Photographers are renowned for their love of gear, gizmos and gadgets, and I know from personal experience how often I pass by a fellow photographer and feel the urge to find out what kind of camera they’re shooting with, what kind of lens, and how’s that camera bag working out? So today I’m going to indulge myself in a little fantasy shopping and pick out my top 5 accessories for any photographer.
I’ve written about the importance of a tripod here on the Best Buy blog, but the downside is that they are bulky and often quite heavy too. A monopod on the other hand, is much lighter and less cumbersome because it has just one leg instead of three. A monopod is also quicker and easier to set up and break down than a tripod. And in fact most shots that are taken from a tripod can be captured just as easily using a monopod. Monopods are also really useful for shooting video. I was working an event recently and I wanted to stabilize my camera to capture some footage with my telephoto lens, but I also wanted to get a few different angles in quick succession. My solution was to tuck my tripod legs in nice and tight, so that it essentially worked like a monopod! If I had an actual monopod with me it would have been a much more elegant solution.
Most new cameras come with a strap included, but they’re not usually the highest quality, or the most stylish. A new camera strap is actually a really affordable upgrade, and there are lots of great options here at BestBuy.ca. I prefer a functional strap over a stylish one, like the Peak Design Slide Camera Strap. It’s really easy to attach and remove, and you can also adjust the amount of slack really easily and fine tune it to the exact length you want in just a few seconds. A hack that I sometimes use when I shoot video is to brace the camera by pushing it away from my body creating tension on the strap around my neck. It actually works really well to stabilize the shot, although you wouldn’t want to do it all day or you might end up with a serious crick in your neck! Having a wide, comfortable strap like Tarion vintage camera strap can make it an altogether better experience though.
Heavy Duty Case
A heavy duty camera case has been on my wish list for a long time now. Whenever I travel I like to bring some equipment to shoot with, but traveling with camera gear is seriously stressful! I have a large camera backpack (a bit like this Lowepro Fastpack) that I’ve used in the past, but I often use a backpack for my other luggage. What I would really love to have is a Pelican case. Pelican cases have a hard and rigid exterior made from polypropylene and they are watertight and crushproof—absolutely ideal for travelling. Pelican cases come with a foam interior which you can fully customize to fit your particular equipment collection. A Pelican case is not necessarily the most efficient way to carry equipment however, as it doesn’t have all the handy straps, pockets and compartments that a regular bag might have—but it is guaranteed to keep your equipment safe!
Memory Card Reader
Ok, so a Pelican case looks cool, and screams rugged adventure in foreign places, but photographers have less glamorous and more everyday needs too. [I admit, this is kind of becoming my personal wish list.] Nowadays we are often working with multiple different memory card types, like a compact flash for your DSLR, an SD card for your point-and-shoot, and a micro SD card for your drone. All of which are a different shape and size. For the most part you can plug your camera or drone directly into your laptop or PC, but it’s nicer to have a dedicated card reader. I would recommend a high quality reader like the Verbatim Universal Card Reader which plugs straight into your computer and can accept any card type.
Gimbals are amazing gadgets that let you get super smooth video shots on the move. And if your goal is to create really eye-catching video, you definitely want to add some movement. It’s hard to do this without using something like a gimbal because the motion of your body as you walk or run creates an incredibly jarring and uncinematic effect. DJI has some really cool gimbals, including the affordable DJI Osmo Mobile. Things quickly get more expensive as you look at the options for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, like the Zhiyun Crane 2 Handheld Gimbal which can carry a payload of up to 3.2kg. In terms of bang for your buck however, it’s hard to overestimate the difference a gimbal can make to your shot.
Check out my recent article ‘How gimbals can change the way you shoot everything you do‘.
I hope I’ve given you some inspiration today, and if you have any questions feel free to post a comment!