Camera Canopy Photography Articles

4 Reasons to Use a Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography

4 Reasons to Use a Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography

Photo by Sharosh Rajasekher on Unsplash

The DSLR to mirrorless transition has been slow, and at times, painful. There has been considerable pushback amongst many photography circles against the mirrorless revolution.

But, as with many technological advances, there are benefits to mirrorless cameras. And, since I enjoy landscape photography so much, I think everyone should use a mirrorless camera for landscape photography at least once. 

They are lighter, which is the biggest bonus considering you often need to trek miles through the middle of nowhere with an incredibly heavy pack for landscape photography. But, I think you may be surprised to find all of the benefits mirrorless cameras come with. 

Mirrorless Cameras Are More Portable

mirrorless camera for landscape photography 1

Photo by Edward Virvel on Unsplash

This is the most obvious benefit of using a mirrorless camera for landscape photography. They are easily dragged around everywhere with you due to their size.

They are much smaller than traditional DSLRs, but they are also usually substantially lighter, which is my favorite characteristic.

Plus, when a camera is portable it is usually also versatile. Mountain climbing and only have one moment to snap a quick pick off the side of a cliff? A mirrorless camera is your answer.

landscape photography gear

 photo bySolovyova via iStock

And as time goes by, mirrorless cameras are getting more and more incredible features. One only needs to look at rigs like the Sony a7R IV and the upcoming Canon EOS R5 to see why.

But it isn’t just high-end mirrorless cameras that have tons of capabilities. 

The Sony a6000 - which is six years old - is a fantastic entry-level camera to take with you on your travels in the great outdoors.

Recommended Landscape Photography Books:

Use the Electronic Viewfinder to Your Advantage

First off, for those of you who don’t know the difference between an EVF, or electronic viewfinder, and an OVF, or optical viewfinder, then Jared Polin has you covered. 

But, basically, an EVF is available on mirrorless cameras while an OVF is on most DSLRs. 

A lot of photographers refused to shoot with mirrorless cameras for a long time because they liked OVFs, but that all changed with the advent of the EVF. 

The Fuji Guys Channelcovers some of the benefits that came with the first EVFs.  

But, the biggest advantage of an electronic viewfinder is that you can see the photograph exactly how it will be taken. You can also see a wealth of information about the scene and the photo right there in the viewfinder.

I almost always use my mirrorless camera for landscape photography for this exact reason. Whereas I can see the photo I’m going to take in Live View with my DSLR, the sun is often too bright for me to be able to use my screen, which is where my EVF comes in handy. 

Learn More:

Mirrorless Cameras Have Smaller Lenses and Accessories

While this video by Sony is really just dissecting the differences between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, it also showcases just how much smaller a mirrorless camera is. 

And it doesn’t stop there. Mirrorless cameras themselves are more portable, but so are all of their accessories.  

Landscape photography gear needs to be as light as possible, especially when you’re trekking miles to get the perfect shot. You’ll need room in your pack for food, water and a first aid kit, so the lighter your equipment is, the better.

landscape photography 2

 photo by Momolelouch via iStock 

Many mirrorless lenses are lighter with a smaller form factor than their DSLR counterparts (unless you’re carrying certain RF lenses from Canon…).

And sure, a few years ago you could complain that there weren’t as many options for mirrorless lenses and accessories, but that is no longer the case in 2020.

haida m7 drop in

A prime example of this is Haida's M7 filter holder system.

This lightweight filter system is ideal for landscape photography because it is perfectly sized for mirrorless lenses.

The aluminum holder can be used with 75mm rectangular filters as well as a variety of round drop-in filters, like the Haida 3-stop circular polarizer/ND filter shown above.

haida m7 filter holder

The filter holder itself is made of lightweight aviation-grade aluminum to help reduce the weight you have to carry as you seek out the best shots.

It has a new quick-release design that enables faster filter operation and installation, that way you don't miss critical shots.

The separately available round circular polarizer for the Haida M7 filter holder can be clipped into the holder, which means there is no need to screw the filter in place. Again, this allows for much faster setup times.

The M7 filter system is well made, durable, and easy to use - just what you need for landscape photography!

You Can Easily Protect Your Mirrorless Camera in Adverse Weather

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Aside from portability, this is easily the best part about using a mirrorless camera for landscape photography. Since they are smaller, they are easier to keep out of a thunderstorm. 

My favorite accessory for keeping my mirrorless camera away from sleet, hail, rain and dust is the mini Camera Canopy, which is a huge step up from a gross plastic bag. 

Unlike using a camera rain cover that restricts your access to the camera’s controls (and viewfinder, for that matter), the Camera Canopy shields the camera and lens from above. This means you have unfettered access to the camera controls.

camera canopy 2

The Camera Canopy saves your mirrorless camera from damage for just $59.99 and is incredibly easy to use because you just need to mount it onto your hotshoe. 

If you’re going to be doing landscape photography anytime in the near future, you need to have a backup plan for protecting your camera in bad weather, and the Camera Canopy is it. 

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


4 Water Photography Techniques

4 Water Photography Techniques

Photo by Kento Iemoto on Unsplash 

It’s hard to outline a grand water photography techniques plan because water is like photography, there’s a million ways to approach it. 

While I won’t be covering “freezing objects in liquid nitrogen and then shooting them in a studio with a $400 backlight,” I will be covering the basics of how to make yourself feel more at home shooting all sorts of things while soaking wet.

Table of Contents

Water Photography Tips in the Rain

The first tip I have for water photography is to get over being wet. Yes, it sucks; yes, it makes you a better photographer. See what I mean in the video above by Alen Palander

If you’re only in the photography game for easy shots then you’ll never grow your business. Photographing in the rain is a great way to get yourself out of your comfort zone and to get photos that a lot of other photographers are never going to get themselves.

One of the reasons I became an adventure photographer was to photograph parts of the world that most people will never get to see in real life, and photographing in the rain follows the same line of reasoning. 

Do you want people to be astounded by the shots you get? Then start photographing during storms. 

Just because I claim to be okay being uncomfortable doesn’t mean I don’t have a few tricks up my sleeve. One of these tricks is the Camera Canopy, an affordable way to keep my camera and lens dry during all day shoots and treks through the jungle. 

We’ve all been in a situation, even if just with your phone, where you get caught out in the rain and immediately all of your gear (including your technology) is soaked. 

You never quite give up the whole time you’re out in the rain, rearranging your equipment to hopefully shield some of the unwieldy raindrops, but in your heart you know the damage is already done.

Well, after a few years of searching for products to remedy this situation, especially as my cameras and lenses grew more and more expensive, I came across Camera Canopy online.

Camera Canopy Camera Canopyis a relatively small operation, so they’re able to keep their products cheap. Just $88 will buy you one of these shields. It’s also one of the easiest products I’ve ever used to keep my equipment dry (no more dealing with those horrible bags). You just mount it to your camera’s hot-shoe mount and you’re ready to roll.

Once you have the right precautions set in place to protect your prized possession, you can begin by taking shots in the rain outside your home. No need to venture to Scotland to get started!

Tips for photographing in the rain:

  • Photograph against the light (this is photographing in the rain 101).
  • Keep track of reflections in puddles or ponds.
  • Use your own umbrella to frame your picture. Just allow the umbrella to fall down over your lens and cover the upper ⅓.
  • Use the smallest amount of flash - if any at all.
  • Watch for emotions on people’s faces. The rain transforms us. This transformation can also transform your photos!

Working With Moving Water 

water photography ideas

Photo by Johnny Brown on Unsplash 

There are a few ways to photograph moving water and creating the movement is one of them. Splash photography has been used to sell delicious, ice cold beer and margaritas for what seems like centuries (though it can’t be more than a few decades) for a reason.

Splash photography puts the viewer into the photo. It’s 3-dimensional in a way most other photography isn’t. Plus, as you can see in the video below by workphlo, it’s pretty!

Tips for splash photography:

  • Eliminate background clutter (you need to be able to see the small water droplets).
  • Experiment with ways to move the water (drop something into it, flick it, put it in your hair and shake it all over the place). 
  • Throw water at your subject and capture their emotions right when it hits. 
  • Explore the 10,000 splash photography manuals out there. You’re bound to find one you like. 

Learn More:

Water Photography at Home Using Reflections 

water splash photography

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash 

I remember a time when reflection photos were all anybody ever posted on their Myspace pages. The artsy kids found out about reflection photos and essentially, painfully, slowly killed them off with their middle school drama. 

Well, I’m happy to report that reflection photography is making a comeback and in a big way. Reflection photography is moody like your first Myspace, but in a more respectable way. It pops up frequently in travel photography as a different way to exhibit a picture of the same old monument you’ve seen a thousand times. 

Learn a quick water photography trick in the video below by Hayden Pedersen.

When you’re photographing in the rain, it’s important to remember to look for the chance to capture people or objects and their reflections. Reflection photography is also a beautiful way to capture landscapes, particularly over lakes in mountainscapes. 

Tips for reflection photography:

  • Get as close to the reflective water as the shot will allow. Reflections will be brighter and less distorted this way.
  • Use a circular polarizing filter to make the reflection stronger.
  • Use ripples to purposefully distort your photo.
  • Emphasize the symmetry between the real item and it’s mirrored reflection.

Underwater Photography

water photography tips

Photo by Francis Taylor on Unsplash 

You’ve definitely heard the age-old adage that underwater photography is for the trust fund babies in the photography world. While this may be true of professional underwater photographers, there are ways for you to join the party with only minimal equipment.

Underwater one-use cameras have been available since the early 2000s for under $20. So if you feel like challenging yourself, buy one from B&H and jump in the pool or ocean and start photographing!  

If you later decide you’d like to continue to pursue underwater photography, there are cheaper options than expensive housing for your DSLR. Housing cases are available for your smartphone for under $100, and most work up to 50 feet underwater.

Chances are your buddy who loves to free dive and take pictures of models in ocean coves is actually just using their smartphone and some fun post-production tricks. See what’s possible with a GoPro in the video below by Science Filmmaking Tips

Underwater photography tips: 

  • Use natural light and never dive farther than 20 feet or else the sun’s rays won’t reach your depths.
  • Get as close as possible to your subject without scaring it off. Water distorts images.
  • If you’re shooting a subject at farther than 3-4 feet, don’t use a flash.
  • Photoshop it up with your raw pictures to increase the contrast and wow your friends.

With that, you have a few tips to elevate your water photography game. So, grab your gear, get out there, get wet, and take some epic shots!

Learn More:

 



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5 Gadgets to Upgrade Your Mirrorless Camera

5 gadgets to upgrade your mirrorless camera

Photo by Michael Soledad on Unsplash

Your mirrorless camera is an incredible photography and videography tool. The capabilities of many of the current mirrorless cameras seem virtually boundless. In reality, though, they can’t do it all, not by themselves anyways. Adding some basic accessories can unlock more or your new camera’s potential. 

There are several formats of mirrorless cameras: MFT, such as cameras from Olympus, Panasonic, and Blackmagic. APS-C, with cameras from Fujifilm, Nikon, Sony, Canon, and others. Full-Frame, including Panasonic, Leica, Nikon, Sony, Canon, and Sigma. And several medium format sizes from Fujifilm, Hasselblad, and others. 

These accessories will fit and function on most of the mirrorless cameras. They will also fit, function, and enhance your DSLRs, too. Here are my top five picks for gadgets to upgrade your mirrorless camera. 

Table of Contents:

A Small But Mighty Filter Set

mirrorless camera accessories 1 

The Haida M7 Filter Holder and Drop-In CPL filter is first on the list.

The Haida M7 filter system is an excellent way to have high-quality filters of several types to use on all of your different lenses regardless of the filter diameter of each lens. 

A kit would include the holder itself, whatever filters you choose such as a circular polarizer (CPL) and neutral density (ND) or graduated neutral density (GND), and the lens adapters for each size needed.

Instead of buying separate screw-in filters of each type for each lens size, you can get just one each of these high-quality filters and use them on each lens.

mirrorless camera accessories 2 

A circular polarizer is one of the most useful items in our gear for improving our photos. Polarizers remove reflections from water, glass, plant leaves, and water vapor and dust in the sky. This results in darker skies with good contrast between sky and clouds, and it gives great color saturation and detail in landscape scenes with lots of foliage or water in the view. 

There are many reasons for using Haida ND and GND filters, too. Anytime you need to reduce the exposure value of a scene or balance the light and dark areas of a scene with a huge dynamic range, a neutral density filter will come in very handy. 

Learn More:

A Top-Shelf Gimbal for Video Work

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Ikan EC1 Beholder 3-Axis Gimbal is our next item. Our new mirrorless camera likely has a superb video mode, the only thing holding us back from truly outstanding video is probably our technique. 

High up on our technique concerns is camera stability. When shooting video, unnecessary camera movement during scenes can lower the appeal of our finished video. There’s not much you can do to fix that after shooting either, getting in right while filming is the best procedure.

While you likely already have a good video tripod, it’s when trying to film handheld that the issue is of greatest concern. One of the best options available for filmmakers is a gimbal stabilizer.

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Ikan’s EC1 is a powered 3-axis gyro stabilizer that can hold a camera rig weighing up to 4.5 pounds. Much better than the friction type inexpensive stabilizers, the next step up from this gimbal is a SteadyCam type of stabilizer which costs more than my wife’s car.  

The difference in using this gimbal than not is apparent right from the very start. Your videos will be so much smoother than simply holding it by hand could ever be. The cost is a bit more than you might have expected for a good-quality video tripod, but the payback is huge in terms of freedom of movement capturing usable footage.

 

Recommended Videography Reading:

 

A Next-Generation Camera Cover 

mirrorless camera upgrades 7

Camera Canopy for mirrorless cameras is such a fantastic idea, I wonder why I didn’t invent it myself! Traditional rain covers can be a little bit fiddly to work with. What makes this rain cover so good is that it isn’t a big plastic bag you stuff the camera in. It’s more like an umbrella for your camera. 

Since your camera is not stuffed in a bag, you actually have clear access to all the regular controls, even a clear view of the viewscreen. My camera is water resistant, for the most part, but I’m still not comfortable with holding it under a running faucet, which is what rainstorms around here can be like. 

mirrorless camera upgrades 8

But for a typical downpour type of rain, this canopy works great!

A Durable (and Budget-Friendly) Camera Strap

videography gear 9

The Holdfast HF Classic Strapis one pretty strap. It comes in two widths - a wide width that distributes the weight better and a slim width that some find more fashionable. 

One of the nice features of these straps is a leather shroud that fits over the stainless steel clasp.  This keeps the metal away from your camera body while also adding an extra layer of security concerning the quick release.

videography gear 10

Holdfast also makes a sling strap and a series of classic style camera bags. Most of their bags and straps are made from full-grain leather, some are made from synthetic material, depending on intended usage and style choices.

Whatever accessories you choose to buy from Holdfast, you’ll get a premium product that was hand-made in the U.S.A. And when you shoot with a small mirrorless camera, one of their hand-made HF Classic Straps is a must!

A Pocket-Sized LED Light

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The LitraTorch 2.0is a compact, battery-powered continuous LED light that is necessary for video recording since the built-in flash on your camera is not useful for video, only for still imaging.

The charge can last up to 7 hours in low power mode, about a couple of hours on high. It recharges via a USB cable. LED lights are the choice for most videographers needing portable lighting. They operate much cooler than quartz or incandescent bulbs and have a steady color balance.

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The LitraTorch is also very compact. If needed, you could mount this on the camera itself by means of the accessory/hot shoe. A small bracket is another option that videographers can use to hold the light in line with the camera. Since it runs cool, you could hold the light yourself in a pinch. 

As an added bonus, you can also pair this tiny light with a GoPro style action cam on a multi mount or a grip. I guess the GoPro counts as mirrorless, doesn’t it?!

Mirrorless Camera Upgrades Equal Upgraded Use

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Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash 

The primary reason to implement any of these upgrades is to better your ability to gather excellent video and superb still images. 

Many mirrorless cameras have superior video capabilities compared to the DSLRs of the same brand. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been using your mirrorless camera, improvement is always available. Same thing applies to our still photography. 

Some of these gadgets are a virtual necessity for certain styles of videography and photography. Others make using an existing capability easier to accomplish. Try them out!

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


5 Landscape Photography Accessories You Can’t Live Without

5 Landscape Photography Accessories You Cant Live Without

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

There’s nothing like a crisp, cool morning, a cup of coffee and hours of shooting landscapes. I’m lucky enough to have travelled all over the world shooting landscapes for my clients, and I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way.  

Namely, the landscape photography accessories you bring on any trip can make or break it. But, since there are thousands of landscape photography accessories, it can be difficult to choose which ones are important enough to drag all the way to Bolivia, or on an 8-hour hike through Glacier National Park.

This is an overview of the accessories for landscape photography that I always bring with me. 

Table of Contents

A Good Polarizing Filter

landscape photography accessories 1

photo by Алексей Филатов via iStock 

I write so much about polarizing filters on PhotographyTalk because they’re important in an age of Photoshop and Lightroom. 

Though I process my images as much as the next guy, nothing can replace the effect a polarizer can have on your images.  

Polarizing filters make the sky a deeper blue, reduce glare off of water and other non-metallic surfaces, and they reduce atmospheric haze.

