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Sometimes it adapability more than the price of their equipment that sets the pros apart. Here are three tips on equipment many pros use that won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Instant flash diffuser. Sometimes you'll find yourself in a situation where you need a flash, but want softer light than direct flash provides. No problem. Here's a cheap pro fix: Angle your flash up 45 - 90 degrees and use a rubber band to attach an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of white paper around the sides and back of the flash head. The paper will bounce diffused light onto your subject, giving your photo a nice, soft look.
All-purpose "tripod." Carry a 6" - 8" square beanbag in your gadget bag. It turns almost any surface - flat or uneven - into a secure camera suport. Use your camera's self-timer or remote to trigger the shutter, thus preventing camera shake.
End cockeyed horizons. Most snapshooters wind up with horizon lines that aren't parallel with the top and bottom of their frame. The reason is that they're not holding their cameras quite level. You can fix this if your camera has a hot shoe. Several companies offer inexpensive bubble levels that mount in your camera's hot shoe. Using a tripod and the level, you can get straight horizons almost every time.