I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly excited about the direction that photography is headed.
We're seeing more innovation than ever in cameras, lenses, and other photography gear, which gives us more power to create epic photos.
Post-processing programs are evolving into highly powerful editing suites that allow us to take our photography to the next level more quickly and efficiently.
We're even seeing changes in how we buy and sell photography equipment, share our photos, and market our businesses.
It's exciting times, for sure!
Here's some of the top businesses in the photography industry that are leading the charge in innovating the artform we love so much.
Sew Trendy Fashion & Accessories
Sew Trendy started humbly in a basement just a few years ago.
Today, it's one of the premier wardrobe manufacturers for maternity photography, girls' photography, and newborn photography.
Their success in growing their business is attributable to many different factors, not the least of which that they constantly develop new designs for their line of maternity gowns, girls dresses, and newborn clothing, so photographers have fresh looks to offer their clients.
And in an age in which customer service is often lacking, Sew Trendy certainly bucks the trend. They're with you every step of the way, ready, willing, and able to help you with any questions or concerns you might have.
Valerie Best, the company's Founder and CEO has a lot to do with the success of her company as well.
She's committed to quality, and that shows in every handmade garment that leaves her company's warehouse.
Over the years, Sirui has built a reputation for manufacturing some of the best photography tripods on the market.
I can attest to the quality of their tripods, as I own one!
But Sirui is much more than a tripod company...
They supply photographers the world over with high-quality gear that ranges from monopods to tripod heads, camera bags to lens filters, and even photography accessories for your mobile phone.
As if that's not enough, Sirui also offers a complete line of humidity cabinets, broadcast tripods, and various quick release plates, too.
In other words, Sirui is a one-stop shop for just about all your photography needs, and is definitely a company to keep your eye on in 2018.
When talking about innovative photography companies that are sure to turn the photography world on its head in 2018, CaptureLife should immediately come to mind.
If you're not familiar with CaptureLife, check this out...
This app allows you to share photos with your clients right on their smartphone.
That means you can streamline how you get photos to clients as well as make it a more personalized process - the images are delivered via a branded text message that's personalized to the client.
On top of that, CaptureLife is a sales platform that allows your clients to order prints right from their phone. They can also share their photos with friends and family, which increases your sales footprint.
Mobile is the future, and if you're in the photography business, you need to capitalize on that by teaming up with CaptureLife!
One of the challenges of staying relevant in the photography industry is keeping your ear to the pulse of what photographers need.
Click Props does just that.
With a huge collection of gorgeous portrait backgrounds, Click Props gives photographers the ability to create more impactful portraits no matter who the subject might be.
Aside from their commitment to crafting the best backgrounds in the business, Click Props understands the practical needs of photographers as well.
They offer backgrounds in various sizes, each of which is easy to setup and takedown. They're even easy to clean and easy to store, too.
That means you spend less time messing around getting things setup and stored away, and more time actually taking photos.
What's not to like about that?
Another company that's sure to make waves in 2018 is Vanguard.
I've been a fan of Vanguard for years now, and I can tell you firsthand that in the last couple of years, they've really stepped up their game with their product line.
In particular, their tripods and camera bags are among the best in the business, not just because they have innovative features that make photography easier and more efficient, but because their products are budget-friendly as well.
That means that Vanguard has figured out a way to offer photographers the best of both worlds - high-value, well-made products that won't break the bank.
Vanguard is at the tip of the spear of innovation in photography. If you aren't excited to see what they come up with in 2018, you should be!
Photography isn't just about the gear you use, nor is it just about your skills in composition, framing, post-processing and the like.
Instead, the process of creating an image isn't truly complete until you have a gorgeous print. That's where Artbeat Studios comes in.
I came across Artbeat Studios last year, and after touring their facility, I was blown away by their process and the products they make.
Among their best sellers are their acrylic and metal HD prints, the latter of which you can see in the photo above.
To say that Artbeat's prints are gorgeous is an understatement. What they produce is truly fine art.
That's because they're committed to using archival materials, paying close attention to color fidelity, and providing custom services so you get the exact print you want.
If you're looking to revolutionize the way your photos look, give Artbeat Studios a try!
One of the best things about the photography industry is that there are so many companies doing so many awesome things for photographers.
In 2018, I strongly suggest that you change the way you market your photography business by partnering with Uniregistry.
These guys have two domains - .pics and .photo - that will help you get more eyes on your photos and more clients knocking on your door.
It's simple - Uniregistry's domains are photography specific, so you can promote your work on your website with a professional and credible domain name.
Not only do .pics and .photo domains tell the world exactly what you do right there in the URL, but they're fresh and new, so the chances of you getting the exact name you want are much greater.
It's just a better way to market yourself on today's crowded internet!
Let's face it...
