It's one thing to needlessly buy every photography gadget and accessory you can get your hands on...
It's another thing to invest in smart, high-quality accessories that actually have a noticeable impact on the way you work and the quality of your images and videos.
I like to consider myself in the latter category - a savvy photographer (most of the time!) that's always looking for ways to improve.
I was thinking the other day about what items in my personal kit have had the biggest impact. Then I thought about the three camera accessories I'd put at the top of my list as being the most helpful. Here's that list.
A Better Camera Strap
For me, the camera strap you use is one of the most important - and underrated - photography accessories.
Think about it...
You can keep using the strap that came with your camera and be uncomfortable all day as it cuts into your shoulder and slides around, or you can upgrade to something better that fits like a glove, is lightweight, and is easy to use.
When I invested in a new camera strap I chose the Piuma QR from 4V Design.
Let me start by saying that upon first look and feel, I was absolutely floored by how beautiful this thing is.
Now, I know aesthetics isn't necessarily a big deal when it comes to a camera strap, but it doesn't hurt, either.
The Piuma QR has a quick release attachment, which allows me to attach it and remove it from my camera without any fuss.
It's also got a unique, contoured design that makes it conform to your neck or shoulder. And speaking of necks and shoulders, the Piuma QR has two separate length adjustments so I can cinch it up for use as a neck strap or give it a little more length to sling across my shoulder and chest.
When it comes to comfort, this thing is the most comfortable strap I've ever owned.
It's got a memory foam pad that makes it feel as though I'm barely carrying any weight. And the High-Grip Technology of this strap means it stays put on my shoulder or neck, making it a safe and comfortable way to carry my gear.
The Piuma QR looks good, feels good, is highly versatile, and durable. What's not to like?
Though all cameras come with some manner or sort of eyecup, most of them are terrible, uncomfortable, and don't seal out ambient light.
In other words, they don't work...
The whole point of putting your eye to the camera's viewfinder is so you can see what you're shooting. It's tough to do that if there isn't a good seal between your eye and the eyecup.
That's why I upgraded my eyecup to a Hoodman HoodEYE.
Not unlike the Piuma QR camera strap, the Hoodman HoodEYE is comfortable and easy to install.
All you do is pop the old eyecup off your camera, slide the Hoodman on in its place, and lock it down.
Once you do that, you have an accessory that allows you to actually focus on the shot by sealing out all ambient light.
What's more, the Hoodman is made of hypoallergenic silicon rubber, so it's super comfortable and conforms to the shape of your brow, nose, and cheek.
With one of these guys on your camera, you won't ever have to worry about getting a good view of the scene before you again. And you know what that means, right? Better photos!
A Better Microphone
I might age myself here, but I remember using those VHS camcorders in the 80s that you had to hold up on your shoulder.
Looking back on it, those videos were terrible quality. But the audio was even worse.
Those little built-in mics couldn't pick up anything, so the sound was always garbled.
Fast-forward to today, and we can shoot 4K video with our DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It's quite an advancement.
Yet, the built-in microphones on today's DSLRs and mirrorless cameras still aren't up to snuff.
That's why I have a Sound Shark.
When it comes to making awesome videos, you can't just have great video footage. You need great audio too.
Sound Shark allows you to capture crystal clear sound, both up close and far away.
In fact, with Sound Shark, you get audio like your subject is wearing a mic - from up to six feet away. If you have a shotgun mic, put it to the test against Sound Shark. You'll discover (as I did) that the Sound Shark outperforms the shotgun mic, hands down.
The other feature I love about Sound Shark is that it's lightweight. Just mount it to your camera's hot-shoe, and you can get high-quality sound without lugging around a huge mic and boom.
It makes taking videos so much easier - and they're better quality, too!
Wrapping It Up
As I noted earlier, there's a mountain of camera accessories for photography and videography that promise all sorts of benefits to you.
And though there are plenty of accessories you might want or think you need, for me, the list is pretty small.
When it comes down to it, the accessories I've outlined above have made all the difference in the experience I have shooting photos and videos. The quality of each has improved too.
If you want to shoot in comfort with better results, I can't think of three more important accessories for photographers than a great camera strap, an upgraded eyecup, and a microphone for better videos.