And there’s a reason you can now purchase a polarizing filter for your iPhone camera.

Now, it’s also important to remember that not all polarizing filters work the same…

a good polarizing filter

I always recommend Kenko when I’m discussing polarizing filters. The Kenko Nyumon Slim Circular Polarizer is cheap for its quality at $45. This polarizer is multi-coated to protect itself from the environment, think harsh wind that throws sand at it or inadvertent finger prints. 

It also features a mounting ring that never gets snagged, which is a godsend considering what working with cheaper polarizers means (spending 30 seconds screwing and unscrewing the filter onto your lens). 

This is a great example of “you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot.” A great polarizer is something everyone needs, and at this price point, you can afford it!

 

Editor's Tip: Get Kenko’s latest updates and access to promos for discounted gear. Click here to sign up.

 

Protection from the Elements 

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photo by Sandra Dombrovsky via iStock 

When you think about landscape photography accessories, chances are you’re thinking about how to prevent yourself from getting soaked and thinking less about how to prevent your equipment from getting soaked.

After all, everyone just uses that big plastic bag to prevent their cameras from getting rained on and you’re going to be miserable all day if you’re wet in near freezing conditions.

But, there are better options to protect your camera from the rain. 

protection from the elements

I bought a Camera Canopy a few years ago and never looked back. 

Camera Canopy is a technology that prevents both your DSLR and your mirrorless camera from getting rained on, snowed on or sleeted on. It’s made of two retractable shields, meaning you can adjust the length of protection as easily as you adjust your lens. 

It easily fastens onto your camera’s hot shoe and it gives you a complete free range of motion that plastic bags will never accommodate. 

Plus, Camera Canopy is a relatively cheap investment into your landscape photography at just $88 for your DSLR or $60 for your mirrorless. 

Learn More:

A Sturdy Tripod 

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Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash 

Have you ever had your tripod fall over with your camera attached? Sadly, I have and I’m now on a personal mission to make sure it never happens to another photographer. 

When you’re on top of a mountain, facing 40mph wind, just about anything can happen and I’m going to be more concerned for my own safety than the safety of my camera if it comes down to it. 

While I’m of course not advocating for shooting in dangerous weather conditions, sometimes these conditions produce the best photos, and for these times you need a heavy duty tripod in your landscape photography gear. 

a sturdy tripod

Ikan’s 2 Stage Aluminum Tripod is by far the best tripod for landscape photography I’ve ever found. 

First of all, it’s solid and structurally sound. It has multiple leg stages with individual leg locks at each. 

It also features incredible anti-slip pads/spike covers on each leg that can be removed when they aren’t needed.  

At $170, this tripod will last you a lifetime and do so without breaking the bank. 

A Bright, Compact Light

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Photo by 2 Bro’s Media on Unsplash 

While golden hour is the hotspot for landscape photographers, sometimes you just need to keep shooting. 

After all, there’s no sense in traveling as much as you do if you aren’t going to take complete advantage of it. 

While I use my LED light to fill the foreground for beautiful twilight shots, I also use LED lights to be a little more creative with light painting.

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Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash 

Light painting is the art of lighting up specific portions of your landscape at night, usually with an array of different colors, while capturing the night sky in the background.

It’s beautiful and a very specific niche in landscape photography that I think everyone should try at least once.

But, in order to do so you first need the light.

a bright compact light

Litra sort of rules the compact lighting game. Their Torch LitraPro is no different. It’s the LED light I have and it’s the one I recommend to all of my friends.

Firstly, you can control the light from an app on your phone, which is one of the first qualities I look for in a compact light. I want the equipment to do as much work as possible so I can focus on the photography.  

It’s only 5” long, so I can throw it in my camera bag, and it’s bi-color. It’s also a fully dimmable light.

Plus, Litra understands remote shooting better than most companies, so this light can last for up to 10 hours on one battery charge on low, or up to 1 hour on high. 

Finally, it’s waterproof. What’s not to love?  

Learn More:

A Weather-Resistant Camera Bag 

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While your canvas camera bag might work in the city, it’s not going to work in the snowy mountains of Colorado, and if you’re planning to do landscape photography for a long time then it may be time to upgrade. 

Out of all of these must-have landscape photography accessories, you’re not going to get very far without a weather-resistant camera bag. Think about it… there’s no point in protecting your camera while you’re shooting if you’re not protecting it while you’re traveling to and from your shoot site.

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Holdfast’s Sightseer Backpack is made out of waxed canvas and comes with waterproof zippers, so it keeps the rain out while still protecting your gear with fleece lining. 

This backpack is also the only camera bag in the world that comes with an integrated camera slider which allows you to have access to your camera at all times.  

While any Holdfast purchases are an investment, this Sightseer backpack, which is sold for $800, comes with a lifetime warranty. If you ask me, it’s a much better idea than buying a $100 bag every year for the rest of your life. 

Bonus: A Fun Way to Display Your Favorite Photos

Don't get me wrong...I love a nice, big print of a landscape photo.

But sometimes you need to switch things up a little bit and have ways to show off your best shots in a unique way. For me, that means using Snaptiles.

Just a couple of months ago, I talked about why Snaptiles won me over on my Best of 2019 list. In short, Snaptiles photo tiles offer an innovative way to display multiple photos without damaging your wall.

Here's how they work...

You attach an anchor piece to the wall using four adhesive strips. Then, you can add up to 12 Snaptiles photo tiles to the anchor image using the rare earth magnets in the tiles. In other words, you can have a complete photo display with zero holes in the wall to show for it. Nice!

If you want to create a much larger display of photo tiles, you can simply use the four thumbtacks you get with your Snaptiles to add more support. And those four thumbtacks enable you to display up to 30 images. That's not bad at all!

What's more, since the Snaptiles photo tiles are connected with magnets, you can create all kinds of shapes in your photo display. You can also change the way the photos are displayed as often as you like.

So, with a traditional large format print, you're "stuck" looking at the same image each day, which isn't a bad thing! But having the ability to look at up to 30 of your favorite landscape photos and having the ability to change how that display looks in a matter of minutes is an awfully attractive proposition, don't you think?

Get all the details on Snaptiles and see why these photo tiles are a must for displaying your landscape photos.

Learn More:

  



We Recommend


Backyard Photography Ideas

Backyard Photography Ideas

Photo by Chandana Ban on Unsplash

Given the pandemic, I’ve been participating in a lot more backyard photography than I’ve ever wanted to and I’m running out of backyard photography ideas. 

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to do photography projects at home, even with an abundance of resources. But, getting out into the fresh air and getting some sunshine always makes me feel better. I hope it does the same for you.

To provide that little boost of motivation for you, I’ve compiled some of my favorite backyard photography ideas.  

Photograph Flowers

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Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

Although it may not feel like it, we are in the middle of spring in the United States, so your backyard is probably filled with flowers.  

Photographing flowers can be more challenging than you would expect because you can’t move them, so you must work with the natural light you are given. It’s one of the backyard photography ideas that forces you to grow as a photographer.

backyard photography 2

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

Plus, you don’t just have to photograph traditional flowers. 

If you have weeds in your backyard, photograph them. Finding flowers you traditionally view as nuisances can help you improve your overall positivity, which we all need right now!

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

 

Capture Rain 

backyard photography tips 3

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash 

This is one of the most fun backyard photography ideas because rain enhances every other backyard photography subject. 

If you are lucky enough to have a macro lens, you can capture water droplets up close. You may be surprised with what you find. 

Make sure to keep your background uncluttered when focusing on specific raindrops and keep your aperture wide to blur everything behind your subject. 

Camera Canopy for DSLRs

Camera Canopy for DSLRs

I often hear photographers complaining about how beautiful it is to shoot in the rain, but how difficult it can be to keep their equipment from getting wet. 

If you want to participate in these backyard photography ideas without the hassle of a traditional plastic bag rain cover for your camera, consider Camera Canopy. 

Camera Canopy is a shield for your camera that you attach directly to the hot-shoe on your. It comes in two sizes, one for DSLRs and one for mirrorless cameras, so you can be sure to get the right-sized canopy for the camera you utilize. 

Mini Camera Canopy for Mirrorless Cameras

Mini Camera Canopy for Mirrorless Cameras 

The great thing about Camera Canopy - other than the fact that it keeps the rear of the camera in plain view, unlike most camera rain covers - is that the canopy can extend and retract based on the length of the lens you’re using. This enables it to protect your gear from the rain no matter if you’re using a macro or a telephoto lens.

And, since they’re priced between $60-$90 you can protect your equipment without breaking the bank!

Learn More:

Highlight the Beauty of Mushrooms

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Photo by Presetbase Lightroom Presets on Unsplash 

Mushrooms are growing in many parts of the world right now, but they can be difficult to find. One of my favorite backyard photography tips for people with kids is to send them on a scavenger hunt for harder-to-find photography subjects. It keeps them occupied and prevents you from searching your yard for hours. Just remind your kiddos not to touch any mushrooms they find!

To increase your chances of finding mushrooms to photograph, head outdoors after a big rainstorm storm. That’s when they’re most likely to show up.

photography ideas at home 5

Photo by Igor Yemelianov on Unsplash 

Even if the mushrooms you find in your yard aren’t as beautiful and bright as the ones above, don’t discount them. Use them as an opportunity to play with the available light or work on your compositional skills. 

Not every photo you take needs to be worthy of hanging on your wall. But each photo you take should be used as an opportunity to learn and grow!

 

 

Photograph Birds

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Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash 

This is one of the most difficult of our backyard photography ideas because it requires an immense amount of patience and skill. But, the rewards are well worth the wait.

You’ll likely need a telephoto lens to capture birds in detail, but if you don’t possess a telephoto lens, you can capture them from afar for an environmental portrait that shows their surroundings. 

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 photo by Mantonature via iStock 

It’s helpful if you’ve lived in your home for awhile and already know the types of birds that visit your yard, but if you’re new there, just watch for them over the next few days before going out with your camera. 

One of the keys to photographing birds is to understand their habits so you know where and when you need to have your gear set up. When do they rise in the morning? Where do they feed? Are they skittish or can you get fairly close? 

These are just a few questions that will help inform your bird photography approach in your backyard.

Whichever of these backyard photography ideas you try, focus on having fun and learning new skills rather than on whether or not each photo is wall-worthy. As you learn and grow behind the lens, you’ll find that the results you get will improve!

Learn More:

 



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Fall Foliage Photography Tips

Fall Foliage Photography Tips

photo byDenisTangneyJr via iStock

Ah, fall. It’s upon us once again, which means it’s time to do another fall foliage photography tips list. 

Fall is the moodiest season, which is why it’s my favorite season. It’s just cool enough outside to be able to shoot all day. People are starting to think about holiday cards, which means you are probably facing a serious influx of clients. 

 Fall, I’d argue, is the best season for photography. 

 With that in mind, use the tips I’ve outlined below to make the most of your fall foliage photography outings!

 Fall Photography Tip #1: Look Down

fall photography tips

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash 

While you should always be paying attention to your surroundings as a photographer, this tip goes a little beyond that.

Look down while you’re hiking to and from your final shoot location.

If the waterfall in the image above is your desired subject, look around it for opportunities to feature it in unique ways.

In this case, the rocks below the surface of the water, the boulders protruding from the stream, and the leaves draped across the rocks add lots of visual interest to the shot.  

By looking down, this photographer found foreground elements to enhance their photo.

fall photography tips 2

Photo by Cecile Vedemil on Unsplash 

Of course, you can also use leaves you find on the ground to serve as your primary subject.

Pick up the brightest, most colorful leaves along your route so that when you finally reach your shooting destination you can strategically add color to your shots.

 As shown above, these leaves not only have beautiful color but interesting shapes as well. Their veins offer interesting texture too.

Fall Photography Tip #2: Create a Mirrored Effect

how to photograph leaves 1

photo by DenisTangneyJr via iStock 

Nothing screams autumn like pumpkin spice lattes, corn mazes, and photos of fall foliage reflected in a lake.

But, not all fall foliage photography tips are the same and this one requires the perfect weather conditions, specifically as it pertains to the wind.

You can shoot incredible mirror like fall photos if it’s sunny or cloudy, foggy or clear.

But even a light breeze can turn calm, mirror like waters into a mess…

how to photograph leaves 2

photo by DenisTangneyJr via iStock 

What’s more, people fishing or canoeing can disturb the calmness of the water.

One way you can improve your chances of avoiding the wind and combat the crowds at the same time is to hit your location at sunrise. The lighting will be moodier and the lake will be less crowded.  

You can also keep creating a mirrored effect long into the winter season. A lake reflecting bare trees is just as beautiful as one reflecting bright autumn leaves. 

Learn More:

Fall Photography Tip #3: Use Filters to Your Advantage

polarpro summit 4

When you head out to shoot photos this fall, you want to be able to focus on your compositions, not on fiddling with your filters.

That means you need high-quality filters that make the process of using them a simpler task. That's something PolarPro specializes in...

Their new Summit series filters have tons of features that streamline the process of creating gorgeous photos of fall colors.

polarpro summit 2

This system has an integrated circular polarizer slot that has easy-access control for manipulating the filter.

What's more, the Summit system has tool-free mounting options, a tool-less rail mount, and a snap-on hood attachment that make using this system a breeze.

PolarPro has made the Summit system super lightweight, too, so you don't have to carry a big, heavy, bulky set of filters around with you as you move from one location to the next.

polarpro summit 1

It helps that each filter has an aluminum frame, as that reduces fingerprints on the filter glass while also maximizing protection for the filter. That means you'll spend more time shooting and less time cleaning your filters. Who doesn't want that?!

And since these filters are available in 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, 82mm, and 95mm, you can find the right size for your specific needs.

If you're a landscape photographer and you don't have a good set of filters, the PolarPro Summit system is an excellent option for your adventures this fall.

Fall Photography Tip #4: Go Abstract 

fall photography ideas 1

photo byshahfarshid via iStock

No season is better for creative, abstract photography than autumn.

The photo above has an abstract-looking background thanks to the shallow depth of field, but the single, lonely leaf is nicely sharp.

This gives you a nice contrast in the image between sharpness and blur to go with the light and dark that’s also going on in the photo.

Another option for an abstract fall photo is to blur the image on purpose.

With such gorgeous colors in abundance, the trees and leaves don’t necessarily have to be sharply in focus to still have an impact.

If you slow down the shutter and learn how to purposefully move your camera while the shutter is open, you can get some truly interesting results. 

See what I mean in the video above by Get Crafty Photographers.

Fall Photography Tip #5: Protect Your Gear From the Elements

Camera Canopy 1 

In my area, the weather in the fall can be quite unpredictable, and I’m assuming the same goes for where you live. That means you need to be prepared for inclement weather.

While you can bring a plastic bag to protect your camera and lens in the rain, they’re just plain difficult to use. You can’t see the camera’s LCD. It’s hard to reach and manipulate the camera’s buttons and dials. And it doesn’t keep the rain off the lens glass. 

What I recommend is purchasing a Camera Canopy, aka the best under $100 camera gadget I’ve ever bought!

The Camera Canopy for your run-of-the-mill DSLR is just $87.99, and their brand new Camera Canopy for mirrorless cameras is even cheaper at $59.99.

Camera Canopy 2

It mounts directly to your camera and acts as a shield from all rain, hail, sleet, snow and dust. Which means no more messing with inefficient bad-weather protection.  

Plus, Camera Canopy is a small company. I enjoy buying my camera equipment from small companies because their customer service is always top-notch. 

For example, if you buy a Camera Canopy and are not entirely happy, they offer refunds through your first month of use. You don’t often find deals like that with big gear manufacturers!

I’ve had a Camera Canopy for quite a few months now, and it has been a reliable addition to my camera bag. Even if I’m out in a significant downpour, it works like a charm, keeps my gear dry, and allows me to keep on shooting.

What’s not to like about that?!

So, get ready for fall weather by investing in a Camera Canopy. Combined with the other tips outlined here, you’ll be more likely to capture gorgeous photos of the fall colors!

Learn More:

 



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How to Protect Your Camera Gear From the Elements

How to Protect Your Camera Gear From the Elements

photo byEnes Evren via iStock

There is nothing worse than being unable to shoot because your equipment isn’t good enough for the bad weather you encounter. Learning how to protect your camera gear is an essential part of fixing that problem. 

Not only is it frustrating, but it can also be costly depending upon the niche of photography in which you work…

For example, if it starts pouring rain in the middle of an outdoor wedding you’re shooting, but you don’t have the appropriate gear to protect your camera, you might have damaged gear at best and be unable to continue shooting at worst.

Instead, it’s best to take the Boy Scouts motto to heart - “Be prepared.”

Here are some of our best tips for protecting your gear from the elements. 

Keep Rain at Bay With a Camera Canopy

This little gadget changed my life when I first encountered it a few month ago, and it kept changing my life as I decided to partner with them on PhotographyTalk.

Camera Canopy is a small company and it shows in the quality of their work. If I were to only have one tip for camera rain protection, it’s to buy yourself a camera canopy.

For one thing, it’s under $90 and has a 30-day warranty. Not only is $90 a relatively small investment for something as important (and expensive) as your camera and lenses, but it’s completely refundable if you don’t love it.