Photography gear can be expensive, and all that expense is cost-prohibitive if you're on a budget.
But MPB has changed the way that photographers buy gear because they've created an extensive marketplace where you can find high-quality pre-owned gear for excellent prices.
Not only that, you can sell your old gear to MPB and either pocket the money or get a credit toward the purchase of something on their site.
That means you can refresh your kit from time to time by getting rid of what you no longer want or need and replace it with well-priced, pre-owned gear for less.
Stretch your budget. Get more gear for less. Get better gear for less, too. Not bad, right?
Not that long ago, there was a lack of photography gear specially designed for female photographers.
But in 2010, that all changed when SHUTTERbag was founded.
SHUTTERbag specializes in crafting leather camera bags for women that are beautiful and functional, too.
This commitment to quality is evident in every SHUTTERbag model.
For mom photographers on the go, SHUTTERbag offers the Girls Day Out bag (shown top left, above).
This ingenious camera bag has three separate compartments - one for your camera gear and two zippered compartments for things like a tablet for business tasks and books, toys, diapers and other items for your kids.
Like all SHUTTERbag models, the Girls Day Out is the height of form and function.
It’s an ideal size for daily use, and with its built-in organizational aids, you can keep your photography stuff separate from your personal items with ease.
That means you can grab your camera, your phone or a diaper at a moment’s notice.
Now that’s how you get more production out of your day!
SHUTTERbag’s Trailblazer bag (shown top right, above) is another example of commitment to innovation.
This bag has a unique style and flair that make a strong fashion statement, but don’t think that this bag is just about looking good…
Inside, you’ll find room for a camera body and up to four lenses. Alternatively, you can carry two camera bodies and three lenses. There’s even a spot for your tablet or laptop!
With padded dividers that are removable and adjustable, you can truly customize this bag to suit your specific needs.
For mid-range carrying capacity, SHUTTERbag designed the Heirloom 5-in-1 bag (shown bottom left, above).
Not only can this bag accommodate a camera, three lenses, and up to a 15-inch laptop, but it can also be carried in a variety of ways - as a tote bag, a messenger bag, a shoulder bag or even as a backpack.
Talk about innovation!
Their Journey bag (shown bottom right, above) is a tote bag that’s made of genuine leather and features a breathable cotton lining that provides a soft surface for your gear inside the bag.
The Journey has a detachable strap that has a slip-resistant shoulder pad that gives you confidence when carrying your bag either over the shoulder or across your body.
The bag can easily accommodate a camera with a 70-200mm lens attached, as well as a laptop, a tablet, camera accessories, and personal items like your checkbook and smartphone as well.
And as if their bags aren’t enough to impress, consider this - SHUTTERbag is a small business, so they treat their customers like family.
That means that you not only get to choose from a wide array of incredible camera bags, but you know that you’ll get the service you deserve before, during, and after the sale, too.
When you think of photo albums, you might think that they're all the same or that there's not much room for improvement.
But you'd be wrong.
nPhoto has proven that by becoming one of the top producers of photo albums and other products in the world.
Their handcrafted albums, triplexes, photo boxes, and other products are second-to-none in the industry.
nPhoto uses the best materials to construct their products, from fine textiles and leatherettes for their album covers to silk and metallic papers that give each page of their albums a hefty, crisp, and expensive feel.
What's more, nPhoto gives you plentiful options for customizing their albums, so you can get something that's truly your own or tailored to your clients' specific tastes.
Taking great photos is only half the battle - how you present them matters, too. If you work with nPhoto, you'll certainly have the presentation aspect of it down pat.
The MS20PRO 20”x20”x12” tabletop photo studio by MyStudio is an ideal accessory to help you take your product photography to the next level.
Unlike many other tabletop studios, this one offers a seamless cyclorama infinity background with 90-degree corners that gives you many more shooting angles to highlight the products that you’re photographing.
The studio comes with dual 5000k color-corrected daylight fluorescent lamps, which offer tons of light for your images while providing excellent color as well.
MyStudio also includes 9”x12” white and black bounce/fill cards with easel stands to create nice, even lighting, and a pair of 9.5”x11.5” white and black reflective acrylic panels to create beautiful reflections beneath the products you photograph.
The folks at MyStudio have even produced a series of instructional videos that are available on their YouTube page to get you going with your new photo studio!
I only became familiar with MrStarGuy in the latter half of last year, but they quickly became one of my favorite photography companies.
For starters, MrStarGuy is an authority on astrophotography gear - no matter what you need, whether it's a scope, a mount, a tripod, or something in between, MrStarGuy has what you need.
Secondly, these guys offer their high-quality products for prices that you can actually afford. You get tons of bang for your buck, which isn't always the case in photography.
But maybe most importantly, this family-owned business is committed to service before, during, and after the sale.
