Fall and winter can be great seasons to discover or rediscover photography, and there are great camera accessories to do just that. Photographers love new gear, especially when it makes their job easier, or inspires a creative idea. The good news is there are plenty of good options to consider for the photographer in your life.
Good camera bags are great for those with an appreciation for keeping equipment safe. Not just safe, but also accessible, which is the key to making a bag so helpful in the field. The bag doesn’t have to be big—it usually depends on how much gear you’re taking with you. For instance, if you just need your camera, one lens, extra battery, and a backup memory card or two, a nimble bag could handle them all with relatively free access.
Lowepro makes several bags fitting both smaller and larger needs. Some are shoulder bags, others backpack-style designs, with zippers and pockets located in the right places. Other brands make camera cases with shoulder straps or small handles when you need to store your camera or take it with you on a quick shoot.
For tougher protection, Pelican makes hard cases with foam inside that can keep your camera safe during transit, be it on a trip or from the elements. They’re not going to be as easy to carry because you only have a handle to carry it rather than a strap across your shoulder.
A tripod is possibly the first accessory that comes to mind for any photographer. Reason being, it can change how you shoot, what you shoot, and when you shoot it. Take long exposures, for instance, where capturing scenes at night are so much easier when you can mount a camera on a tripod. Same goes when trying to capture a vista with a sunset or a subject from a different angle, be it looking up from a lower vantage point, or down from a higher one. For shorter tripods, you may want to look at the Joby GorillaPod as an option.
Group photos are easier with a tripod, and you may also want to use one when taking family photos. Time lapse and panoramic shots are so much simpler with a mounted camera. Even video can work that way. Think about the times you need to shoot an interview or capture yourself speaking in front of the camera.
If a tripod is a little too bulky or cumbersome to carry or shoot with, you could always consider a monopod instead. Monopods follow the same concept, only instead of three legs, they only have one, meaning you have to keep your hands on the camera at all times. They’re great for reducing fatigue, especially when shooting action, like sports or wildlife. Watch sporting events or documentaries, and you’ll see monopods in action. Content creators online make use of them, too.
When you think of lighting, you may think of a flash, but photographers now have more sophisticated tools to deploy. LED lights are small and easy to carry along with your camera. You can mount them on your camera or even on a tripod to point them at a subject from whichever angle you prefer. Some even change colour, and may work with apps on your smartphone for greater control, like the kind Aputure makes, for example.
Creative types may also really enjoy trying out domes and diffusers for studio photos. They are great for illuminating people or objects, helping you shoot bright or dramatic images. These setups also apply when shooting video, adding a professional flair to the footage you capture.
Flash photography is also a cool way to reach new potential in producing quality images. Flashes now often work with wireless receivers attached to your camera. Shoot from one angle, while the flash goes off from another.
A memory card may not appear to be a flashy or stylish gift, but ask any photographer, and they’ll get excited about a new card they could use. Memory cards come in different storage sizes and speeds, both of which can impact how to take photos. For instance, taking photos while travelling may require a card with more storage because you can easily go through hundreds of shots on a trip. Speed is more important when shooting action, like sports and active children, to make it easier to get a burst of shots.
The most common cards are SD and microSD. SDHC refers to “high capacity” and SDXC is “extended capacity”. Photographers who shoot in RAW like larger cards because RAW images are larger in size. You’ll note cards also show a speed rating, like 90/MB, or even “I” or “II” to indicate status. The higher the number, the faster the speed. Keep these numbers in mind when you decide which card is best for the photographer in your life. If you take a look at the cards they use, you’ll also get clues into what they like to use.
You won’t need a microphone for still photos, but for video, a good one is a must. With today’s cameras more than capable of shooting high-quality footage, capturing clearer audio is another story. The internal mics on these cameras aren’t good enough to do the job, and that’s where an external mic comes in.
To experiment with any form of videography, especially filmmaking or content creation, good sound is incredibly important. Sometimes, the sound tells more of the story than the picture does. Viewers notice bad audio, and the best way to fix that is to either use an external mic mounted on the camera or a lavalier mic that clips onto a subject’s clothing. A camera needs to have a hotshoe or microphone jack for these to work, so as long as either one (or both would be great) is available, these mics are good to go.
Why not a printer? If the photographer in your life likes to make people happy or smile and share their craft with others, printing images is one way to do that. Printing doesn’t come naturally these days, given how easy it is to just share images online, but the permanence of a print has a more nostalgic element to it.
Photo printers are small and portable enough to take with you. They’re also wireless, able to connect to smartphones without any cables. That way, you can print photos you’ve taken from the phone, or transfer images from a camera to the phone and then over to the printer. Whichever process the photographer chooses, these printers could be a great way to do something fun.
Hopefully, this helps you kickstart your shopping options for the photographer you have in mind. For more ideas, check out the latest cameras and camera accessories available now.