For another, I was done messing with plastic bags the first time I opened one to try and protect my camera from the rain. Traditional methods of camera rain protection are outdated. And until Camera Canopy, the market was flooded with bad “new” products for camera rain protection. 

I have yet to ruin a single camera or lens with the Camera Canopy - it simply works like a charm. The peace of mind you get from knowing that the rain won’t have a chance of getting your camera wet is worth the price alone! You can purchase one here.

camera canopy mirrorless

If you have a mirrorless camera or use a camera with a smaller lens, there's a Camera Canopy for you as well!

This smaller, lighterweight version still offers the same great protection from the elements.

I had a chance to test it out while photographing flowers in the rain (shown above), and true to form, it worked every bit as good as the original Camera Canopy!

You can pick up a mirrorless Camera Canopy for under $60.

Carry Your Gear in a Weatherproof Bag 

how to protect your camera gear

 photo by Dougall_Photography via iStock 

I don’t know why anyone owns a photography bag or backpack that isn’t weatherproof.

Maybe you live in a desert paradise, but I know that sudden storms have snuck up on me in the past, which is why I invested in a weatherproof bag long ago.

camera gear tips 1 

My preparation of choice is Holdfast’s Explorer Lens Pouch. 

This bag attaches to my MoneyMaker harness and it does it all while looking fashionable too. 

I hate traditional weatherproof bags that are really ugly. It’s hard to shoot a formal event like a wedding with a noisy, plastic-like camera bag that cheapens the look of my formalwear. The Explorer Lens Pouch not only does a great job of protecting my livelihood, but it also makes me look good while doing it!

camera gear tips 2

This bag also allows you to keep organized, because it has 4 pockets, a divider, and can carry up to 2 lenses plus a flash. There’s even a bigger option if you need to splurge for more room. 

Whatever you do, don’t go on your next shoot without a weatherproofed bag!

Learn More:

Buy Weather-Sealed Gear 

camera rain protection

 photo bySandra Dombrovsky via iStock

This one seems self-explanatory, and yet almost none of my photographer friends use it because of the initial investment.

Weather-sealed cameras and lenses are a couple hundred extra dollars up front, but if you even think of accidentally ruining one camera or one lens by not properly protecting it from the elements, then that couple extra hundred dollars will seem like a bargain.

Besides, weather-sealed cameras and lenses are often higher-end rigs that have more features and perform better than their bargain-basement counterparts. 

Though you’ll spend more money up front, the durability you get out of these high-end cameras and lenses is well worth it - if you do your part and care for them properly, you’ll have a kit that will last you for years and years.

Protect Your Lens During Lens Changes 

camera dust protection

 photo by CasarsaGuru via iStock 

This isn’t something taught in photography schools and I don’t understand why it’s always forgotten.  

You can’t protect camera from dust without shielding it from the wind.

My quick and easy fix for protecting my camera from dust and rain while changing my lenses is to change my lenses underneath my jacket.

This old-school trick is both cheap, because it doesn’t require you buy any new gear, and effective.  

Pair this with getting out of the wind - in your car, behind a tree, whatever you can find - and you’ll have a much better chance of a dust and dirt-free lens change.

Work With the Temperature

protect camera from dust

 photo by SbytovaMN  via iStock 

You can’t warm your camera up when it’s cold outside if you’re planning on continuing to shoot with it. Condensation can form and your camera will be rendered useless, perhaps even permanently.

Almost all cameras nowadays are built for extreme weather, and unless you’re shooting in the Arctic, you should be fine to leave it out in the cold and snow.

The same cannot be said of working with the temperature and your camera when it’s hot outside. Whereas most humans can easily exist in temperatures up to 120 degrees for short periods of time, your camera cannot.

If it’s over 100 degrees outside you need to exercise caution shooting for extended periods of time. If it’s over 115 degrees outside you need to protect your camera with a towel or don’t shoot at all. If the external temperature is 115 degrees, the internal temperature on your camera will likely be much higher, and those kind of temps could easily damage the delicate parts inside your camera. 

With that, you have a few tips for keeping your gear safe when the weather isn’t ideal. Take these tips to heart, protect your gear, and create gorgeous photos, even if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.

Learn More:

 



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Innovative Camera Accessories You Need in Your Bag

Innovative camera accessories

  photo by rdonar via iStock

Let’s face it…

There are more photography gadgets available today to make photography an easier task than at any point in history.

Our cameras do more, our lenses are more capable, heck, even today’s tripods have innovative features that make them more functional than we could have imagined just a decade ago.

It’s like we’re living in the golden age of photography!

Granted, some of the “innovative” products out there aren’t all that great, and are more smoke and mirrors than an actual, functional product. 

But the items listed below are certainly game-changing products that can help you take your photography to the next level.

Let’s take a look at a few innovative camera accessories that are worth picking up today.

Table of Contents

Foolography UNLEASHED

One of the best photography gadgets currently on the market is the Foolography UNLEASHED remote.

I know what you’re thinking...how can a remote be an innovative camera accessory?! 

Trust me, this one is!

Aside from the fact that this thing is tiny (the remote for my Nikon Z7 is about the size of my thumbnail), it has a suite of functionalities that enable much greater creativity with your camera. 

For instance, the remote has a companion app that allows you to control it via your smartphone. That means no more sitting there with your camera, constantly adjusting its settings.

Instead, you can kick back, relax in a comfy chair, and change things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO using the remote feature. You can even adjust white balance and exposure compensation too.

Want to shoot a timelapse? No problem! The Foolography UNLEASHED enables you to easily make timelapse videos, even with day to night transitions.

Additionally, you can shoot long exposures, start and stop video recording, and geotag your photos in-camera. You can do all that for up to six cameras at once.

That makes Foolography UNLEASHED a next-level remote. This sucker is about way more than simply allowing you to trigger the shutter. Instead, this little Bluetooth wonder and all its incredible features will help you kick your photography game into high gear! 

Learn more about Foolography UNLEASHED

Wiral LITE Cable Cam System

innovative camera accessories wiral lite 

 Another one of my favorite innovative camera accessories is the Wiral LITE Cable Cam system.

Cable cam systems aren’t anything new, but what makes this one so innovative is how small, lightweight, and easy to set up it is.

In fact, it takes about three minutes to get this bad boy ready to roll. And don’t think that because it’s easy to set up that it isn’t just as capable as cable cam systems that take ten times as long to get going.

What makes the Wiral LITE so simple to set up is that there are just three components - the main unit, the remote control, and the quick reel rope system.

The main unit (shown above) is just 1.3 pounds and 10.8 x 3 x 1.7” in size, so it’s super portable. I can slide it into my camera bag and head out the door, no problem!

With a payload of up to 3.3 pounds, you can use all sorts of cameras with it, from an action camera like a GoPro to a DSLR with a standard lens on it. You can even mount your phone to it! 

The truly innovative part is the rope.

You get 164 feet (or you can opt for a 328-foot length) so you can span just about anything you want to shoot.

The thinness of the rope is absolutely incredible - it’s just 0.1 inches thick. It can be that thin because Wiral uses UHMWPE ultra static rope that’s incredibly lightweight without sacrificing payload capacity or safety.

It really is quite a marvel, which you can see in my video above. I think we got some pretty darn good footage myself!

Learn more about the Wiral LITE Cable Cam System

Peak Design Travel Tripod

In the introduction of this article, I mentioned that today’s tripods have more features and functionalities than we could have imagined just a decade ago. 

I say that with one tripod in mind - the Peak Design Travel Tripod.

When Peak Design launched this tripod on Kickstarter, their goal of $500,000 was surpassed in just 50 minutes, and with good reason - this is one of the most innovative camera accessories ever made.

On the one hand, this tripod folds down to about the size of a water bottle, making it about half the size of most traditional tripods in their folded down state. That makes this the most travel-friendly full-sized tripod on the planet.

This is possible because the engineers at Peak Design figured out a way to eliminate wasted space.

If you notice in the photos of the tripod, there is no space between the ball head and the tripod. There’s no knobs that stick out, either. 

As the image above shows, the ball head nests directly into the architecture of the legs. This space-saving design allows the tripod to be so small when it’s packed down.

But if you think that this small tripod has a small load capacity, you’re wrong… 

Not only does the Travel Tripod have a 20-pound weight capacity, but it can extend to 58.5-inches tall with the center column deployed.

Its 5-section legs are weather-resistant and impact-resistant, and give you the ability to drop the camera to as low as 4.5-inches off the ground.

I could go on and on here, but why not just check out my video review above to see this thing in action. It’s truly an innovative camera accessory and one of the best photography gadgets of 2019!

Learn more about the Peak Design Travel Tripod

Marumi Magnetic Filter System

marumi circular polarizer

Filters are a must for any photographer that spends any amount of time photographing landscapes.

The benefits of having filters like a circular polarizer (shown above), a graduated ND, and a solid ND are just too many not to have them!

A polarizer brings skies to life with more contrast and saturation while a graduated ND helps even out the exposure for a shot that has manageable dynamic range. A solid ND is also a must if you want to capture ethereal scenes with beautifully blurred motion.

And the best filter system for doing all that while you're traveling? The Marumi magnetic system!

marumi m100 holder

The Marumi M100 filter holder and its companion magnetic filters strong and durable, which is just what you want for your travels.

The M100 filter holder, for example, is made of aircraft aluminum, which helps it stand up to the bumps and bruises of travel without adding extra weight.

The gaskets on the front of the holder form a seal around the back of the filter, preventing light leaks from occurring.

marumi solid nd

The magnetic filters (like the solid ND shown above) are made of high-grade Schott 5270 glass, which offers high-definition results.

Each filter also has anti-scratch, anti-reflective, and water and oil-repellent properties to stave off damage, unwanted aberrations, and dirt and grime.

It truly is the ideal travel companion for photographers - a lightweight, easy-to-use, and durable filter system that allows you to improve the quality of your photos whether you're photographing mountains, plains, water, forests, or something in between!

Litra Torch LitraPro 

Again, it might surprise you to see a light on a list of cool photography accessories, but, again, once you get to know the LitraPro, you realize just how incredible this innovative photography gadget really is.

Weighing in at just 6 ounces and measuring 2.75 x 2 x 1.2 inches, you might not expect much from this light. 

But since Litra works so hard to give us the most innovative camera accessories, this little guy puts out A LOT of light…

In fact, Litra has crammed 60 LEDs into this thing, which put out 1200 lumens of light. 

It’s good light, too - super clean, very crisp, and flicker-free. That’s just what you want in a light for photography!

On top of that, the LitraPro is bi-color and adjustable from 3000K to 6000K so you can customize the color of light to your specific needs. Not bad, right?!

You get excellent coverage thanks to its 70-degree beam angle, and since it’s built to MIL-SPEC 810 specs, you know that it will give you rugged durability for years to come.

It’s even waterproof up to 90 feet!

Add to that 10 hours of battery life (on low output), an OLED display, fully dimmable output, and Bluetooth control, and you have the makings of one of the best photography gadgets you can get your hands on! 

Learn more about the Litra Torch LitraPro

Camera Canopy

camera canopy 1

If you shoot landscapes like I do (or any subject outdoors, for that matter), you know the stress of worrying about the weather.

Will it rain? If it does, do I have time to get my gear out of the elements? If I keep shooting, how hard will it be to reach the buttons and dials to change settings?

These are important questions to ask, and fortunately, with Camera Canopy, those questions are easily answered.

As you can see above, the Camera Canopy simply attaches to your camera’s hot-shoe mount, so it’s incredibly easy to deploy if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The canopy easily extends or retracts, so you can customize how much protection you need based on the lens you’re using.

What’s more, unlike those awful camera rain bags that restrict your ability to change camera settings or even see the LCD, camera canopy leaves all that real estate open (yet still protected). That means you can quickly and easily change camera settings, access the camera’s menu system, and review images on the LCD. 

Best of all, there are versions for DSLRs and for mirrorless cameras too. I picked one up for my Nikon D850 and then another for my Z7, and in inclement weather, there’s no better companion to have for my camera!

Learn more about Camera Canopy for DSLRs or Camera Canopy for Mirrorless Cameras

Synology DiskStation DS1019+

Okay, so technically this isn't something you'd carry around in your camera bag, but a good backup device is an absolute must-have for photographers, and the DS1019+ is one of the best money can buy.

I had a scare with a hard drive failure last year, and I didn't have a backup at the time. You can imagine how quickly I began researching backups!

I got the DS1019+ for several reasons.

First, Synology has a rock-solid reputation for developing reliable products that have innovative features. These units are easy to use too!

I'm no network storage genius by any means, yet I was able to quickly set up my DiskStation and back up my files.

It has an operating system that's intuitive and simple to use, and adding disk drives (2.5-inch or 3.5-inch) is a breeze as well. In fact, if you use 3.5-inch drives you don't even need any tools to install them - Synology has incorporated tension brackets to make the installation quick and easy. That's just one innovative feature you'll appreciate about the DS1019+.

Second, this unit is small enough to fit on my desk without being obtrusive.

It's 6.5-inches x 9-inches x 8-inches and even with drives installed, it only weighs about 5.5 pounds. Though I don't take it with me when I travel, I suppose you could do so with relative ease!

It also looks great with a sleek black design that looks modern and is a nice addition to my desktop.

On top of all that, it's quiet - something I really appreciate when I need to crank out a lot of work.

Lastly, I appreciate all the features that Synology has crammed into this device.

It has an Intel Celeron J3455 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of RAM, and read/write speeds of up to 225MB per second.

Add in data encryption, built-in audio and video applications, and dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots that don't take up space in the drive bays, and you have the makings of a fully-featured backup system for your photos and videos. It's innovative, feature-rich, and priced right.

Get all the details on this must-have photography accessory by reading my complete Synology DiskStation DS1019+ review.



We Recommend


Innovative Photography Gadgets You Didn’t Know Existed

Innovative Photography Gadgets

 Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

If you’ve never Googled “innovative photography gadgets,” you should.

The results are an interesting array of wonders from photography’s past, present, and future. 

Some of them, like this inflatable photo studio, were bad ideas from the start. But there are many others that make you go, “Huh...wish I’d thought of that!”

Below, I’ve listed just a handful of the best gadgets I came upon in my search. Enjoy!

Camera Canopy 

camera canopy 1

The Camera Canopy attaches to the hot-shoe mount on your camera and extends outward from the camera body to protect it and the lens from rain and snow.

What’s so genius about this innovative photography gadget is that it’s completely adjustable and works with any lens up to 500mm in length. If you happen to have a lens longer than that, you can custom-order a Camera Canopy to fit.


The advantage of this over more traditional camera rain covers is that you’re left free to work unencumbered. There’s no reaching into a wet plastic bag to manipulate the camera controls - instead, your hands are free to work as you usually do and you can actually see the camera controls, all the while staying dry.

camera canopy banner

Better still, because it extends beyond your lens, you don’t have to worry about constantly wiping off the lens glass to remove water droplets.

In other words, if you tend to take photos in rainy or snowy environments, this little gadget is definitely worth a look!

Learn more about the Camera Canopy

Wolverine Data F2D Titan

I don't know about you, but the boxes upon boxes of old home movies, slides, and negatives in my attic are a little out of control...

That's why I invested in the Wolverine Data F2D Titan to digitize all those analog memories.

This thing is a Godsend for folks that need to bring their old family photos into the 21st Century. Learn why in my Wolverine Data Titan review.

It's an 8-in-1 rig that converts slides, 8mm movies, and Super 8 movies, as well as 35mm, 110, 126, 127, and APS film to digital. It even has a scanning function, too!

Using the F2D Titan is a breeze. Just use the speed-load adapters that are perfectly-sized for each format of slide or negative that you're scanning, press a button, and off you go.

Not only is this thing easy to use, but you can also see the digitized images on the 4.3-inch color LCD. You can also connect the unit to a computer or TV to view the results on a larger screen.

When you're ready to save, you can do so on the internal memory or opt to save on your own SD/SDHC memory card.

I appreciate the fact that the F2D Titan is fully self-contained, too - there's no need for software or a monitor or a computer!

Instead, all this portable little slide to digital converter needs is power and you'll be ready to digitize your photos.

Learn more about the Wolverine Data F2D Titan

HitCase iPhone Chest Mount

hitcase

If you’re the adventurous type and want to capture point of view photos or videos without buying an action camera, you might think about investing in the HitCase iPhone Chest Mount.

As the name implies, this gadget wraps around your chest and has a mounting bracket for your iPhone. That means you can play hands-free but still get epic shots as you ski, bike, hike, and do other fun activities.

At less than $20, it’s a lot cheaper than an action camera too!

Learn more about the HitCase iPhone Chest Mount

Insta360 Pro 360-Degree Camera 

 innovative photogrpahy gadgets insta360 pro

Coming in with a price tag of $4,599, the Insta360 Pro isn’t exactly cheap. It sure is cool, though!

This camera has optical flow image stitching that gets you ultra-precise, seamless 360-degree images. With a built-in gyroscope, you won’t have to worry about camera shake messing up your shots either!

innovative photography gadgets insta360

What’s more, it offers real-time image stitching and preview, so you can instantaneously see the results you get in beautiful high-definition on a laptop, your phone, or VR goggles.