They're genuine folks that want their customers to feel like old friends.
If you're excited to expand your photography horizons this year and tackle some night sky photography, be sure to visit MrStarGuy to get all the gear you need.
When I think about where photography is headed in the future, I can't help but think of drone photography.
And when I think of drones, DJI comes to mind.
DJI has some of the very best drones in the business. That's true whether you're a beginner drone photographer or an experienced veteran.
What makes DJI's drones so great is that they're packed with features - like collision avoidance systems and gesture-based flight controls.
Additionally, there are a plethora of options, upgrades, and add-ons that you can use to customize your drone to get the ideal flying and photographic experience.
As drones become more and more popular for photography, you can bet that DJI will be leading the charge in innovating how drones are built and how they perform.
Macphun has been around awhile, and they've developed a reputation as one of the best in the software business.
As they rebrand and become Skylum, it's important to note that this small team of software experts continues to make waves in the photography industry.
In fact, they've won tons of awards over the years for their products, most recently for their impeccable Aurora HDR 2018, which was named by Apple as the app of the year for 2017.
Considering how many apps there are these days, that's quite the achievement!
Speaking of achievements, with Macphun's software, like the aforementioned Aurora HDR, as well as their Luminar 2018, you can achieve great things with your images.
Not only that, but you can create better-looking photos in less time and with less effort, all within platforms that are smartly designed and give you an effortless workflow.
My goal this year is to do a better job of processing my images, and with Macphun by my side, I have no doubt that I will achieve that goal.
Have you ever wanted a new lens but just couldn't bring yourself to shell out the kind of money needed to get truly high-quality glass?
Well, that worry is over now that Lensfinder is on the scene.
Lensfinder is a marketplace where - you guessed it - you can find lenses for great prices.
If you're looking for a rare or high-end lens (or everyday lenses, for that matter), you can use Lensfinder's easy search tools to locate what you need.
Then, you can communicate with the seller, ask questions, and even pay for your new-to-you lens via PayPal, right there within Lensfinder.
You can also sell the lenses you no longer want, too, so it's the best of both worlds.
Lensfinder has built-in fraud protections, seller feedback ratings, and other smart tools that help make your transaction as smooth as possible.
If you want to upgrade your kit this year, check out Lensfinder!
My biggest complaint about cameras is the terrible strap that comes with them at purchase.
The OEM straps are thin, uncomfortable, and just plain get in the way when you're trying to take photos.
That's why Spider Holster is such a game-changer, because they're responsible for getting your camera off your shoulders and onto your hips where you can carry your cameras with greater ease and security.
Just looking at the photo above, you can imagine how much more streamlined your workflow would be if you're using a Spider Holster.
You can carry one camera or two using the Spider Pro (for big DSLRs) or the SpiderLight (for compact, mirrorless, or small DSLR cameras).
They even make hand straps that put your camera right in your hand in the ideal shooting position, all without a long strap always getting in your way.
Spider Holster has revolutionized how to carry cameras. In 2018, I strongly recommend that you let Spider Holster revolutionize the way you work.
When many people hear the word "insurance," they cringe.
But who can blame them? Buying insurance has historically been a process that's time-consuming and frustrating.
Next Insurance has changed how photographers purchase insurance because they've cut out the middleman.
Instead of dealing with a broker, you can visit Next Insurance's website, get a free quote, and get the coverage you need faster and for less money.
By cutting costs, Next Insurance is able to pass those savings on to their customers, so you can get the best coverage without breaking the bank.
From equipment protection to liability for damages to advertising claims, Next Insurance has policies and coverages that will ensure your business will prosper for years to come.
Canvas is one of the oldest mediums that artists use for their work.
But, boy, is it still a gorgeous way to print your photos!
That's especially true if you order canvas prints from CanvasHQ.
Like many of the companies on this list, CanvasHQ demonstrates a commitment to crafting the highest-quality products using the finest materials.
And because of that, their canvases look like a million bucks. I should know - I have several in my house!
CanvasHQ gives you a mountain of options to customize your prints, and each print comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
These guys are a small family business, so when you order your canvas, you'll feel like a member of the family, not just another customer.
If that's not enough to convince you to buy from CanvasHQ, I don't know what will!
If filmmaking is your passion, then you need to see what Syrp has to offer in 2018.
As one of the most innovative companies in the photography industry, Syrp is always at the leading edge of what's new for filmmakers.
Their line of products helps videographers of all skill levels and experience to create breathtaking films.
Their Genie Mini motion control device (shown above) - which gives you control over your camera to create time-lapse videos using your cell phone - is just one of their incredible products.
They also have sliders, filters, ball heads, motion control bundles, and much more, so you can get outfitted for filmmaking quickly and without spending a ton of money, either.
Never before has making time-lapses and real-time videos been so easy!
