For those of us that love photography, it’s always fun seeing new products and services emerge that renew our passion for taking photos.
To think that not that long ago digital photography was a dream is a crazy thought.
Even more recently, it was unheard of to use my phone to take photos!
Like all technology-dependent industries, photography is rapidly changing with new and fantastic tools coming out seemingly every week.
In that spirit, I’ve put together a list of a dozen photography movers and shakers that are picking up a lot of buzz from photographers the world over and making a significant impact on the industry as we speak.
Have a look, and begin to imagine where these items can take your photography this year.
Hanging Branch got on my radar a few months ago, and it should be on your radar too.
Their gorgeously handcrafted products aren’t just beautifully made - they are also functional on several fronts.
Their engraved photo boxes are a wonderful vessel for delivering photos to clients that is sure to impress. After all, part of giving your clients the best possible experience is in how you deliver the final product.
Trust me, there’s no better way to deliver prints than in one of these things!
Beyond that, Hanging Branch’s products are ideal for marketing your photography business. Have your name, company name, or logo engraved on the front, and you’ve got a unique, eye-catching “billboard” wherever your clients choose to display their finely crafted photo box.
In that regard, it’s a gift that keeps on giving to both you and your clients! Build a larger client base with a gorgeous marketing tool and provide your clients with something that’s long-lasting and can be used over and over again.
Hanging Branch is all about using the best materials so you can put your best foot forward. If you ask me, they’ve achieved that goal!
Learn more about Hanging Branch.
Sirui already has a lot of name recognition for its line of tripods, monopods, and photo and video heads.
But the reason why Sirui makes my list of movers and shakers in the industry is because of their commitment to expanding their offerings to new and different types of photographers.
One of Sirui’s areas of expansion has been into the mobile photography space. Their smartphone lenses have given mobile photographers a new and improved way of capturing high-quality photos.
These lenses aren’t cheap plastic; they are made with German Schott optical glass for clarity. With a multi-layer anti-reflection coating, you get excellent light transmission without glare. Color rendition is on point, and with minimal vignetting and distortion, you can get clear, sharp images with your smartphone camera.
Unlike other smartphone lenses, the ones from Sirui feature all metal construction so you’re sure the lens will stand the test of time. Just like with traditional camera lenses, you want to get something that is built well and demonstrates excellent quality. With Sirui, that’s just what you get.
Learn more about Sirui.
When I think about new products that have transformed photography recently, my mind immediately goes to Alpine Labs Pulse.
Pulse is a camera remote on steroids.
This thing is small enough to fit in your pocket but has an incredible array of features that enables you to create masterful timelapse videos, traditional video footage, and stills, all with the ease of control from your smartphone.
Want to change exposure settings? No problem.
Need to set up for an HDR shot? You can do that too.
Plus, you get real-time image preview (and histograms!) as you work so you can be sure your camera is capturing the scene just how you want.
Better still, with just a few touches of your phone’s screen you can set up your camera to create breathtaking timelapse videos, all from up to 100 feet away via a Bluetooth connection. Get the holy grail of day-to-night timelapses as well with ramping features for perfectly adjusted exposures.
But it’s not just the incredible set of features the Pulse offers, it’s also the price. You might expect something like this to cost hundreds of dollars, but that’s just not the case. Get one for under $100 and watch your creativity blossom!
Learn more about Alpine Labs.
HandlePod isn’t a new product - it’s been around for a few years now.
BUT...this little gadget is a sleeper product and is starting to gain a lot of momentum in the photography community.
It’s simple: HandlePod solves a number of issues that can be detrimental to the quality of the photos you take. It’s a stabilization device, so if you’re shooting handheld photos or videos, it will help you keep your camera nice and still for sharper results.
It’s also just about the handiest tripod you’ll ever find...
Set it on its four rubber feet on a horizontal surface to use as the ideal tabletop tripod. Alternatively, you can hold it against a vertical surface to stabilize your camera and sharp, crisp images. Just press it against a tree trunk, fence post, and the like, and you’re ready to take the shot!
HandlePod also has an integrated elastic cord that allows you to lash it to a stationary object. Again, use a tree branch, fence post, or even your car’s exterior mirror, and you’ve got a solid setup for taking the shot. With smooth, 3-axis rotation, you can easily level your camera no matter the angle of the support. That means improved photos in just about any situation.
The best part, though, is that HandlePod fits in your pocket. Take it on long hikes or into museums where a full-sized tripod just won’t do. It’s a versatile little gadget that goes with me wherever I go!
Learn more about HandlePod.