Speaking of high-definition, this thing also records video in 8K UHD. It’ll take 3D still photos and 3D video, too. If you want to live stream, you can do so in either traditional 360-degree format or in 360-degree 3D.

You can capture high-quality audio with the four built-in microphones, or if you prefer, you can utilize an external mic.

innovative photogrpahy gadgets insta360

This innovative photography gadget has a 5000 mAh removable battery that can charge while you’re shooting. It has an ultra-light frame and detachable base, which makes it easy to maneuver this rig.

If that’s not enough to impress, this camera records at up to 100,000 fps, so you can create ultra-slow motion videos in 4K. Not bad, right?

Learn more about the Insta360 Pro 360-Degree Camera

X-Rite i1 Display Pro and ColorChecker

x rite colorchecker 

Get the colors spot-on in your photos with this color checker gadget by X-Rite. 

This bundle has calibration solutions for monitors and projectors so you can get the ideal on-screen color accuracy for editing your shots.

There are two user modes - basic and advanced - for making quick and detailed adjustments to the calibration. Doing so will reduce the time you spend processing images and give you more time to actually be out taking photos!

Learn more about the X-Rite i1 Display Pro and ColorChecker

Woodsum Pinhole Camera  

innovative photography gadgets woodsum

If you want to have a retro photography experience, your very own pinhole camera is a great way to do it.

The Woodsum Pinhole Camera is presently on Kickstarter, and as you might have guessed, it’s made of wood. Each piece is handcrafted from high-quality wood and is finished with a UV coating to protect it. 

You assemble the camera yourself, which, if you ask me, is part of its charm. 

It takes 35mm film, so you can experience what it was like in the “old days” before digital photography!

Learn more about the Woodsum Pinhole Camera



We Recommend


Landscape Photography Tips for Bad Weather

Landscape Photography Tips for Bad Weather

 Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

When you’re taking pictures in bad weather, it’s really easy to get frustrated. 

The rain might cloud up your lens, you might be freezing cold or way, way too hot, and the sun never comes through the clouds during a good time.

Bad weather photography can be miserable, but, man, can it be rewarding, too!

That’s why we put this list together of tips for taking pictures in the rain, or in any bad weather for that matter.

Know What to Shoot on Bad Weather Days

landscape photography tips

Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash 

This is the number one thing I’ve had to tell photography students who live in challenging climates, like say Iceland or the Pacific Northwest. You need to learn what photographs well in the rain and snow.

As an example, if the weather forecast calls for a 95% chance of rain, thinking you might grab some beautiful sunset shots tonight would be an amateur move.

Instead, think about what photographs well during an overcast day. The list is long, but it primarily circles around water. Waterfalls, streams, forests and anything really green that requires a lot of water to grow all works well when clouds are in abundance.

Like in the photo above, a little bit of rain served to darken the earth while bringing out the bright colors in the foliage. The rain clouds also give the shot tons of mood in the viewer’s mind.

If you’re looking for cooler, maybe even creepier tones for your portrait photography, then an overcast day is the perfect time to shoot them.

Learn More:

Twilight Light is Best for Bad Weather Photography

landscape photography gear

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash 

Gray clouds equal gray light almost all of the time. While you can use this darker lighting to your advantage like I talked about above, you can also exhibit your photographer’s intuition and shoot during twilight on rainy days.

As you science nerds know, blue light filters through the clouds the most during twilight. This allows you to capture colorful photos despite the inclement weather.

A pro photography tip for shooting during bad weather: make sure to set your white balance to a daylight preset or else it may try to balance that wonderful blue light for you.

Landscape Photography Tip: Patience is the Key

landscape photography gear for bad weather

  photo byclintspencer via iStock

One of the most impressive photojournalists I know smooth talked her way past government workers in order to take a ride on a four-wheeler up a mud-filled mountain. Why did she do this, you ask? Because she had just crashed her car sliding all the way off the mountain in an attempt to get a photo.

She was determined to get the shot. And, like any professional photographer, you need to be too. 

While it isn’t comfortable to let rain or sleet pound you for two hours, it might be necessary in order to capture that perfect picture.

The only thing I don’t condone is putting your life in danger due to the bad weather!

Landscape Photography Gear for Bad Weather 

landscape photography gear for bad weather 2 

photo by photovideostock via iStock 

I never like to make umbrella statements when I’m giving photography advice, but bad weather days are the perfect excuse to bust our that old wide angle lens you have in the back of your closet.

A wider focal length means that you can use a slower shutter speed, and a slower shutter speed means your camera is taking in more light.

landscape photography gear for bad weather 3

photo by miniloc via iStock 

I fully admit there's been a time or two that I've completely forgotten my tripod at home.

That's unfortunate, because tripods are an essential tool, but even more essential during a bad weather day shoot. You don’t have as much light, so your exposure times are going to be longer. 

If you don’t have a camera with image stabilizing capabilities, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when the perfect shot comes up and you missed it because didn’t have a means of stabilizing your camera to keep camera shake at bay.

The third thing I never forget when I’m going out for a photography shoot during a thunderstorm is the Camera Canopy.

I hate messing with those horrific plastic bags to try and keep my camera dry and my lens free of water droplets. They usually don’t work and are never worth the hassle.

The Camera Canopy is $88, so it’s affordable; it’s a small company, so their customer service is really great, too. 

They even have a 30-day refund policy if you don’t like it more than a plastic bag (which, let’s be honest - this thing is vastly superior to sticking your head under a bag!).

The moral of the story here is that bad weather can actually be a blessing for your photos. It can add drama and mystique to otherwise blah shots. And the challenge of working in adverse conditions will only make you a better photographer in the long run.

So, grab your gear and get out there for some drama-filled bad weather photos!

Learn More:



We Recommend


Mirrorless Camera Accessories You Need Right Now

Mirrorless Camera Accessories You Need Right Now

Photo by Jeff David King on Unsplash

I don’t want to say that the days of the DSLR are done, but I can’t help but wonder how many more years that the likes of Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other major companies will continue to make them.

With so many mirrorless cameras now available, and with Canon and Nikon jumping into the mirrorless deep end as of late, more and more photographers are bound to make the switch to mirrorless. 

The question is, once you go mirrorless, what accessories do you need to complete your kit? 

Here’s a few recommendations that I’ve enjoyed using with my Nikon Z7, Panasonic GH5, and Sony a6400 as of late.

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: Haida 77mm NanoPro Multi-coated Circular Polarizer Filter

mirrorless camera accessories haida 1 

I picked up a Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 lens a few months ago for my Sony a6400, and I enjoy using that combination of camera and lens for shooting landscapes.

On the a6400, which is a crop sensor camera, this lens has an effective focal length of 27mm, which isn’t as wide as I’d like for some landscapes, yet it still provides a pleasing view of the subject matter. 

More to the point, this lens is ludicrously sharp, so elements from near to far are rendered in gorgeous detail.

mirrorelss camera accessories haida 2 

Helping matters is my Haida 77mm NanoPro circular polarizing filter.

At just $80, it won’t break the bank, which is a good thing since that Zeiss lens isn’t exactly cheap.

But just because it’s an affordable filter doesn’t mean that it skimps on performance…

Like any quality circular polarizer, this filter helps reduce reflections and glare off of water and non-metallic surfaces while also minimizing atmospheric haze.

On top of that, the filter boosts the contrast in the sky, making the white clouds brighter and the blue atmosphere deeper and more saturated.

mirrorless camera accessories haida 3

And since this filter is made of optical glass, I get excellent clarity, contrast, and color fidelity.

Additionally, Haida has incorporated 10 layers of multi-coatings to minimize reflections, protect the filter, and reduce the need for cleaning because oils and water bead off the surface of the filter.

I appreciate the thin mount on this filter, too - just 5mm thick, it doesn’t cause vignetting when used with a wide-angle lens.

This is just a well constructed and well-designed filter that will help you achieve improved photos with your mirrorless camera. 

Learn more about the Haida 77mm NanoPro circular polarizing filter

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: E-Image EK650 Professional Video Tripod

e image ek 650 1 

When I’m out shooting videos with my Panasonic GH5, I need a good, solid tripod to support the camera, and for that, the E-Image EK650 is a great choice.

Not only does this tripod support up to 11 pounds of gear, but it also offers a nice height range of 30.5-66” so I can vary the eye level of the footage I’m shooting.

The fluid head that comes with the tripod has a 75mm bowl and a fixed counterbalance that allows it to support the weight of your gear. There are also independent pan and tilt locks, a quick-release plate, and a removable right-sided pan bar.

e image ek650 2

The tripod has twist leg locks that make for easy setup and help prevent accidental disengagement of the lock, as sometimes occurs with flip-lock mechanisms.

To give the tripod more support, there’s a removable mid-level spreader that improves stability as well as removable rubber feet with spikes underneath, which are perfect for uneven or slippery terrain. 

e image ek650 3

At around nine pounds, this tripod is lightweight enough to easily carry from one location to the next, too.

This tripod has been a durable, reliable rig addition to my kit and has proven its worth whether I’m filming in the studio, in the city, in the country, and points in between. And at $200, it’s well-priced!

Learn more about the E-Image EK650 Professional Video Tripod

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: HEX Ranger Sling Bag

hex brand 1 

Okay, okay, the HEX Ranger Sling Bag is marketed as a DSLR bag, but this thing is so versatile and so well put together that it can certainly be used to carry mirrorless gear like my Nikon Z7. 

What makes this a great mirrorless bag is that it is designed with the utmost attention to detail and use of space.

Where other sling bags are on the bulky side and often don’t fit you all that well, the HEX Ranger fits snugly (but not too snugly!) and stays in place on your bag as you maneuver around.

mirrorless camera accessores hex ranger 2

Shooting with a mirrorless camera is all about taking advantage of its small form factor and light weight, and this bag mirrors that.

It weighs just 1.3 pounds and measures 14.5"L x 7.25"W x 4.75"H. As you can see above, it hugs your body and is totally unobtrusive, yet easily accessible to get your gear.

Speaking of access, this bag has a large top opening to access your gear and tons of pockets for storing your phone, glasses, keys, tablet, memory cards and other items.

hex ranger sling 3

This bag is made of premium, water-resistant Cordura and has genuine YKK zippers with custom metal pulls that offer superior durability and performance.

Inside, the fold-out bottom panel allows the bag to be folded flat for packing while the fleece-lined main compartment offers configurable and removable partitions to keep your gear safe and sound.

HEX simply thought of everything when they designed this bag. And since it can hold eight liters of gear, you can bring your mirrorless camera, a couple of lenses, a tablet, and other accessories, no problem! 

Learn more about the HEX Ranger Sling Bag

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: Camera Canopy

camera canopy 1

Try as you might to predict the weather and rely on the weather forecast, at some point you’re going to be out shooting and find yourself in a rain storm that wasn’t expected. 

More to the point, there are many occasions when you might want to go out shooting, only to find that the weather is rainy and dreary. That shouldn’t stop you from going out to take photos, though.

A while back, I picked up a Camera Canopy for my Nikon Z7, and it has been a great addition to my kit for those days when the rain just won’t go away.

camera canopy 2

What’s so clever about the Camera Canopy is that it attaches to the hot-shoe mount of the camera and covers both the camera body and lens from above.

That means that you have unencumbered access to the camera’s buttons and LCD, which is certainly not the case when you use a typical bag-like rain cover. 

What’s more, since the Camera Canopy extends beyond the end of the lens, it protects the lens glass from moisture so you can shoot during a downpour without worrying that water droplets are going to interfere with the shot.

If you’re a landscape photographer with a mirrorless camera, Camera Canopy is a must-have for your kit!

Learn more about the Camera Canopy for Mirrorless Cameras

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: Litra Torch LitraPro 

litrapro 1

No matter if you’re taking still photos, videos, working in the studio, or working in the field, having a solid light source is a must. 

But what you don’t want is to lug around big, heavy lighting gear, which is why the Litra Torch LitraPro is my go-to light.

Measuring just 2.8 x 2 x 1.2" and weighing 6 ounces, this little light is ultra-portable and won’t take up hardly any space in your camera bag (that’s it on top of my Sony a6400 below).

But don’t think that because it fits in the palm of your hand that it doesn’t pack a mighty punch…

With 60 LEDs that can pump out 1200 lumens of brightness, this little light punches above its weight class.

Not only that, but the LitraPro is a full-spectrum bi-color light so you can adjust the color temperature (from 3000-6000K) to suit the specific shooting situation.

It puts out good quality light, too, with a CRI of 95.

On top of all that, this light has a 10-hour rechargeable battery, multiple mounting points, Bluetooth, and is waterproof up to 90 feet. 

In other words, it’s a go-anywhere, do-anything light!

Learn more about the Litra Torch LitraPro

Top Mirrorless Camera Accessories: Batteries and Battery Chargers

sony a6400 charger 

Mirrorless cameras don’t offer the same battery performance as their DSLR cousins, so it’s important to have extra juice on your outings. 

For all three of my mirrorless cameras, I have three spare batteries, all of which are fully charged the night before a shoot. 

Likewise, a dual battery charger enables faster charging, that way they’re ready to roll for the next day.

Though batteries and chargers aren’t as sexy as the items outlined earlier, they’re still a necessity!

 



We Recommend


Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100

must have camera accessories under 80photo by anyaberkut via iStock

When you're on a budget, you're probably wondering where your next credit card payment is going to come from instead of wondering which new camera accessory you can add to your equipment. 

But, most companies (maybe not Canon, as we demonstrated in our latest article) are catching on to this trend and creating cheap camera equipment just for you. 

Here are our top five inexpensive, must-have camera accessories (all under $100).

Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100: Camera Canopy

camera canopy

We've talked about Camera Canopy a few times on our blog before, but it's because we truly can't believe how well something this cheap works. 

For $88, the Camera Canopy protects your precious equipment from the elements. If you've ever worked with traditional rain protection, then you know how badly the ole' plastic bag trick works. Your lens always ends up with water on it right when you're about to get the shot you've waited hours for and, if the weather is really bad, your camera could endure serious damage.

camera protection

The Camera Canopy has two layers of protection, unlike a plastic bag, it mounts to your camera, and it works with lenses up to 500mm in length. 

We can honestly say the camera canopy is the best deal on our cheap equipment gear list if you're regularly shooting outdoors. 

Plus, Camera Canopy is a small business that operates out of New York, so you're supporting American goods with your purchase. You also have a month to play around with your new tool because they have a 30-day money back guarantee.

Editor's Tip: I've had a Camera Canopy for several months now, and though I initially picked it up simply to test it out, it's proven its worth over and over again. Not only is it well built and durable, but it's also easy to use. I'm also not the most patient person in the world, so being able to actually see my camera and manipulate the controls without having to reach inside a frustrating rain cover is a Godsend. To see what I mean, you can purchase your own Camera Canopy here.

Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100: 5-in-1 Reflector Kit

cheap camera equipment

This 5-in-1 reflector kit rings in at $35 on Adorama and provides different moods for your photography.

The white reflector works to produce catch lights in portraits, the golden reflector creates romantic mood lighting, and the silver reflector enhances skin tones. Each reflector saves you money in the end by preventing you from purchasing more and more lights for your shoots. 

I also happen to be one of those photographers who misplace all of my equipment, so the carrying case is a handy add-on. 

Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100: LED Shooting Tent

must have accessories under 80 led tent

If you've never had the pleasure of shooting with a shooting tent before you have not lived. The first time I used one, I was charged with taking photographs of cookies at an internship in college.

I brought the tent home with me one night and figured out it worked to take phenomenal pictures of crap around my house that I then began to sell on Ebay. Long story short, I will forever thank the LED shooting tent for saving me from ever needing to take a badly-paying internship again.

These tents work for any small products, since the tent is 17 inches, and quickly pays for itself with a price tag under $50. 

Learn More:

Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100: Manfrotto Mini Tripod

 inexpensive photography gear

This mini-tripod is known for its stability, as is the whole Manfrotto lineup. 

It works with entry-level DSLRs, the iPhone and compact cameras. Plus, it's only $17and can stand up to 5.3 inches.

Since it’s so lightweight and portable, this little guy is perfect for travel photography. It has rubber feet to keep it from moving around on slippery surfaces, and since its little legs fold in to create a handy grip, it’s a good choice for stabilizing your camera when shooting handheld video.

Must-Have Camera Accessories Under $100: Flashpoint LED On-Camera Light

cheap photography gear

"It's rare but occasionally you find a gadget that is worth its weight in gold," reads one review on Adorama of this LED light. 

Another reviewer touts that this light works just as good as the leading brand's version, which sells for over 4 times more.

At $33, this bi-color LED on-camera light may not be worth its weight in gold, but it sure can illuminate a space. The light is surprisingly bright and reaches over 16 feet. 

I've had issues with cheap on-camera LED lights flickering before, but all of Flashpoint's inexpensive photography gear come with a 1-year warranty, so even if you encounter this problem, it won't be a problem for long!

Learn More:



We Recommend


Must-Have Tips for Winter Photography

Must Have Tips for Winter Photography

 photo by panaramka via iStock 

You can’t feel your fingers, or your toes, your hair is whipping at your face so hard you swear you’re going to get a buzz cut as soon as you get home and you’re trying incredibly hard to not get snow in your boots. 

