Photos of your family and children can be some of the most rewarding and timeless. But capturing great photos of children isn’t easy. For one thing, kids move a lot, so you need to be set up to get photos relatively quickly. For another, natural skin tones and facial expressions make for the best family photos, and capturing those requires the right lighting. These three accessories – DSLR Tripods, lighting kits including a photography backdrop, and filters – are some of the best tools to improve your chances of capturing great family and kid photos.

1. A portable DSLR tripod and remote shutter tool

You don’t always want a tripod-mounted shout, but if you aren’t trying to relax and stay part of the action as you shoot, the ability to set up a stable shot quickly is useful. Combined with a remote shutter release so you can set up the shot and be part of the photo yourself without relying on a frustrating timer, this flexible setup enables you to switch between photography styles, and of course gives you the option for a crisp shot when you have slower shutter speed requirements.

2. A portable flash and lighting kit

Shooting outside can be very easy if you time it right. But when you have to deal with long shadows, harsh contrast, or a mix of natural and artificial light while shooting indoor, a hot shoe or handheld flash can work wonders. It isn’t as good as studio lighting on a stand, but it’ll give you some control.

You may also need to use a bounce card. Something as simple as a white square of plastic in the right spot to soften shadows is enough and can make a huge difference. Of course, too much gear makes you immobile and slow, which is not the best way to catch your kids in action. That’s why you just want a small, simple lighting kit and portable flash. You may have to practice to figure out how to use the bounce card most effectively and conveniently, and it might be a tool you can only use with the help of another adult, but it will dramatically increase the range of lighting environments in which you can capture great photos.

3. A graduated ND filter and polarizing filter

Filters make everything better. Neutral density (ND) filters provide a unique effect that is worth the price tag for a graduated model. At the top of the frame the cut out the most light, and the filter decreases in strength down the frame. This is great for outdoors photography where you want the sky and natural light n frame but don’t want to deal with the extra brightness that washes out shots and mutes colors. A graduated filter is easy to adjust on the fly to create the right exposure quickly so you can focus on your children and getting the shot instead of playing with settings. A polarizing filter cuts out flare, making colors pop so sky blues and skin tones seem almost supercharged.

These tools, starting with a DSLR tripod, make it easier to shoot better photos and to set up to do so quickly. When you’re shooting child and family photos, sometimes you only have a moment to get the right settings, and this gear helps make that process faster and more effective.