The newest product on my list comes from the aptly named Lifeline.
Lifeline is a studio business management system that was devised by photographers, for photographers, that streamlines the processes of invoicing, scheduling, client tracking, and so forth, quickly, easily, and efficiently.
If that’s not enough reason to convince you these guys are movers and shakers in the industry, consider this:
Lifeline does much more than just help you create invoices and manage your client information. Lifeline also helps you keep track of prospects, handle orders, and manage your employees too. That means that you can shift your focus from those non-billable tasks that just seem to take up so much time onto what you’re in business to do - take photos!
The result of that is increased productivity, and what photographer doesn’t want that?
So many photographers are on their own, running their own business and working long hours to make ends meet. If ever there was a product that could take the industry by storm, I think this is it!
Learn more about Lifeline.
One of the great things about the photography industry is that it is so varied.
I mean, just look at this list and you’ll see companies that specialize in everything from protecting your images to making tripods.
Another innovative company I’d like to highlight specializes in the wardrobe aspect of photography, particularly for maternity and newborn photography.
Sew Trendy Accessories started with just a few fine folks and has continued to expand to offer its gorgeously-crafted gowns, crowns, and other props to customers worldwide.
What’s so great about Sew Trendy is that they strive to make items that don’t just look good, but make moms-to-be feel good as well.
But beyond that, Sew Trendy is a great partner for any maternity or newborn photographer because their gowns and other accessories will help make mom look like a million bucks.
That means that your clients can get outfitted for your shoots with the confidence knowing that they will look their best. And, when your clients look their best, you can create even more compelling photos that they will cherish for a lifetime.
Watch out for Sew Trendy Accessories in the coming years as they continue to take the maternity photography scene by storm!
Learn more about Sew Trendy Accessories.
Discovery Photo Tours
There’s a lot of excitement about Discovery Photo Tours in the photography community for a couple of very important reasons.
First, they don’t just take you to incredible destinations around the world to take a few pictures.
Instead, they immerse you in the local culture, exposing you to architecture, history, and food just to name a few. In that regard, the photography tour becomes a means of learning about the area so that you can create images that tell a stronger story.
Second, Discovery Photo Tours doesn’t just throw you to the wolves, so to speak.
Each of their tours includes participation by internationally-acclaimed photographers that offer guidance, advice, and expert tips to help you elevate your photography. Indeed, these tours are the Gold Standard in the industry and something that all other photography tours aspire to match.
Lastly, you can travel to all corners of the globe with Discovery Photo Tours. From Iceland to Vietnam, Namibia to Italy and various points in between, there is no lack of destinations to satisfy your desire to see the world and learn improved skills to document it. If you want to travel in style and learn a lot about the world as you do it, this is the tour company for you.
Learn more about Discovery Photo Tours.
For those of you that shoot a lot of video, you need to know the name Sound Shark.
This company is taking the videography space by storm because of the high-quality audio their microphones produce, even in conditions that aren’t usually conducive to getting crystal clear sound.
The parabolic collector can be used with a lapel mic to record voices an astonishing 30 feet away. And, if you don’t have access to a lapel mic, Sound Shark can create gorgeous audio from up to six feet away without any sound degradation. In fact, Sound Shark rejects more sound from the background and sides than a shotgun mic.
That’s what I call high-quality!
Best of all, Sound Shark is easy to use - just attach it to the hot-shoe mount on your camera and you’re ready to go.
So, you get the best of both worlds - amazing audio quality in a highly maneuverable package. It’s that combination of features that has got people Buzzing about Sound Shark, from amateur videographers to huge organizations like Major League Baseball.
If you want great audio to match the beauty of your videos, Sound Shark is the microphone for you!
Learn more about Sound Shark.
Where some of the companies on this list help you create better photos, Copypants helps you out after your photos have already been taken.
Their claim to fame - and it’s a brilliant one - is that they help protect your work on multiple levels such that you get credit for the images you take and can monetize those images with greater ease as well.
What’s so revolutionary about Copypants is that much of this protection is done for you. Just sign up, give Copypants access to your online photo libraries, and they’ll search the internet for copies without any further input from you.
That means that while you work (or sleep!) Copypants is making sure your photos aren’t being ripped off.
And, when they find your photos on the internet, you have various options for how you want to handle the situation, ranging from asking the publisher to give you credit to sending the publisher a request to pay a licensing fee for the use of your photo.
Beyond that, Copypants helps you determine what you should charge for license fees, and they handle all the communications regarding such transactions, so again, you can focus on your work and your life, and worry less about what’s going on behind the scenes.