It’s winter photography season, and when you’re worrying about not freezing to death, the last thing you want to be messing with is bad photography equipment. Winter photography can be absolutely stunning, and it’s definitely a foray into something most of us are not comfortable with, but you have to have to know your equipment to do it well. 

First Things First: Test Your Gear

tips for winter photography 1

Photo by Arno Body on Unsplash 

What temperature range can your DSLR handle during winter photography? Do you know? Most DSLRs can handle temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which means no shooting in freezing temperatures for you.  

But, newer or more high-end DSLRs can handle temperatures even colder than this, specifically for winter photography. 

tips for winter photography 2

 Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

The good news is you’re not going to permanently damage your camera by taking it outside for a few minutes to see how it performs under the current weather conditions. Chances are, it will probably be fine, but you want to check your full setup before trekking up a mountain pass. 

 

Editor's Tip: One of my must-haves in my camera bag is a durable, bright light. For that, I use the LitraTorch 2.0 because it's supremly rugged, small, and portable. It's waterproof too. With 16 LEDs that emit 100, 450, or 800 lumens, you can use it for light painting, to see as you change camera settings, as a torch...you name it! It's simply a versatile, go-anywhere light that any landscape photographer should have in their bag.

 

Tips for Winter Photography: Invest in High-Quality Accessories

polarpro summit 4

Something that will make shooting photos in the winter an easier task is if you have camera accessories that are purpose-built to withstand harsh conditions.

One of the most important accessories for photographers is a good set of filters, but all filters are not made alike.

For the rough-and-tumble task of taking photos in the winter, you want something like the Summit series from PolarPro...

This system has an integrated circular polarizer slot that has easy-access control for manipulating the filter when your fingers are cold.

polarpro summit 2

What's more, the Summit system has tool-free mounting options, a tool-less rail mount, and a snap-on hood attachment that make using this system a breeze, even when the weather isn't all that awesome.

PolarPro has made the Summit system super lightweight, too, so you don't have to carry a big, heavy, bulky set of filters around with you as you trudge through the snow.

polarpro summit 1

It helps that each filter has an aluminum frame, as that reduces fingerprints on the filter glass while also maximizing protection for the filter.

And since these filters are available in 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, 82mm, and 95mm, you can find the right size for your specific needs.

If you're a landscape photographer and you don't have a good set of filters, the PolarPro Summit system is an excellent option for you for winter photography (and any other types of landscapes too!).

Tips for Winter Photography: Help Prevent Condensation

Matt Granger created a lovely video detailing how to prevent condensation in your equipment.

But, no matter how hard you try, when you’re moving equipment from the cozy indoors to snowy conditions, condensation will form, just like condensation forms on the windows of your car as soon as you get in. 

My best trick for how to prevent condensation in your camera is this: I always keep a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in my camera bag. I’ll stuff my camera and lenses in it before I head outdoors so that way it can cool to the outside temperature before I expose it to any moisture.

winter photography tips 1

photo by z1b via iStock 

Another pro winter photography tip is to stop putting your camera in your coat when it isn’t in use. While it may seem like you’re helping the camera to not get too cold, all you’re really doing is warming it up and cooling it down over and over again, which is what we were just trying to prevent with the Ziploc bag. 

Learn More:

Tips for Winter Photography: Keep Snow Away From Your Camera 

I can’t talk about winter photography without touching on winter photography gear tips. I’m currently obsessed with Camera Canopy.

For one thing, this beautiful little contraption is only $90 (or $60 if you own a mirrorless camera you need to protect). For another, it’s made by a small, photographer-owned company, so by supporting it, you’re supporting a fellow photographer. 

camera canopy banner

The Camera Canopy works better than a traditional camera rain cover, I can assure you. Plus, it’s extremely easy to set up, so you won’t need to fumble with your equipment while trying to mount it. 

All you have to do is attach the Camera Canopy to the hot shoe of your DSLR, and you’re ready to shoot.  

Additionally, if you’re prone to shoot way too far into a snow storm than you probably should, as I am, it also comes with a rear shield for complete protection.

 Visit Camera Canopy’s website if you want to learn more. 

Tips for Winter Photography: Keep Memory Cards and Batteries Warm

Jared Polin discusses a few tips for keeping your battery warm while shooting winter photography, but here are some more tips for winter photography.

Batteries the world over all work the exact same way, they’re worthless in the cold. While the rumors you’ve heard about lithium-ion batteries working better in extreme temperatures is true, even lithium-ion batteries quickly power down in freezing weather. 

Never go shooting in extreme cold without keeping several spare batteries stored in your jacket pockets. 

winter photography gear tips

 photo by bruev via iStock 

As for memory cards, it may be time to update yours. Older memory cards perform worse in extreme temperatures, and photography gear companies are coming out with better cold-proofed memory cards every year.

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


Practical Gear Tips for Taking Photos in the Rain

Practical Gear Tips for Taking Photos in the Rain

photo by luxizeng via iStock

While many of us would prefer to head outside and shoot photos in perfect weather, sometimes the rain can’t be avoided. 

What’s more, cloudy, rainy weather can present opportunities to create unique photos that are a departure from the norm. There’s a wonderful moodiness about the rain, don’t you think?

Of course, you can’t just run outside with your camera when it’s raining.

Instead, you need to plan and prepare so your outing is a successful one.

Here’s a few practical gear tips for taking photos in the rain to get you started!

Taking Photos in the Rain: Keep Your Gear Dry

taking photos in the rain get geared up  

When you’re out in the wet, you need to get your gear to your shoot location without it getting completely soaked. A weatherproof camera bag will do just the trick. 

Picking a camera bag is a highly personal process because the best camera bag for me might not be the best camera bag for you. 

That is, I prefer a backpack style bag, like the Peak Design Everyday Backpack shown above and below, because it’s weatherproof, has a ton of room for my gear, and the large shoulder straps make it easy and comfortable to carry.

 taking photos in the rain get geared up

But some folks prefer a sling bag. Others like a shoulder bag. Yet others find that a roller bag works best for them.

Whatever type of bag you think you’d prefer, be sure when you’re shopping to do your due diligence and select a bag that has an exterior coating, a shell, or an integrated rain cover that will keep your expensive photography gear nice and dry.

Of course, simply keeping your gear dry on the way to the shoot location isn’t enough. Once there, you want to protect your camera and lens from moisture.

You can get a rain cover for your camera and lens, but you might find (as I have) that universal-fit covers don’t fit at all. They’re either too tight or too baggy, and in the case of the latter, they just get in your way.

What’s more, a rain cover doesn’t protect the lens glass from getting wet, so you constantly have to stop shooting and dry off the lens. 

camera canopy

I discovered a product just a couple of days ago that seems like it would resolve this issue: the Camera Canopy.

This ingenious device attaches to the hot-shoe mount on your camera and extends outward to provide protection to the camera body and lens.

It’s totally adjustable and will work with any camera and any lens up to 500mm in length. If you have longer lenses, custom canopy sizes are available.

camera canopy 2

Since the Camera Canopy is clear, you can actually see what you’re doing and easily see the camera settings. Your hands are free as well, so you can more easily make adjustments - which is tough to do when you use a rain cover.

In other words, the Camera Canopy solves a variety of problems you might encounter when shooting in the rain. It keeps your gear dry, keeps rain off your lens glass, affords you a clear view of what you’re doing, and makes adjustments to camera settings a breeze.

What’s not to like about that?!

Learn more about the Camera Canopy

 

camera canopy banner

 

Taking Photos in the Rain: Keep Yourself Dry Too 

Taking Photos in the Rain Keep Yourself Dry Too

 photo by mladenbalinovac via iStock

If you ask me, there’s nothing as miserable as being cold and wet. Yet there have been more than a few times in my life when I’ve suffered through those very conditions to get the shot I wanted. 

That’s not the case anymore, though. 

I have tried so many different “waterproof” jackets over the years that were definitely not waterproof that I was beginning to wonder if such a thing actually existed.

It does!

columbia jacket 

I have the Columbia Heatzone 1000 TurboDown II Jacket, and this thing is absolutely waterproof.

We had several days of rain a couple of weeks ago, and I wore this sucker out in the downpour and came back in completely dry. 

It’s warm, too - I had a day in the mountains several weeks back and though it was chilly out with snow on the ground, I was roasty toasty thanks to the innovative 3D thermal reflective lining that radiates my body heat back toward me.

Seriously...if you spend any time at all outdoors taking photos in the rain, this jacket will become your go-to real quick!

columbia boot 

I highly recommend the Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV to keep your feet warm and dry as well.

I picked up a pair of these bad boys last fall, and whenever I’m headed to higher elevations, you can bet these things are on my feet.

They have the same omni-heat reflective thermal lining plus 200 grams of insulation underneath the footbed. Add in waterproof, seam-sealed construction, and you have the makings of the perfect boot for taking photos in the rain.

 Wrapping It Up 

Taking Photos in the Rain Keep Yourself Dry Too

photo by eldinhoid via iStock 

Though this certainly isn’t a complete list of all the rain gear you can use as a photographer, it’ll definitely get you started.

You need dry gear, and you need to stay dry, too, and with the items I’ve highlighted above, that’s exactly what you’ll get!



We Recommend


Quick & Easy Spring Photography Tips

Quick Easy Spring Photography Tips

Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

Spring is one of my favorite seasons to be a photographer. Whether you’re a landscape photographer, a wedding photographer, or are in the events space, exciting things are happening in March, April and May.

But, as is always the case, I’m trying to push myself during this season to grow in my photographic skills and pursue some projects I haven’t before. 

If you’d like to join me on this journey, here are some easy spring photography tips for you. 

Focus on the Details

spring photography tips 1

  photo byKarenHBlack via iStock

Bokeh, lighting, patterns and backgrounds are all details you can focus on in your spring photography. 

Since spring photography is all about reinvigorating the senses, you’ll want to focus on finding as much light, new growth and texture as possible. 

For instance, if your spring photography looks more like flower photography then you can use bokeh to capture a single flower amidst a buttery background of other flowers. Just make sure to use a wide aperture

spring photography 2

 photo byTonyFuse via iStock

This technique isn’t limited to just flowers, either. 

Using a shallow depth of field allows you to zero in on any subject and render the background beautifully blurred.

Find ladybugs or other insects, take a pet portrait, or make a single leaf on a branch your subject. Whatever the case, focusing on the details will help you practice your creative and technical skills.

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Spring is Perfect for Portraits 

photography gear for spring weather 3

Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash 

I try to take all of my personal portraits during spring, and I tell other people to do the same as part of my spring photography tips and tricks list. 

Portraits taken during spring have the added advantage of using gorgeous blooming backgrounds, and clients are more than willing to travel to find them.  

So not only are you practicing your portrait photography, but you’re getting out and traveling, which is a great time to do some location scouting.

photography gear for spring weather 4

 photo by fotostorm via iStock 

There’s also no time like springtime for street photography. Head to your nearest park and begin photographing people enjoying the warmth for the first time in months. 

Again, widen that aperture, minimize the depth of field, and see how beautiful a tack-sharp portrait subject can be against a bokeh-filled background!

Learn More:

Shoot at Dawn 

flower photography tips 5

 photo byvalio84sl via iStock

Of all my spring photography tips, this one can really be applied to any season. However, shooting at dawn during the spring helps you to capture the natural beauty of your locations because you can catch the dew and mist of this fun season. 

Shooting dew on flowers adds another layer of texture to your photos that you barely have to work for and a field full of dewy flowers is incredibly ambient.

photography gear for spring weather 6

 photo by ElenaBelozorova via iStock 

You can also add some mood to your photographs by shooting spring photography at dawn.  

While misty fields can look otherworldly, misty and foggy roads and houses can be a little creepy. Have fun with it! 

Just be aware that fog can really mess with your camera’s metering system. Get a few tips on how to photograph foggy landscapes to overcome this issue.

Use Backlighting

photography gear for spring weather 7

 photo by Pawel Gaul via iStock 

Unless you’re regularly taking photos of couples, you’re probably not using backlighting nearly as much as you should be. Spring photography provides the perfect outlet for you to perfect this skill since the light is so bright for the first time in months.

When using a backlighting technique, your camera can encounter difficulties with metering and focusing. 

Most cameras use matrix or evaluative metering that assess the light that’s available by measuring light at various points throughout the entire scene. 

But when the scene is backlit, the bright background and darker subject in front of it can lead to an underexposed image.

The simplest solution to this problem is to use exposure compensation to brighten the image. One or two stops should work great. 

Gear Tips for Spring Photography

Now that you have all the spring photography tips you’re going to need, you’ll also need some gear. 

Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of photography gear for spring weather that will keep you comfortable but won’t break the bank. 

An All-Weather Camera Strap

Holdfast 1

The Vegan Leather Money Maker is the perfect camera strap for the spring because you can get it wet all you want and it will remain comfortable and pliable. 

We chose the Money Maker specifically because it allows you to hold two cameras at once, which prevents lost time making lens changes in the very early morning hours.

Holdfast, the creator of the Money Maker, also has a lifetime guarantee on all of their products, so you know that this $195 purchase will be the last camera strap purchase you ever have to make. 

An Easy-to-Use Rain Cover

Camera Canopy

Plastic rain covers that barely work are out, and the Camera Canopy is in. While you are going to be fine in the rain thanks to the vegan leather Money Maker, your camera might not be weatherproof. If so, it’s going to need some help.

Well, the Camera Canopy, which comes in different sizes for your DSLR or your mirrorless camera, keeps your camera protected from rain, snow and sleet by connecting directly to your hotshoe. 

Camera Canopy 2

For under $90 (DSLR) and $60 (mirrorless), we think this is the cheapest insurance you can buy for your camera. Plus, it’s far easier to use than those gross plastic bags that encompass the back of your camera. 

Instead, the Camera Canopy sits on top of your camera so you have easy access to the LCD and controls. It’s a win-win!

A Circular Polarizer

Kenko 1

Last but not least, you’ll want to add a circular polarizer to your kit.

Kenko’s Slim Circular Polarizer is available for just $43, which is the least amount of money you’re going to spend on a circular polarizer that will last you a lifetime. 

Springtime is all about blue skies and storms rolling in, and with a circular polarizer, you can enhance the look of the sky.

spring photography 8

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash 

A polarizer boosts contrast in the sky, making the blue of the atmosphere deeper and the white color of the clouds brighter. 

Polarizers also minimize glare off of non-metallic surfaces, like water. This comes in handy when you come across a pond, lake or other body of water and want to be able to see down into the water, rather than be blinded by the sun’s reflection. 

With a polarizer, rain protection for your camera, and an all-weather camera strap, you’ll be ready to rock this spring!

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


Spring Flower Photography Tips

Spring Flower Photography Tips

Photo by Marivi Pazos on Unsplash

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, spring is just around the corner. And with it, comes the opportunity to photograph flowers. 

Flowers are perfect subjects for photography because they have gorgeous color, beautiful details, interesting shapes, and they stay still!

What’s more, with spring weather often comes cloudy days, which are ideal for flower photography, as well as rain showers, which leave water droplets on flowers that add a wonderful bit of interest to your photos.

With all that in mind, here are a few spring flower photography tips to help you maximize the results you get.

Spring Flower Photography Tip #1: Keep an Eye on the Weather

flower photography tips

photo by Fenneke Smouter via iStock 

It might seem like a bright, sun-filled spring day is ideal for flower photography, but a cloudy day is actually much better.

On a sunny day, harsh highlights and shadows can abound in your photos. Conversely, cloudy days have much softer light that’s perfect for highlighting all the small details of a flower.

Clouds act like a huge diffuser, so rather than getting deep shadows that hide some of the details of the flower, you get soft light that falls evenly on the flower.

Not only is this advantageous from an aesthetic perspective, but it will also help you get an improved exposure.

Quick Tip: The best time to photograph flowers is usually in the early morning. Wind is typically light in the mornings and you’ll find more insect activity in the morning as well. Early morning light is soft and golden, too, which can add a pleasing element to your images.

Learn More:

Spring Flower Photography Tip #2: Protect Your Gear 

how to photograph flowers

  photo by PamelaJoeMcFarlane via iStock

Springtime often means unpredictable weather, and the last thing you want is to be caught in a rain shower without a means of protecting your camera gear.

You don’t want to quit shooting during a rainstorm, either, because the droplets of water on flowers make for a gorgeous subject.

You can opt for a traditional rain cover, but the problem with them is that they’re so restrictive.

Not only do you have to reach your hands into the cover to make adjustments to camera settings, but it’s also incredibly difficult to even see what you’re doing with the camera covered up.

What’s more, traditional camera covers don’t cover the end of the lens, so you constantly have to wipe rain off of the lens.

camera canopy

Fortunately, Camera Canopy exists to resolve those issues.

Since it mounts to the hot-shoe mount and sits above your camera, you can freely access your camera’s dials and buttons to make quick adjustments.

Additionally, there’s no cover obscuring your view, so you can more easily compose shots, check the histogram, review your images, and so on.

Notice in the image above how the back of my camera is completely open, just as it should be!

camera canopy

Camera Canopy can be adjusted to fit any number of lenses up to 500mm in length, so the macro, wide-angle, and standard lenses you need for flower photography will be well-covered.

