I will be away from a power source, I carry between 2 and 6 spare batteries. I don’t like the vertical power grips as they add too much bulkiness to the camera. I’d rather carry a couple of batteries inside the bag. They’re small and weight near to nothing. But if you have the power grip and feel comfortable with it, please do use it. The important here is to perceive how long we will be away from a power source and estimate how many batteries we will need. You should bring all those, plus one more. The last thing you will want is to be shooting something extraordinary and unrepeatable and suddenly run out of batteries.
  • Memory cards: To begin with, my first advice is that we should avoid overshooting a scene. It’s better to think carefully and capture 2 to 3 images instead of shooting in continuous mode hoping to get one good picture. Still, it’s always good to have several spare memory cards. And I’ve learned it the hard way when I went to shoot a situation without any expectations and took only one card. It turned out to be an amazing event and I had to constantly check the photos in playback mode to choose which ones to erase from the card, ending the day shooting in jpeg only to save some space. As a side note, it’s not advisable to delete photos in-camera. If you wish to know a bit more, there are many explanations on the Internet. After making the backups to your hard drives, just format the card in-camera.


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Co-founder of the Fuji X Passion Project. Travel and documentary photographer from Portugal, using mirrorless cameras since 2012.