I fully admit that I've been an Apple enthusiast for quite some time.
However, my love affair with Apple has waned in the last few years, and that's thanks to Microsoft.
Even though it's a household name and one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft still approaches the process of creating products the same way - with the end-user in mind.
In particular, their Surface line of products is especially impressive for photographers because they have technologies that make the daily grind of business easier and make things like post-processing a more efficient process as well.
With touch-enabled screens, innovative tools like the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, and machines that are stocked with technology that makes them faster, more efficient, and with more battery life, there's a lot to love about what Microsoft is doing with the Surface product line.
If you want to maximize your workflow, consider seeing what Microsoft can do for you.
Sometimes, being innovative means helping bring the past into the present.
That’s precisely what Wolverine Data does.
Their new Wolverine 8mm & Super8 Reels to Digital MovieMaker is a fully automated gadget that digitizes all those old 3, 5, 7 and 9-inch film reels into high-quality movies at 1080p.
It’s a standalone machine that handles the frame-by-frame conversion without the need for software or drivers, or even a computer. The film scans directly to the machine where it’s saved to a SD/SDHC card (not included). The entire process requires just a few steps to complete.
The resulting movies are compatible with all Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, and you can playback the digitized movies directly to a TV with the included TV cable.
If you don’t have tons of old film reels collecting dust on a shelf in your house, I’m willing to bet you know someone that does...
Instead of letting those films degrade and take family memories along with them, this year, use Wolverine Data’s innovative new movie maker to convert your films to digital before those memories are lost forever!
This company is so impressive, I decided to put them on this list twice!
If you photograph products that are bigger than what the MyStudio MS20PRO can accommodate, the MyStudio US31 tabletop photo studio is the perfect choice.
Measuring 31”x19”x16”, it gives you plenty of room to maneuver your products, and true to form, MyStudio has ensured that from every angle, your images benefit from a gorgeous infinity background.
This tabletop studio features two color corrected, 5000K ultra bright LED lights that bathe the studio (and your products) in bright, clean, even light. These lamps are so bright, in fact, that you don’t need any additional lighting whatsoever. Just set up the studio, place your products inside, and you’re ready to go!
You can see just how clean and even the lighting is in the sample photo I took of my camera gear and bag.
I took that image when I was at Photo Plus 2017. I had the pleasure of seeing the folks from MyStudio while I was there, and managed to closely inspect the craftsmanship and materials used in their US31 studio.
They clearly took no shortcuts in the quality of materials used or in the build quality. The design allows for even distribution of light, and quick set up. In short, I was more than impressed with the US31 Studio!
One of the downers about taking photos is that eventually you run out of room to display them.
But the Joy Smart Photo Album takes care of that issue...
It's not your everyday digital photo album, either. Instead, Joy is a storytelling device that allows you to connect with your friends, family, and loved ones because it has voice notes that allow you to narrate each photo memory. You can even conduct voice calls between two Joy devices and share a screen so you can share memories together with loved ones that are far away.
The great thing about Joy is that it doesn't have to remain on the shelf or table - you can take it with you to the couch to enjoy up-close.
And when you aren't enjoying the photo album in your lap, it has a wireless charging stand that charges its batteries and displays your photos in slideshow mode.
Joy has a companion mobile and web app that allows you to load new albums and even invite friends and family to add their photos for display. You can easily pull photos from social media as well.
And with a 13.3-inch full HD display, your photos will look beautiful, too!
One of the hallmarks of a great photo is attention to detail - ensuring that each aspect of the image is perfect.
Well, that sentiment holds true for photography gear, and there's no one better at the details than Holdfast.
These guys make some of the most incredible camera bags I've ever seen. And that's saying a lot because I've owned plenty of great bags over the years.
But what sets Holdfast apart is that attention to detail I mentioned, as well as the amazing materials they use to craft their bags and other products.
We're talking about bridle leather, water buffalo leather, American bison leather, and even python skin.
On top of that, Holdfast's products are smartly designed so you can carry more gear, more efficiently, all while keeping each piece of kit safe and secure.
If you're looking to upgrade your camera bag in 2018, look no further than Holdfast.
When you talk about companies that have revolutionized how you take photos, Alpine Labs has to be in the conversation...
Their Pulse camera remote - and now their new Spark camera remote - have made taking great still photos, time lapse videos, long exposures, and real-time videos much easier and more accessible to even novice photographers.
These gadgets are packed full of powerful software and hardware that literally make it possible for you to create a time lapse video with just a few presses and swipes on your mobile phone.
Creating long exposures is equally as easy.
But don't think that because Alpine Labs has made things easy that their products are somehow cut-rate.
These are the best camera remotes on the market, and Alpine Labs is constantly making them better. That just makes me wonder what they have in store for us in 2018!