Of course, since Camera Canopy is adjustable, all you need to do is extend the rain shield to accommodate longer lenses. 

Below, you can see how the Camera Canopy offers my 70-200mm lens just fine.

camera canopy

What’s so nice about using this device is that it’s easy to install and it can be used for different pursuits.

Shield your camera and lens for flower photography in your backyard, then put a longer lens on your camera, grab Camera Canopy, and head to the mountains for some wildlife photography.

camera canopy banner

And because it extends over the end of your lens, Camera Canopy helps you avoid the constant need to wipe your lens clean.

That means that with Camera Canopy, you can keep on shooting beautiful spring flower photos, even if the weather isn’t all that beautiful!

Spring Flower Photography Tip #3: Get In Close 

landscape photography gear

  photo by SundeepGoel  via iStock

One of the best attributes of flowers is the intricate details of their petals. And while photos that include many flowers can be beautiful, it’s also worth your time to get some close-up shots.

As you can see above, getting in close allows you to create a much more intimate photo that highlights the small details of the flower.

Note how the center of the flower - where the most delicate features are - is perfectly sharp. This is important because just like you want a person’s eyes to be sharp in a portrait, you want to perfect the focus of flower photos to draw the viewer’s attention to the center of the flower.

Quick Tip: To get the image sharp, use your camera’s single point autofocus feature. Doing so allows you pinpoint the area on which the camera will focus. Learn more about autofocus modes here.

Learn More: 

Spring Flower Photography Tip #4: Shoot From Different Angles

landscape photography tips

photo byborchee via iStock

When tackling spring flower photography, it’s important to remember that not every shot you take has to be looking down at the middle of the flower.

Instead, move around the flower to capture different points of view. You might shoot across the flower for a profile shot. Alternatively, you can hoot upward from below the flower to highlight how light filters through its petals.

flower photography tips

 Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

By offering alternative points of view, you’ll be able to create images that are more unique and have more visual appeal as well.

Spring Flower Photography Tip #5: Use Color as a Compositional Tool

how to photograph flowers 1

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash 

One way to make a flower stand out amongst other flowers is to ensure that the background is free of clutter and distractions.

You can also use color to bring attention to the primary subject.

For example, you can adjust your shooting angle such that similar colored flowers aren’t directly behind the subject flower. 

Spring Flower Photography Tips 1

photo by borchee via iStock

In the sample image above, shooting from this angle put the purple tulips on a green background, making it stand out much more.

Look for complementary and contrasting colors when taking this approach, and you’ll get much more pleasing results.

Quick Tip: Minimize the depth of field to get a nicely blurred background. If you aren’t sure how to do that, check out this tutorial. 



We Recommend


The Best of 2019

best of 2019Photo by Lyndon Stratford via iStock

As we near the end of 2019 (and the decade!), it's a prime time to look back on the year in photography.

It's been a crazy year with so many incredible innovations happening. I say that every year, but every year it's the truth!

When I think about the best photography gear, gadgets, products, and services, I think about things that are functional, easy to use, and innovative.

The list I've compiled below is full of products that tick these boxes...

Each item I've included on my Best of 2019 list is something that I have at the very least thoroughly tested or that I own.

With that said, here's a few items that blew me away in 2019.

Argraph Marumi M100 Filter System

marumi m100 holder

One of the hallmarks of the companies featured on this list is that they have all innovated the photography industry in some way.

For Marumi, their claim to fame isn’t just crafting some of the best filter systems available today, but creating filter systems that streamline your workflow in the field.

Marumi’s Magnetic M100 Filter Holder and their line of magnetic filters are just what the doctor ordered for photographers that are sick of sliding filters in and out of their holders.

The M100 filter holder sports a slim 10mm design with strong magnetic attachments that hold the filter in place. The foam gaskets on the filter holder ensure that there are no light leaks to ruin your photos.

marumi circular polarizer

If using a circular polarizer, it rotates independently in the filter holder and features water and oil-repellent coatings on both sides that minimizes clean up.

The filter also has anti-static-anti-scratch, and anti-reflection properties that ensure you have the ideal shooting experience.

marumi soft ND

The other magnetic filters in Marumi’s lineup have the same features, including their graduated ND filters and solid ND Filters.

The graduated ND filters include hard-edge, soft-edge (as shown above), and reverse grads for photographing landscapes with a definite horizon, a variable horizon, and at sunrise and sunset, respectively.

marumi solid nd

Of course, there are also many different solid ND filters available from 2-stops all the way up to 15-stops.

Like the other Marumi filters mentioned above, these ND filters are made of durable Schott 5270 glass that offers high-definition results.

When photographing landscapes, the quality of light can change from one second to the next. That’s why this magnetic system is so compelling - by reducing the time spent swapping out filters, you can spend more time photographing the beauty before you! 

Ikan E-Image Horizon One 3-Axis Gimbal

best photography products 2019

One of the most pleasant surprises for me this year was just how good the Ikan E-Image Horizon One 3-Axis Gimbal really is.

I use this rig with my Nikon Z7, and it absolutely rocks it in terms of helping me get ultra-smooth, cinematic-looking video.

This gimbal is extremely well built and feels solid and supremely sturdy in your hand.

Granted, my setup doesn't come close to meeting this gimbal's eight-pound load capacity, but I'm sure it could perform just as well if I used a heavier camera and lens package.

top photography products of 2019

The Horizon One has brushless motors that give you ultra-precise stabilization, and with the 12-hour runtime, you can shoot all day long without stopping to recharge the gimbal.

Built into the unit are five operational modes, including my personal favorite, "Dream Follow," which gives you 360-degree spin on the roll axis.

I can't even tell you how many gimbals I've tested and owned over the years - maybe more than a dozen!

And this rig is by far one of the very best.

It's impeccably built, full of features, and easy to use. If that doesn't say "Best of 2019," I don't know what does.

Ikan Onyx Digital Color LED Panel Light 

ikan onyx 1

I know what you're thinking...

How can a light be part of the Best of 2019?

Well, as you know, photography is all about great light, and the Ikan Onyx Digital Color Light definitely delivers on that front.

What I've found so impressive with this light is that it has RGB, white, and amber LEDs. And with five color modes, you can use this thing for just about any kind of photo shoot or video shoot.

In fact, in RGB mode, this light gives you independent control over the red, green, and blue LEDs, which means you can literally create millions of different colors to suit your needs and tastes.

Meanwhile, the amber and white LEDs give photographers the option of recreating daylight or tungsten light with incredible accuracy.

This light even has a CCT mode that offers an adjustable color temperature from 2800K up to 10,000K. You simply don't find that kind of range in most lights!

On top of that, the Onyx has a Hue Shift feature of green and magenta lights, giving you yet another option for exerting pinpoint control over the kind of light you have available to you.

ikan onyx 2

Ikan also stuffed the Onyx with eight special effects - like police lights and candle flames - as well as 33 different gels to give you even further light customization possibilities.

Heck, there's even a built-in 1/2-stop diffuser!

This is one of the best lights I've used this year, and the data backs it up - it has a CRI-TLCI rating of 95, so you know that the light it emits is clean and beautiful.

In my opinion, you just won't find a better light, which is why I've included it in my Best of 2019 list.

Exposure Software

I've been a fan of Exposure Software for a long time, and it just keeps getting better and better with more and more tools available that make editing photos a simpler, more streamlined process.

The latest version of Exposure - Exposure X5 - is brimming with innovative and easy-to-use features.

There's a huge collection of "Looks," which give you the power to change the appearance of the image with a simple click.

You can make selective presets too, that way the edits you want to apply only apply to specific areas of the image.

Exposure has all the basic editing tools you could want as well, including nondestructive layers, linear and radial gradients, a brush tool, overlays, creative focus, and more.

In addition to all that, Exposure is also a complete photo manager.

You can apply camera profiles and presets, migrate collections over from Lightroom, use keywords to manage and organize your images, and review images side-by-side for easy comparison.

Exposure also enables you to create smart collections of photos - just add specific criteria you want for the collection (i.e., rating, color label, flag, camera data, f-stop, and so forth) and Exposure will populate the collection for you.

Nice, right?!

 

One of my favorite features, though, is the 3D color masking tool in Exposure.

Basically, this tool gives you precise control over where an adjustment is applied in the shot. This is thanks to the range of definitions that Exposure uses to define adjustment areas, such as saturation, hue, and luminance.

Because you can target colors of a specific hue, for example, you can apply adjustments to specific areas of the shot, like the sky or to skin tones. You can do all this with just a few clicks, too!

From the intuitive user interface to the powerful editing tools to the suite of support features that help make your workflow smoother, Exposure has everything you need to create your best images. They even offer a free trial to give it a test drive!

Syrp

It's been a great year for Syrp...

They unveiled the Syrp Genie Mini II Linear this time last year to much fanfare.

If you're unfamiliar with this thing, the Genie Mini II Linear is incredibly portable and gives you the option to add motion control to your timelapse and films without lugging around a big, heavy piece of kit.

It can attach to any slider on the market and even cable cam systems up to 328’ in length, so you can quickly and easily upgrade your ability to capture gorgeous timelapses and real-time video.

Additionally, the Genie II Linear is loaded up with features for key-framing, shooting interviews, b-roll and timelapse with future available features including live view, and camera control for ramping exposure, just to name a few. It’s wirelessly controllable as well, via an iOS or Android device.

At the same time, Syrp introduced the Genie II Pan Tilt, which gives you an ultra-portable camera motion control that you can carry in your backpack. 

You can use it with a tripod for ultra-precise pan and tilt motion control, or if you want three-axis, use it in conjunction with the Genie II Linear for the most powerful 3-axis device on the market.

Like the Genie II Linear, the Pan Tilt offers tons of functionality, including timelapse and real-time video capabilities, key-framing, and much more. With multi-row Panoramas, you can capture high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images and shoot Panoramas all controlled from the app itself.

It also has a built-in screen so you don’t have to use the app if you don’t need it and you want to pack light, not to mention a built-in joystick for quick setup and re-positioning from the device itself. Not bad, right?!

After that, Syrp brought us the Tilt Platform, which allows you to get perfectly level, vertical footage.

It couldn't be easier to use, either...

It requires no tools, has angle markings to help you dial in accurate adjustments, and it has a 3/8-16" - 1/4-20" UNC thread adapter in the base to expand its mounting options.

Just use the easy-adjustable knob to change the lever tension to secure your camera, and away you go!

You can position the Tilt Platform up to 180-degrees, it can be used with motion control or manual sliders, and it'll hold up to 13.2 pounds of gear.

syrp

And as if all that isn't enough, Syrp just released a new app feature available through the Syrp Genie II app - stop motion.

This mode allows you to create stop motion videos more precisely (and faster) than ever.

You can set up any desired movement using the app's keyframe editor, and you have complete control over the video's frame rate.

Once you have the motion set up, all you have to do is move the motion controller to each frame and trigger the camera's shutter.

Stop motion videos have never been so easy to make!

Excire 

excire header excire search 1024x576

Excire is an innovative product that I became familiar with last year, and I just have to continue singing its praises. 

For me, there isn’t much that I hate doing more than manually tagging my photos in Lightroom. That’s why there are thousands and thousands of images in my Lightroom catalogs that aren’t tagged at all. 

Until now… 

excire header product en

What’s so great about Excire’s products - Excire Search and Excire Search Pro - is that they utilize artificial intelligence to tag your Lightroom photos for you. 

Yeah...we’re living in the future, my friends! 

Excire Search has 125 common keywords that can be used for tagging your images, so every shot you have of a mountain or a bike or a dog will be organized and easily identified. 

Excire Search can obviously be used to search your images as well. Just use the plugin to find the images in your catalog that meet your criteria!

excire header contact en

Even better, Excire Search Pro offers over 500 keywords for tagging, so you have even more capability to organize and search your photos.

It includes a keyword transfer function, too, which means you can use Excire Search Pro on your existing catalogs. That means no more hunting around for the images you need, even if you have an enormous Lightroom catalog of tens of thousands of images.

In other words, Excire transfers the keywords it extracts to your Lightroom catalog, and then those keywords can be used in Lightroom as if you had manually entered them.

excire header home en

Needless to say, Excire Search is a fantastic tool for beginner and hobbyist photographers, and Excire Search Pro is a great option for serious photographers and professionals.

It's this kind of innovation I looked for when considering my Best of 2019 list!

PolarPro Summit Filters

summit

PolarPro has built a reputation over the years of developing well-built, high-performance products, and their newest filters are no exception.

The Summit filter system was specifically developed for the rough-and-tumble world of landscape photography.

These filters are built to withstand the rigors of shooting outdoors in harsh conditions while at the same time having a design that makes them incredibly easy to use.

polarpro summit 1

On the one hand, the ND and graduated ND filters have aluminum frames that both protect the filter and help minimize fingerprints getting on the filter glass.

So, not only do you get filters that are more durable, but you also won't spend as much time cleaning the filters to get rid of fingerprints. It's a win-win!

On the other hand, the filters and filter housing feature materials that ratchet up the build quality.

polarpro summit 2

For example, the filters are made of fused Quartz glass with 16 layers of coatings that improve color fidelity and clarity while reducing glare.

As another example, the filter frames are made of lightweight aluminum that helps cut weight in your pack while providing you strong durability for years to come.

Add in a user-friendly design, light-sealed slots, filter locks to lock down the filter position, and the ability to rotate the filter system 360 degrees, and you have the makings of the ideal landscape photography filter kit - one of the best of 2019, in fact!!

Wolverine Data F2D Titan

wolverine data 1

What’s so great about the Wolverine Data F2D Titan is that it’s an 8-in-1 rig. 

In addition to working with slides, 8mm movies, and Super 8 movies, the F2D Titan also works with 35mm, 110, 126, 127, and APS film.

It has a 20-megapixel sensor that turns your analog memories into high-definition digital files at up to 5472 x 3648 pixels.

The F2D Titan makes quick work of scanning, too. In just three seconds, the scan is complete thanks to its speed-load adapters that are perfectly sized to each format of slide or negative that you’re scanning.

wolverine data 2 

You can view the results of the scan on the onboard 4.3-inch color LCD. You can even fine-tune the brightness and color balance settings. If you prefer to see your newly digitized photos on a larger screen, simply connect the F2D Titan to a computer or a TV.

Saving the digitized images is a breeze, too. Just use its internal memory or add your own SD/SDHC memory card.

Better still, you don’t need a computer or external monitor or software of any kind, so this unit is totally self-contained. Just have a power source (via an AC outlet or USB) and you can digitize slides, film, and old movies anywhere you like.

If you’ve got a lot of old memories to digitize, there’s isn’t a better or faster way to do so than with this bad boy! It's simply the easiest, most functional film to digital scanner I've ever tested.

RODE Video Mics

top gifts for photographers under 100 rode videomicro

I have several RODE mics, including the tiny shotgun microphone shown above.

The RODE VideoMicro is compact and lightweight, which makes it a perfect pairing for my GoPro.

But don't think that because it's a tiny mic that audio quality is sacrificed. In fact, it has a high-quality cardioid condenser mic capsule so you can get clear, crisp audio.

It's shocking just how good this little guy performs!

Since it's a directional mic, it minimizes sounds from the periphery so your video has focused audio from the subject.

Add to that a thermoplastic suspension structure for minimizing vibrations as you adventure around with your GoPro, and you have the ideal audio companion for the best adventure camera on the market!

For more heavy-duty action, I have a RODE VideoMic Pro.

This shotgun-style mic has a 1/2-inch condenser capsule, which results in ultra-clean audio that's broadcast quality. We're talking about a self-noise level of just 14db!

It has a super-cardioid polar pattern that reduces background noise while ensuring that it captures crisp audio of the source you want to record.

And, unlike lesser microphones, the RODE VideoMic Pro has a Rycote Lyre shock system that creates a buffer between the microphone capsule and electronics and the microphone mount. This, in turn, minimizes the vibrations of the mic and improves the quality of the audio even more.

Add in fantastic sound, easy-to-reach controls, and intuitive operation, and you have the makings of the ideal microphone for filmmaking! 

Camera Canopy

camera canopy 1

I first learned about Camera Canopy last year, and I have to say that over the course of 2019 I've grown to appreciate this unique camera accessory more and more.

Photographers that spend any time outdoors understand that when it rains, it can really put a damper on their ability to get the photos they want. That’s because even weather-sealed gear isn’t completely water-tight.

And trying to manipulate camera controls with a traditional bag-like rain cover for a camera is a huge pain in the rear. That’s why Camera Canopy is a much better alternative.

Camera canopy attaches to a camera via its hot-shoe mount, and then acts like a roof to protect the camera and lens from rain. It even protects the from glass of the lens so there’s no water droplets messing up the shot.

Better still, it’s adjustable for lenses up to 500mm in length.

camera canopy 2

Camera Canopy also has a mirrorless camera version, so now that I've gone totally mirrorless, I can still enjoy the benefits of having my camera and lens protected by a Camera Canopy.

Just like its big brother, this mirrorless version is extremely easy to mount to your camera, simple to adjust for different lens lengths, and still provides you unfettered access to your camera's controls.

It's simply the best wet-weather camera accessory money can buy!

