The Coolest Studio and On-Location Photo Accessories and Backdrops

October 24, 2019

By Greg Scoblete


Editor’s Choice: DataColor SpyderX

The SpyderX boasts a redesigned color engine that Datacolor says provides significantly improved color accuracy and low-light performance. The unit takes under two minutes to calibrate your screen. You can compare before and after versions of your monitor to see the effect of the calibration and an integrated ambient light sensor tips you off to changes in room lighting that could impact your display. The Elite edition offers an unlimited number of calibration settings, support for video and cinema color targets, soft proofing for prints, projector calibration and a few more extras.

Price: $170 (SpyderX Pro), $270 (Elite)

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Photo Rockbar

This clever accessory helps you stabilize your tripod without having to dangle weight bags off of hooks on the center column. Instead, you can slip up to 7 pounds into the Rockbar pouch and cinch the pouch to a tripod leg securely via the wrap-around straps. Thanks to its thin profile, you can strap it to boom arms as well. 

Price: $45 

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X-Rite ColorChecker Passport 2.0 

This update to X-Rite’s ColorChecker Passport adds an extra target (for a total of four) plus a new 18 percent gray balance target that can be used with either a reflective hand-held light meter or in-camera meter for determining exposure. The included ColorChecker Camera Calibration software has been refreshed with new ICC and DNG camera profiles using either the classic or Digital SG color target. The software can create profiles for Capture One, Lightroom and Canon DPP software. It also includes a Lightroom plugin to build profiles directly in both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC.

Price: $119

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Pro Media Gear PLX3T

L brackets are useful for orienting your camera, but with more cameras incorporating flip-out displays, it’s harder to use a bracket while flipping the display. The PLX3T solves that problem. It’s a universal L-bracket paired with a pushed-forward, Arca-compatible plate. When it’s mounted, it leaves open access to your camera’s side ports. The unit also features a cold shoe that’s machined right into the top of the bracket for mounting accessories. 

Price: $130

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Pengo USB-C Dock

Until the wireless future we were promised actually materializes, we’ll have to content ourselves with a tangle of wires; fortunately, Pengo’s dock can consolidate it all. It features a built-in SD card reader, an HDMI and DisplayPort adapter, an Ethernet port, dual USB-A 3.1 (Gen 1) ports and a USB-C port. It connects to your PC or laptop via USB-C (3.1, Gen 1). 

Price: $200 

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Editor’s Choice: Savage Universal Backdrop Travel Kit

If your clients can’t make it to the studio, bring the studio to them. Savage’s Backdrop Travel Kit lets you carry a 5 x 7-foot backdrop to any portrait shoot. The kit includes a one-piece stand that folds out and locks into place, so you’re not fiddling with loose pieces. The included black background is made from a wrinkle-proof polyester and connects to the stand using hooks that pull it taut. A carrying case is also included. 

Price: $100

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Backdrop Outlet: Scenic Blue Holiday Snowing Window

Winter is coming. Place your subjects in front of this blustery backdrop to channel some of that frozen fun. The backdrop is sold in three different styles—a soft, platinum cloth, a heavyweight titanium cloth and a matte vinyl. Sizes range from 3 x 4 to 10 x 20 feet, depending on your fabric choice. Both the titanium and platinum backdrops are washer and dryer safe, while the vinyl matte can be wiped clean. 

Price: $54+ 

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FJ Westcott X-Drop Vintage Gray Backdrop by Glyn Dewis

A nice complement to Denny’s concrete floor drop, this seamless vintage gray backdrop is available in either a washable matte vinyl or a lightweight canvas. They’re available in 3.5 x 3.5- or 5 x 7-foot sizes and have grommets for mounting to Westcott’s lightweight X-Drop stand (sold separately). You can also use it as a floor drop. 

Price: $70+ 

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Denny Manufacturing Aged Concrete Floor Drop

Not every studio can naturally deliver the industrial grit you or your client may be looking for in a shoot, so Denny’s floor drop offers a simple alternative to renovation. The Aged Concrete floor is sold in three styles: roll-up, photo carpet or vinyl. The roll-up version is sold in sizes ranging from 4 x 5 to 10 x 12 feet and is printed on neoprene rubber with an anti-skid backing. If you opt for carpet, you’ll get a seamless floor drop with a skid-proof backing in sizes ranging from 4 x 5 to 10 x 10 feet. The vinyl version is also seamless and sold in 5 x 5- to 10 x 10-foot sizes. You’ll need to tape the vinyl drop to the floor for use.

Price: $72+

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