Let's have a good ol' fireside chat, just you and I...
I'm going to be very candid with you on a few items that I just absolutely love and think you would benefit from having in your camera bag.
This list of five photography gadgets is based on my experience using every single one of these things...
That means I've put in the time and effort to get to know these products firsthand, so you've got a reliable resource to depend on when outfitting yourself with new gear.
I want to reiterate - I'm genuinely excited about each and every one of these products. This isn't just lip-service!
These things have changed the way I approach photography, and I want you to have the same kind of experience by using gadgets that make it easier to take better photos and manage your photography business.
Let's start off with the small device pictured above.
It's plastic, kind of funny looking, has a number of knobs on it, and pivots at one corner. It's called Handlepod.
What's so special about this thing?
I'll tell you...
You see, I can be lazy at times, to the point where I just don't want to carry much more than my camera with me.
On those days, I'm talking about taking my Sony A6300 and one lens.
This means no tripod.
The problem is, if the lighting gets too dark, getting a sharp still shot is nearly impossible without cranking up the ISO to 1,000,000.
OK, this camera's ISO goes nowhere near there...however, you get the point.
This HandlePod gadget is perfect for such occasions. It fits in my pocket and does the job of my tripod when I'm traveling light.
Technically, it does more than what my tripod can do...
You can use it as a freestanding mini quadpod, as a handheld stabilizing device, or even attach it to a tree, a fence post, or another stationary object for hands-free use.
In short, it's not only lightweight, easy to carry, and versatile, but it's also quite inexpensive too. I love this thing for that very reason!
3D Flex Flash WYNG
The 3D Flex Flash WYNG is simply light modifier awesomeness. I'm not even sure that's a word, but that's just how stinking cool this thing is.
Personally, I don't do a whole lot of flash work. But when I do, I want the best product.
I also want something that doesn't take up a ton of space in my bag because I'm one of "those people" that stuffs his bag full of gear, and often have way too much gear for what I'm doing (let alone to fit in my bag).
That's one of the things I like most about WYNG - when it's not in use, it's incredibly compact.
I can place this thing pretty much anywhere in my bag because it's 3D printed from a single piece of durable, flexible plastic. See it in action in the video below:
In fact, you can crumple the thing up and put it in your pocket, and when you're ready to use it, it reshapes itself as though it was never smashed and folded.
There's also no other parts - no straps or velcro or buckles. You simply slide it on your flash, and you're ready to go.
Did I mention it's crazy affordable too?
In the world of big and bulky light modifiers that are overpriced, this 3D Flex Flash WYNG is nothing short of genius!
Alpine Labs Pulse
Speaking of tiny gadgets that pack a big punch...
Do you see that little guy sitting on top of the camera in the photo above?
That's Pulse by Alpine Labs. Cute, huh?
But trust me when I say this thing might look nondescript, but man is it a game-changer.
Pulse is basically a camera remote, only better in every single conceivable way...
For starters, you control Pulse via a smartphone app. That means you can set up your gear, then have a seat (or a nap!) up to 100 feet away thanks to Bluetooth connectivity.
And I don't just mean you can fire the shutter from the app...
Nope, Pulse is much more powerful.
You can adjust exposure settings like aperture and ISO. You can get real-time image previews of the photos you take. You can check the exposure levels of those photos by scoping out a histogram - all on your phone. See what I mean in the video above...
But you get the picture here. This thing is beyond rad.
BUT, that's just part of the story.
Yep, it's that versatile!
All in a package that can easily fit in a side pocket of your camera bag (or you can stuff it in your pocket with your WYNG)!
Grip & Shoot
I think it's probably the understatement of the century to say that smartphones have become legitimate photography and videography tools.
I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I've gotten some pretty impressive photos and videos on my iPhone. I'm sure you have too!
One of the things that has enabled me to improve my results with my smartphone camera is the gadget shown above.
The Grip & Shoot is the ideal tool for taking photos and videos.
It enables wireless control over your phone, so you can easily do what needs to be done while maintaining a solid grip with just one hand.
Grip & Shoot even has integrated buttons (three of them!) that allow you to zoom in, zoom out, and fire the shutter. You can also start and stop video recording, all from the Grip & Shoot's handle.
That means no more photos with your fingers protruding into the shot because your hand will be far away from the lens, comfortably holding onto the Grip & Shoot. In fact, with Bluetooth 4.0, Grip & Shoot lets you control your phone from up to 100 feet away.
Better still, Grip & Shoot has an open API, so if you have some programming know-how, you can make the Grip & Shoot's buttons do whatever you please.
That's not a bad deal if you ask me!
Ok, so this last one isn't a gadget you can carry in your camera bag, but it's an innovative product that I think you'll agree is something that is extremely useful.
It's called Iris Works, and it's just about the best studio management software around today.
After getting in there and playing with the program's features, I came away totally blown away by just how much Iris Works has packed into one package.
I'm not the most organized person in the world, but Iris Works has helped me overcome that problem.
It has a to-do list function, so I know what needs to be done. It has a calendar so I can quickly see the projects I've got coming up too.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg...
Iris Works does things that will just blow your mind.
Want to know what the weather will be like for your shoot tomorrow? Iris Works can tell you...
Need to send out client invoices in a timely fashion? Iris Works fits the bill (pun intended!).
Do you have contracts to create and send out or payments that need to be collected from clients? Iris Works does that too.
It'll even let you scope out locations and send your clients directions to the shoot - all without leaving the Iris Works interface.
When I say that this thing is the ideal personal assistant for a photographer, I mean it!
At the end of the day, these gadgets have opened up a whole new world for me as a photographer - one that results in better photos and better organization.
That's an awesome feeling, but so too is getting these gadgets without breaking the bank.
But, as I've experienced, each of these products is worth its weight in gold - and more, if you ask me!