Hex Brand Ranger Sling Bag

hex ranger sling 1

I had an opportunity to head up to Los Angeles a while back and meet the masterminds behind HEX.

It was a fun time looking behind the curtain at their operation, plus I got to bring one of their Ranger Sling bags home to test out.

First impressions are good, to say the least! And that's coming from an admitted bag snob.

hex ranger sling 2

For instance, I check the stitching inside and out to see how well put together it is, and with this bag, it’s very well put together.

It’s part of thoughtful construction and design processes that make this bag one of the very best I've used this year.

One of the things I like most about the bag is the collapsible interior dividers - including the bottom divider. This gives you a bag that can not only be customized to your gear for each photoshoot, but you can also fold up or remove the dividers to allow the bag to be packed totally flat for travel inside another bag. 

Speaking of customizations, this bag has side adjustable load straps and adjustable bottom carry straps so you can carry even more gear when needed.

This bag is also packed full of pockets to help you keep track of your stuff. There’s a front access organizer for small items, a faux fur lined pocket on the front for your phone or a pair of shades, a faux fur lined pocket for your table, and multiple hidden velcro stash pockets. And the bag sits very well when worn. It’s comfortable and easy to access your gear and really hugs your body.

hex ranger sling 3

With genuine Cordura material and YKK zippers with metal pulls, this bag will stand up to use and abuse, too. And since it’s so compact (just 1.3 pounds and 14.5"L x 7.25"W x 4.75"H), you can rock it in the urban jungle without worrying that it’ll be knocking into people as you move from shot to shot.

Something that really stood out to me was that, although the bag is listed at 8 liters, there is no wasted or negative space. In fact, I easily transferred all the gear I would normally carry in my Peak Design 10L Sling into the HEX Ranger Sling. I have to say that I am a big fan of the efficient use of space in this bag and the collapsible potential of the HEX bag certainly gives it a leg up.

With eight liters of storage space, a streamlined design, and looks that don’t quit, this is definitely one of the best products I tested this year! 

TravelSchool.Info

best photography giftsPhoto by anyaberkut via iStock

This entry on my Best of 2019 list is a little different from the rest...

Rather than a camera accessory or some kind of service you use to take better photos, TravelSchool.Info makes it on this list because of its innovative approach to education and furthering your ability to make money.

TravelSchool.Info enables you to learn how to harness the power of affiliate marketing all the while traveling the world. Sounds nice, right?

By teaching you how to create multiple revenue streams from affiliate marketing, TravelSchool enables you to earn active and passive income that frees up your time to pursue things that are more fun than working!

Travel School is a comprehensive training program for starting an independent affiliate marketing business. It will take you step-by-step through the process of building a business that is not only wildly successful in the short-term, but can sustain steady growth for the long-term too.

travel school

Travel School founder Emilian travels the world with his furry friend, Divak, and is eager to share his knowledge and experience with you and help you build a successful affiliate marketing business that will allow you to quit your traditional job and travel the world like you want!

But Travel School isn’t just a step-by-step training program. Instead, it will change your outlook on what it means to work, and at the same time will be a transformational experience that will change their entire life for the better.

With specific, actionable steps, you will learn how to connect with established brands, develop core marketing skills, and activate multiple income streams to realize their dream of living a life full of travel and freedom.

Not only does Travel School aid in leveraging the credibility of amazing companies, but they will also offer weekly private webinars to keep your loved one motivated and on track toward accomplishing their goals.

Additionally, all training sessions are recorded and available at any time, that way if questions come up down the road or a little extra motivation is needed, the lessons can be easily accessed. There are opportunities to learn and collaborate with other students too!

It’s not often that you have the opportunity to learn how to live a life with more freedom, but in this case, Travel School is does just that!

Octopus.Camera OctoPad

octopad 1

I’m a gear head and I buy and test all kinds of stuff - cameras, lenses, tripods, lights...you name it!

But one of the most pleasant surprises I had this year was the Octopus.Camera OctoPad.

I know what you’re thinking...how can a little weighted support system be all that innovative? Trust me when I say that OctoPad certainly is!

octopad

For starters, OctoPad is a much better alternative than suction cup mounts or even mini tripods because it actually stays put.

The weighted anti-slip mat keeps the OctoPad right where you want it, even if it’s on a smooth or uneven surface.

Additionally, OctoPad has a built-in 1/4-20 threaded male bolt for attaching any number of accessories like a microphone or a light. The included ball head also has a 1/4-20 threaded male bolt for accessory attachment.

octopad 3

That means that this little guy is a great option for supporting a compact camera or a smartphone, a GoPro, a microphone, or a light. Plus, it can be used for photo or video work, giving you even more versatility.

It’s easy to use and transport too - there’s a built-in grommet for attaching a lanyard and a cable strap to tuck cables out of the way of your shots.

This is just a well designed product that offers a ton of benefits for photographers and videographers alike. And the best part? It’s priced at just $26.95!

Snaptiles

snap tiles 1

One of the most innovative products I encountered this year is Snaptiles.

These ingenious patented magnetic photo tile system takes all the fuss and muss out of displaying your photos.

If you want to create a mixed tile array, you can do so in a matter of seconds thanks to the easy mounting system that Snaptiles employs.

All you do is attach the mounting bracket to the wall using four adhesive strips. Make sure to press down firmly for 10 seconds so that it holds tight to the wall. You can snap up to 12 photo tiles onto the first anchor tile. If you really want to have some fun push in the 4 included thumbtacks for additional support. You can then snap up to 30 Snaptiles to the anchor! Not a bad tradeoff for 4 small pin holes if you ask me.

snaptiles how they work

Next, you mount the anchor tile to the wall mount by snapping it into place.

Then, you can add any number of additional photo tiles, which connect together using rare earth magnets. And that’s it!

Now instead of having to put nails in the wall to hang additional photos, you can simply order 4 photo tiles from Snaptiles, add them to your array of mixed tiles, and enjoy your favorite photo (along with all your other favorites in the display).

snaptiles how theyre made

These tiles are super lightweight so if they fall they won’t break. They are printed onto a premium SBS Acid-Free paperboard using the same printing technology as high-quality photo books. Likewise, the UV protective lamination ensures that the images don’t lose their color over time.

Snaptiles has a unique ability to let you display your photos in a creative and ever-changing way. When it comes to hanging art and your favorite images, being able to swap them out quickly and easily is a huge bonus.

Best of all, four tiles are just $59 with Free Shipping, so you can enjoy four of your favorite images without breaking the bank.

What’s not to like about that?!

Westcott Rapid Box Octa

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As photographers, we all know the value of good light for creating compelling photos. And when it comes to modifying light to get the precise look you want, Westcott should be your source.

After all, Westcott has been in this business since 1899, so they know exactly what they’re doing.

In fact, Wescott holds 12 patents and has a product line of more than 600 products, so they’re much more than umbrellas and lights - they’re the go-to for all manner of durable, high-end lighting gear.

westcott best of 2019 module 2

It would be impossible to expound upon Westcott’s vast array of products, so I’ll illustrate why they’re included on my list of the Best of 2019 by using their Rapid Box Octas as examples.

I know you’re probably thinking, “Aren’t all softboxes the same?” Well, no, my friend, they aren’t!

Westcott’s Rapid Box Octa, which come in small (26-inch), medium (36-inch), and large (48-inch) versions, are the ideal softbox for modifying speedlites.

westcott best of 2019 module 3

For starters, these things are supremely easy to set up - you can have them ready to go in a matter of seconds, so there’s no long, drawn-out procedure for getting your gear ready for the shoot.

They’re easy to transport as well, given that they are completely collapsible and super lightweight.

But don’t think that because they’re collapsible and easy to set up that they’re somehow not durable. Far from it.

The solid metal framework ensures that these softboxes retain their shape over the course of years and years of repeated use, and the built-in mounting hardware means there’s a snug fit with your speedlite whether it’s a Yonguo, Nikon, or something in between.

In other words, Westcott makes this list of the Best of 2019 not just because they create superb lighting gear, but because they also have a proven track record of innovation when it comes to lighting gear.

Their products are durable and easy to use and show a demonstrated effort by Westcott to think purposefully about design and functionality so you and I have a better user experience.

But don’t take my word for it...see the Rapid Box Octa in action in the video above!



We Recommend


Top 10 Gifts for Photographers Under $100 - 2019 Edition

Top 10 Gifts for Photographers Under 100 2019 Edition 

photo bySolStockvia iStock

While you might think that $100 isn’t much of a budget to buy photography gear for your loved one, think again… 

As the products on this list clearly show, there is no shortage of awesome photography gift possibilities with $100 in your hand!

From software to keep their photos organized to camera bags that are comfortable and functional, this list has a wide variety of ideas to help you check off the photography lovers on your holiday shopping list.

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: CanvasHQ Print

canvashq 2019 gift guide 1 image

If you’re like me, sometimes finding the perfect gift for certain loved ones is a long, drawn-out process that causes tons of stress, and often you still don’t get something that totally blows them away.

I think a lot of photographers fall into this category. We have specific likes, and many of us already have most of what we want or need gear-wise, and what we don’t have is usually too expensive to put on a Christmas wish-list anyway.

But for all those hard-to-shop-for photographers on your 2019 holiday shopping list, I have the perfect solution - a canvas print.

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Think about it… 

A canvas print is a gift that keeps on giving.

Not only can you immortalize one of your favorite images from your favorite photographer, but you also give them a means to showcase their work in a format that’s drop-dead gorgeous.

I have tons of canvases in my home, the vast majority of which are from CanvasHQ.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking - canvas is old school.

Sure, maybe it is, but I’m telling you that these canvas prints from CanvasHQ are mind-bogglingly beautiful. In fact, they go head-to-head with any metal or acrylic print I have in my home.

The attention to detail is just amazing, and the materials they use are top-of-the-line. We’re talking archival-grade canvas, commercial-grade inks that are water and UV resistant, and kiln-dried pine frames to keep everything straight and true.

I love the personality that the canvas texture gives my images. That’s true whether it’s a portrait of my son or a landscape photo.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the customer service you get with CanvasHQ.

These guys are committed to getting it right, so if something doesn’t go as planned, you won’t be hung out to dry.

If you have questions, they’ll answer them. If you have a problem, they’ll fix it. If you need assistance with uploading your photo or even picking the best finishes for your canvas, they’ve got your back.

In the video above, I explain why I highly recommend a CanvasHQ canvas print as the ideal gift for the photographer on your holiday shopping list.

Start shopping for your favorite photographer today on CanvasHQ!

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Holdfast Bolo Strap 

gifts for photographers under 100 holdfast 1

The Holdfast Bolo Strap looks like a million bucks, but in actuality, it’s well under the $100 budget limit ($45 in fact!).

What’s so great about the Bolo Strap is that it’s specifically designed for photographers to use with a small camera, like a point-and-shoot. In that regard, this strap is all about streamlined, off-the-cuff shooting to capture candid moments.

Keep your camera safe and sound around your neck, at-the-ready for taking quick photos.

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Additionally, this strap pulls triple duty because it can be used as a wallet chain or as a lanyard for your keys.

That makes this little guy well worth the price tag because that functionality makes it well worth more than its price!

You will need a Camera HoldFast for this to be compatible for use with a tripod, but other than that, this sucker is ready to use right out of the box. 

Learn more about the Holdfast Bolo Strap

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: LitraTorch 2.0

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I know what you might be thinking - this tiny light is worth $100??

Well, I’ve used the LitraTorch 2.0 for a few months now, and I can tell you it’s worth well more than $100…

Though it weighs just over three ounces, and is about 1.5 inches square, Litra packed 16 LEDs into it, so it has some serious light output! 

In fact, you can adjust the output from 100 to 450 to 800 lumens depending on what you’re doing.

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Better yet, this little light puts out beautiful light that’s clean and crisp and flicker-free, too. It has a wide 70-degree beam angle to illuminate your subject and offers a color temperature of 5700K - right in the sweet spot of natural-looking light. 

On its low setting, the LitraTorch 2.0 will give you four hours of illumination while you get 35 minutes of light on full power. That’s a 10 percent improvement over the original LitraTorch.

It’s also waterproof up to 60 feet, has a magnet for easily attaching it to metal surfaces, and it’s built like a tank, so it’ll withstand some use and abuse.

This is simply a versatile, go-anywhere, do-anything light!

Learn more about the LitraTorch 2.0

Gifts for Photographers Under $100:Hex Ranger DSLR Sling Bag 

hex ranger sling 1

I recently had an opportunity to head up to Los Angeles and meet the masterminds behind HEX.

Aside from having a great time getting to know the folks responsible for this bag, I also got to see it first-hand (and bring one home with me to test out as well).

First impressions are good, to say the least!

Honestly, I’m a bit of a camera bag snob, so I look for things that others might skim over.

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For instance, I check the stitching inside and out to see how well put together it is, and with this bag, it’s very well put together.

It’s part of thoughtful construction and design processes that also make this bag an excellent choice for a gift for the photographer on your holiday shopping list.

One of the things I like most about the bag is the collapsible interior dividers - including the bottom divider. This gives you a bag that can not only be customized to your gear for each photoshoot, but you can also fold up or remove the dividers to allow the bag to be packed totally flat for travel inside another bag. 

Speaking of customizations, this bag has side adjustable load straps and adjustable bottom carry straps so you can carry even more gear when needed.

This bag is also packed full of pockets to help you keep track of your stuff. There’s a front access organizer for small items, a faux fur lined pocket on the front for your phone or a pair of shades, a faux fur lined pocket for your table, and multiple hidden velcro stash pockets. And the bag sits very well when worn. It’s comfortable and easy to access your gear and really hugs your body.

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With genuine Cordura material and YKK zippers with metal pulls, this bag will stand up to use and abuse, too. And since it’s so compact (just 1.3 pounds and 14.5"L x 7.25"W x 4.75"H), you can rock it in the urban jungle without worrying that it’ll be knocking into people as you move from shot to shot.

Something that really stood out to me was that, although the bag is listed at 8 liters, there is no wasted or negative space. In fact, I easily transferred all the gear I would normally carry in my Peak Design 10L Sling into the HEX Ranger Sling. I have to say that I am a big fan of the efficient use of space in this bag and the collapsible potential of the HEX bag certainly gives it a leg up.

With eight liters of storage space, a streamlined design, and looks that don’t quit, this is definitely a gift for photographers that will put a smile on their face! I have to say that I was skeptical on my drive up there, but, man, HEX definitely impressed! 

Learn more about the Hex Ranger DSLR Sling Bag

Top Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Luminar 3 & 4 Bundle

luminar 3 layout under 100

If the photographer on your list is like me, the last thing they want to do is engage in a laborious process of editing their photos.

While many photographers enjoy the creative process of taking and editing photos, it’s a process that can certainly be streamlined and improved. Doing so allows photographers to be more productive and creative.

Fortunately, the mad scientists at Skylum have made this achievable with Luminar 3 (and the upcoming Luminar 4) to reduce the time spent on editing without reducing the quality and beauty of the final product.

I’ve used Luminar 3 since its release in December 2018, and I can tell you first-hand that Skylum’s claim that you can “transform your photos into masterpieces, in no time” is one-hundred percent true.

That’s because Luminar 3 is one of the most intuitive photo editors you’ll find.

It’s loaded for bear with tons of tools and features, yet, as you can see above, the layout of the editor organizes everything into a format that makes sense and gives you quick access to the things you need.

Additionally, Luminar has advanced features that take the guesswork out of editing and make it a much simpler process.

For example, the Accent AI 2.0 filter allows you to make dozens of adjustments using a single slider, such as fixing detail and exposure, depth and color, tone and much more.

This technology is so advanced (thanks to its “human-aware” technology) that it recognizes people and applies adjustments selectively for results that are more realistic.

luminar 3 sky enhancement under 100

If the photographer you’re shopping for this holiday season specializes in landscapes, they’ll love Luminar 3’s AI Sky Enhancer, which analyzes the photo to detect the sky (no matter how large or small, bright or dark the sky might be) and applies an invisible mask to the sky to enhance it based on its colors, texture, size and more.

And like the Accent AI 2.0 filter, this is all done by manipulating a single slider. It couldn’t get any easier!

Add to that more than 70 professionally crafted looks (with hundreds more available to download) and you have the makings of an editor that your favorite photographer will absolutely love.

Best of all, Skylum is offering Luminar 3, a set of Inspiration Looks, and Luminar 4 in one awesome bundle for $99.

With Luminar 4, photographers will get even more incredible tools to edit their photos, like the AI Skin Enhancer, which uses human-aware technology to locate any skin in the picture (not just the face), smooth it out, and remove blemishes all the while preserving pores, texture, and hair.

Better still, this is done in one click, gives you the ability to adjust its strength, and it works for any age and skin type.

luminar 4 portrait enhancement under 100

Luminar 4 will also introduce the AI Portrait Enhancer, which has 12 tools that allow you to make picture-perfect changes to the face, eyes, and mouth with the utmost precision and control.

Not only that, but presets that you create will automatically adjust to each new photo, that way you can batch edit your images for a lightning-fast workflow.

Luminar 4 has goodies for landscape photographers too.

As you can see in the video above, with the AI Sky Replacement tool, you can automatically change the sky in any photo without making selections or creating masks.