We all would like a little more time in the day, right? With Copypants, you get that, and plenty more! It truly is an all-in-one solution for protecting your photographs online.
Learn more about Copypants.
I’ve spoken about Syrp before because they make some truly epic gear for timelapse and real-time video.
But what compelled me to put Syrp as one of the top 12 movers and shakers in photography is their expanded product line, which now includes filters.
With a choice between a Variable ND Filter Kit and a Super Dark Variable ND Filter Kit, you get a choice of filters that allow you to get from 1-stop up to 10-stops of light-stopping power.
That means you can create gorgeous long exposure photos or videos, even in the brightest of shooting conditions.
But Syrp’s filters aren’t just any old pieces of glass…
The Variable ND and Super Dark Variable ND are made of high-quality Japanese glass and comes with two lens adaptor rings as well as a lens cloth. The filters have front and back threads, so if need be, you can stack multiple filters for an enhanced effect. You even get a swanky leather case to tote them around in.
Syrp has thought of it all with these filters. It’s a gorgeous all-in-one package that will enable you to get the long exposure images you’ve dreamed of capturing, and is just another fine product in a long line of fine products from this up-and-coming company.
Learn more about Syrp.
Vanguard certainly isn’t a new company…
In fact, they’ve been around for quite awhile.
But they fit into the category of “movers and shakers” because of their commitment to creating photography gear that is functional and stands the test of time for the modern photographer.
Vanguard is a sort of jack-of-all-trades that helps outfit photographers for various needs, from camera bags to cleaning accessories to tripod heads.
But, if you ask me, where they really shine is with their high-tech, yet affordable line of tripods like the Alta Pro 263ab 100.
These tripods embody what Vanguard is all about - they are sturdy and easy to use, solid yet don’t weigh a ton. They can be used for just about any type of photography, whether that’s a shot of a gorgeous alpine lake after a long hike or a quick family photo in the backyard.
Something that Vanguard prides itself on is innovation, and that’s evident in this tripod. With next-generation twist locks, you get a far more secure rig that’s unbelievably easy to setup. You can lock the center column in place with just one finger, meaning you don’t have to stop everything you’re doing just to set up your tripod.
What does that mean? Less time fussing with your gear and more time actually taking photos!
Learn more about Vanguard.
A lot of incredible changes have happened in photography in recent years, but dare I say that Plotagraph is one of those that will be looked back on in a few years’ time as being a complete game-changer.
If you aren’t familiar with Plotagraph, you should be.
It’s a cloud-based platform that allows you to easily add looping content to your still images.
That’s right...all you have to do is upload a single image and Plotagraph will help you create a dynamic, motion-based photo that reaches out and grabs the attention of viewers.
The world in which we live virtually requires more than a plain old still image. In fact, in most instances, dynamic, motion-based content outperforms static content. So, with Plotagraph, you can capitalize on what today’s viewers pay attention to and get more eyes on the work you create.
Plotagraph isn’t just an editing platform, though. It’s a community of artists that’s growing by the minute who support one another, share work, and offer assistance through chat rooms and a virtual help desk. Plotagraph even gives its members storage space to keep your creations.
Plotagraph is photography evolved. It’s turned art on its head, and that’s why it’s one of the top movers and shakers in the industry right now.
Learn more about Plotagraph.
One of Peak Design’s mantras is “gear for the creative and adventurous.” It shows in the stuff they make.
No matter if you need a camera clip or a strap, a camera cover or a bag, Peak Design has got you covered with a robust lineup of top-shelf products that photographers of all ages and ability levels are sure to appreciate.
Where I think Peak Design really shines is with their excellent camera bags.
But these aren’t just camera bags - they are versatile beyond photography and allow you to get a bag that will protect your camera and related gear when you’re out shooting and then convert into something you can carry to work or on a plane.
What’s more, Peak Design’s bags are expandable, so as your collection of gear grows and changes, it can still accommodate the equipment you most need. The origami-inspired Flexfold dividers help with adapting the bag to changing needs and keeping your stuff nicely organized.
Perhaps best of all, these bags are impeccably designed and built to last. The kodra fabric is extremely durable (and great looking!) and is weatherproof too, so you can go out and shoot when everyone else is huddled indoors, all the while knowing your gear is safe and sound.
Did I mention Peak Design’s bags have received numerous awards, too?
Take it from me, these bags are getting tons of attention, and deservedly so! That’s why Peak Design rounds out this list of the top movers and shakers in the photography industry.
Learn more about Peak Design.