Better still, the AI Sky Replacement tool relights the entire image so the colors and lighting match that of the sky.

These are just a few examples of the exciting new tools coming in Luminar 4, and with this package from Skylum, you can give the gift of Luminar 3, a set of Inspiration Looks, and Luminar 4 for under $100!

Head over to the Skylum website to explore Luminar 3 and Luminar 4 in more detail. You can even download it yourself and try it for 30 days knowing that there is a money-back guarantee! 

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Snaptiles

snaptiles 1

These are not your ordinary Photo Tiles! One of the challenges with traditional photo tiles is that you need to level and space every single one that you hang up. Then they say that you can mix the tiles around but after a few times the adhesive wears out and they just don’t hold up well.

Not so with Snaptiles…

These 8x8” magnetic photo tiles can be hung on the wall in a matter of seconds! You hang the first time (anchor tile) and level it with the built-in level, then all the other tiles snap onto the first!

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Just peel the backing off the adhesive strips, place the wall mount where you want it, level it up using the built-in level, and PRESS FIRMLY against all four strips for 10 seconds. That’s it!

You can snap up to 12 photo tiles on one anchor tile and add additional anchor tiles along your wall.. Or you can push in the 4 thumbtacks included for additional support and mount up to 30 tiles onto the first. This way gives you way more options and only puts 4 small pin holes in your wall which let’s you hang 30 prints!

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Next, you just place the anchor tile on the mount and slide it down to lock in place. Then you can begin to place tiles to the left, right, top, or bottom of the anchor tile, which snap together with magnets. The result? A beautiful array of mixed tiles.

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You can create all kinds of designs with your tiles, too, so it truly gives you the freedom to display your images in the way you want, and when you want to change up the design or swap out tiles, you can do so quickly and easily while having a blast.

Giving prints to someone for the holidays is a special way to help them look back on fond memories. With Snaptiles, you can do that in a completely new, unique, and fun way with this innovative photo tiles!

Learn more about Snaptiles

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Photomatix Pro 6

photomatix 1 

Whether the photographer on your shopping list is a newbie or a pro, they will probably tell you that one of the hardest parts of photography is getting the exposure right.

What makes it so complicated to perfect is that there are so many variables involved, one of which is dynamic range.

When dynamic range, or the values of light tones in the shot, is too much, the camera can’t accommodate it. That means that highlights might be blown out or shadows might be too dark.

But by bracketing exposures, merging them together, and using HDR software, photographers can overcome this difficulty.

For less than $100, you can give the gift of gorgeous exposures by putting Photomatix Pro 6 in your loved one’s stocking.

Since 2003, Photomatix has enabled photographers to easily create HDR images.

Over the years, the software has changed and added tons of new features, including built-in presets, dozens of HDR settings, tools like selective ghost removal, and batch processing in Photomatix Pro 6. And that’s just the start!

There’s also multiple HDR styles so no matter if the photos are landscapes, portraits, real estate, or something in between, you can customize how they look with Photomatix.

That’s why HDR software like Photomatix Pro 6 is such a valuable tool for photographers! 

Learn more about Photomatix Pro 6

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Excire Search Pro

best gifts for photographers under 100 exire 1

Lightroom is a fantastic tool for processing and organizing your images. But as good as it is on its own, it can be made much better.

That’s because many photographers like yours truly just upload photos without taking the time to tag them. And since Lightroom doesn’t do that for you, the photos become a jumbled, hard-to-search mess. That’s where Excire Search Pro comes in… 

Excire Search Pro is a Lightroom plugin that makes tagging photos in Lightroom a breeze.

That’s because it uses AI to identify specific objects and features in your photos. Exire then tags and organizes your photos for you. Not bad, right?!

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Excire Search Pro has 500 different keywords, so no matter if you’re looking for a photo with a sunset, a little girl, or a boat, it’ll find it for you.

It’ll even identify photos based on certain criteria, like the predominant color in the shot. It even recognizes faces and can categorize images based on gender and age.

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I’ve used Excire Search Pro for awhile now, and I can tell you firsthand that it has been a Godsend in terms of streamlining my workflow. 

Now instead of taking hours to tag everything myself and even more time trying to find what I need, I let Excire do all the heavy lifting!

Learn more about Excire Search AI Plugin for Lightroom

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Camera Canopy

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If you want a unique, yet functional gift for the photographer in your life, the Camera Canopy is an ideal choice. 

Photographers that spend any time outdoors understand that when it rains, it can really put a damper on their ability to get the photos they want. That’s because even weather-sealed gear isn’t completely water-tight.

And trying to manipulate camera controls with a traditional bag-like rain cover for a camera is a huge pain in the rear. That’s why Camera Canopy is a much better alternative.

camera canopy 2

Camera canopy attaches to a camera via its hot-shoe mount, and then acts like a roof to protect the camera and lens from rain. It even protects the from glass of the lens so there’s no water droplets messing up the shot.

Better still, it’s adjustable for lenses up to 500mm in length, and there’s even a smaller version for mirrorless setups (shown above). Add in a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you’ve got the perfect gift for this holiday season!

Learn more about Camera Canopy

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Kenko Puro Slim Circular Polarizing Filter  

kenko 1

By far, one of the most valuable camera accessories a landscape photographer can have is a circular polarizing filter. 

That’s because in a single filter, you get all of these benefits:

  • Reduced glare off of non-metallic surfaces like water
  • Enhanced contrast in the sky with a deeper blue atmosphere and brighter white clouds
  • Minimize atmospheric haze, so objects far away appear crisper and more defined

But like lenses, not all filters are made alike, so buying a cheap one won't do you any favors.

That doesn't mean that all high-quality filters are expensive - just consider Kenko Puro Slim Circular Polarizing Filters as a prime example.

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These Japanese-made filters have an exclusively formulated multi-coating that resists water, dust, and oils. Not only does that mean a cleaner shot, but it also means less damage over time to the filter itself. That’s a great benefit when you’re giving one to a photographer for the holidays!

The filter shown above also has a SLIM ring for mounting to the lens, which has a minimized profile to prevent vignetting, even on wide-angle lenses.

As far as improving your favorite photographer’s ability to get a better shot in short order, it's tough to top what a good polarizer can do! 

Learn more about Kenko Puro Slim Circular Polarizers

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: Pre-Owned Lens From Lensfinder 

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Let’s face it - photography gear can be expensive. Really expensive.

That’s a problem year-round, but when you’re holiday shopping and have tons of gifts to buy, it’s even more difficult to justify getting your loved one the $1,000 lens that they really want.

Fortunately, Lensfinder can help in more ways than one.

On the one hand, you can find great deals on pre-owned camera lenses at Lensfinder. 

That means that you can get a truly top-notch lens for the photographer in your life but do so without busting your budget. It’s a win-win!

On the other hand, if you have some old lenses that you don’t use anymore, you can list them for sale on Lensfinder. When the lens sells, you can use it for holiday spending money for the photographer in your life. 

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Image Credit: xxmmxx via iStock

The best part? You can list your lenses for sale for free. 

There’s only a transaction fee (just 3.99%) when the lens sells (with a maximum fee of $500). If your lens doesn’t sell, there’s no charge at all!

And for peace of mind, the Lensfinder platform has advanced fraud filtering for both buyers and sellers as well as mediation services in the event that there’s a problem.

Payments are made and received via PayPal, so you can rest easy knowing that the transaction is safe and secure.

In other words, Lensfinder is the ideal solution for your holiday shopping needs. Either use it to find a loved one a killer lens or use it to sell old gear to pad your pockets for holiday spending!

Learn more about Lensfinder 

Gifts for Photographers Under $100: RODE VideoMicro 

top gifts for photographers under 100 rode videomicro

This tiny shotgun microphone is perfect for a GoPro.

It's compact and lightweight, but audio quality isn't sacrificed. In fact, it has a high-quality cardioid condenser mic capsule so you can get clear, crisp audio.

And since it's a directional mic, it minimizes sounds from the periphery so your video has focused audio from the subject.

Add to that a thermoplastic suspension structure for minimizing vibrations as you adventure around with your GoPro, and you have the ideal audio companion for the best adventura camera on the market!

If the photographer on your list is an adventurer and utilizes a GoPro, this is the perfect gift idea!

Learn more about the RODE VideoMicro

 



We Recommend


Top 10 Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers - 2019 Edition

last minute gifts for photographersPhoto by evgenyatamanenko via iStock

Even though I'm writing this the last week of October, you and I both know that there will be some scrambling as the holidays draw near to find the perfect gift for the photographer in your life.

A lot of photographers are picky (myself included), so it can be difficult to find just the right gift that will bring a smile to their face and that won't end up shoved in the back of the closet.

With that in mind, I've put together the following list of awesome last-minute gifts for photographers that should give you some inspiration for your gift-buying this holiday season.

Let's get to it!

Camera Canopy

camera canopy 1

Those of you that follow my ramblings here on PhotographyTalk know that I love to shoot landscapes.

But something I definitely do not love is using those clingy camera rain covers that feel like you're reaching into a wet plastic bag.

Granted, I don't have to worry about the rain all that often here in Southern California, but when it does rain, I have my Camera Canopy with me.

As you can see above, the Camera Canopy sits above the camera and extends outward to protect both the camera body and the lens.

It attaches to the hot-shoe mount on your camera, so it's easy to attach when the weather turns sour.

The shield extends and retracts, so it'll protect your gear whether you're using a 50mm lens or a 300mm lens.

What's more, there are versions for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, so no matter the camera system the photographer in your life uses, there's a Camera Canopy they can use.

Aside from the ease of use and the fact that the Camera Canopy protects the end of the lens from getting wet, I love that it doesn't obstruct the camera's LCD or controls. No more clingy wet plastic bag!!

So, this thing is convenient, functional, and well-designed, and would make an ideal addition to any photographer's kit.

Learn more about Camera Canopy for DSLRs or Camera Canopy for Mirrorless Cameras

A Large Print from AP Solutions & Graphics

gifts for photographers

What photographer wouldn't appreciate a large print or graphic of one of their photos?!

AP Solutions & Graphics makes it easy to give the gift of a beautiful large print thanks to their quick and simple online ordering process.

In fact, you can easily get a quote for your print based on your specifications, including height, width, depth, and media type.

They offer fine art canvases, photographic prints, and signs, banners, and other display medias too.

If you order from AP Solutions & Graphics, you can rest assured that the item you order is made from the finest materials and is constructed right here in the USA.

I appreciate the fact that these guys are dedicated to turning your favorite photos into lasting memories. And the photographer on your holiday shopping list will certainly appreciate it too!

No one wants to get a sub-par print, especially if it's of their own photos. But you don't have to worry about print quality with AP Solutions & Graphics because they use high-quality canvas, fine art photo paper, quality fabrics, top-grade inks, and more.

As a U.S. Navy Veteran, I try to patronize businesses that are owned by fellow veterans, and AP Solutions & Graphics fits the bill.

This veteran-owned, U.S.-based business is ready to make your last-minute holiday gift dreams come true!

Learn more about AP Solutions & Graphics

Hazard 4® Freelance™ Sling-Pack

hazard 4 freelance

Rarely do you encounter camera bags described as “tactical,” but in this case, the rank definitely fits the Hazard 4® Freelance™ Photo Sling-Pack.

Hazard 4® designs exceed military specs, so these are trusted by demanding users in the harshest environments - special forces to expedition reporters. Thoughtful sizes, organization, and ergonomics, with 1000 D Cordura® fabric, YKK zips, and patented hardware protect cameras, accessories and survival gear in a futuristic aesthetic that deflects harsh use.

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You can cleverly rotate Freelance™ from back to chest for quick gear access without taking it off. Sized for most mirrorless systems with movable padded dividers to organize lenses and accessories, it’s also made in a Drone Edition with special dividers and “Drone Pilot” patch on its velcro I.D. panel.

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Three exterior pockets fit extra gear. A sweat managing thermo-molded zip back panel cradles 10.5” iPads®. An admin panel organizes pens and SD cards, among other small items. A molded shell fits two Mavic® Pro batteries and has a patented Hard Point® bus for attaching Hazard 4® systems loops and tie-downs or GoPros® via a ¼-20 screw.

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Modular webbing (molle) throughout allows exterior gear expansion. A patented roto-lock buckle prevents drops. Add grab-handles, tripod/compression straps, and more for the makings of one killer last-minute gift for the active photographer on your holiday shopping list!

Learn more about the Hazard 4® Freelance

PolarPro Summit Filters

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PolarPro has built a reputation over the years of developing well-built, high-performance products, and their newest filters are no exception.

The Summit series was specifically developed for the rough-and-tumble world of landscape photography.

These filters are built to withstand the rigors of shooting outdoors in harsh conditions while at the same time having a design that makes them incredibly easy to use.

polarpro summit 1

On the one hand, the ND and graduated ND filters have aluminum frames that both protect the filter and help minimize fingerprints getting on the filter glass.

So, not only do you get filters that are more durable, but you also won't spend as much time cleaning the filters to get rid of fingerprints. It's a win-win!

On the other hand, the filters and filter housing feature materials that ratchet up the build quality.

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For example, the filters are made of fused Quartz glass with 16 layers of coatings that improve color fidelity and clarity while reducing glare.

As another example, the filter frames are made of lightweight aluminum that helps cut weight in your pack while providing you strong durability for years to come.

Add in a user-friendly design, light-sealed slots, filter locks to lock down the filter position, and the ability to rotate the filter system 360 degrees, and you have the makings of the ideal landscape photography filter kit to give your favorite photographer this holiday season!

Learn more about the PolarPro Summit Filter System

Snaptiles

snap tiles

If you’re cutting it close for the holidays and need a killer photography gift, look no further than Snaptiles. Snaptiles are a new patented Magnetic Photo Tile that is 8”x8”x1” and super lightweight.

This innovative system uses a single wall mount with a built-in level to anchor a central print to the wall. Then you can snap together the other tiles onto the first! The wall mount uses four adhesive strips that don’t damage the wall, yet offer all the support that’s needed to display up to 12 tiles. Just make sure you press down firmly for 10 seconds. You can also push in the 4 included thumb tacks for additional support, then mount up to 30 tiles on the first tile! Not a bad tradeoff for 4 little pin holes in your wall.

The process is simple: just attach the wall mount to the wall, mount the anchor tile to it, and then begin to create an array of mixed tiles by adding additional Snaptiles.

snaptiles how they work

Each tile connects with strong magnets, so there’s no worry of the tiles sagging or slipping.

Best of all, though, this system enables you to swap images out as you get new photo tiles, rearrange them in the display, and create different shapes with an array of images.

It really couldn’t be any easier!

snaptiles how theyre made

The images are printed on a premium SBS Acid Free archival paperboard to give you long-lasting durability. On top of that, the UV protective lamination on the tiles has a beautifully soft touch.

I just ordered 25 of these photo tiles for my son’s room. He loves art and he loves building, and I think he will love putting his Snaptiles together (with my help of course!) on his bedroom wall.

This isn’t just a great last-minute gift, but it’s also a fun project you can share with whomever you give them to. It’s a win-win!

Learn more about Snaptiles

Travel School Membership

best photography giftsPhoto by anyaberkut via iStock

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel the world as you make money, pursuing your dreams without being encumbered by a traditional job?

If that sounds like a dream that’s too good to be true - it isn’t! Even better, it’s a dream you can make a reality for that special person on your last-minute holiday shopping list.

Travel School is a comprehensive training program for starting an independent affiliate marketing business. It will take your loved one step-by-step through the process of building a business that is not only wildly successful in the short-term, but can sustain steady growth for the long-term too.

But Travel School isn’t just a step-by-step training program. Instead, it will change your loved one’s outlook on what it means to work, and at the same time will be a transformational experience that will change their entire life for the better.

With specific, actionable steps, the person on your holiday shopping list will learn how to connect with established brands, develop core marketing skills, and activate multiple income streams to realize their dream of living a life full of travel and freedom.

travel school

Travel School founder Emilian travels the world with his furry friend, Divak, and is eager to share his knowledge and experience with you and help you build a successful affiliate marketing business that will allow you to quit your traditional job and travel the world like you want!

Not only does Travel School aid in leveraging the credibility of amazing companies, but they will also offer weekly private webinars to keep your loved one motivated and on track toward accomplishing their goals.

Additionally, all training sessions are recorded and available at any time, that way if questions come up down the road or a little extra motivation is needed, the lessons can be easily accessed. There are opportunities to learn and collaborate with other students too!

It’s not often that you have the opportunity to give the gift of freedom, but in this case, Travel School is just that!

Learn more about Travel School

Deity D3 Pro Microphone 

best gifts for photographers

More and more photographers are getting into video production, and to do that, they have to expand their arsenal of tools beyond traditional photography gear.

And while having a camera with good video capabilities is a must, so too is having a high-quality microphone to record audio for the videos. After all, a video can have incredible footage, but with poor audio quality, the video will fall flat.

That's where the Deity D3 Pro comes in...

This super cardioid directional condenser shotgun mic has a sensitivity of -50dB to 28dB and uses an on-board microprocessor that digitally talks to the audio input it's connected with.

That means it can work with a tablet, a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a smartphone - essentially anything with a 3.5mm microphone jack.

deity

The internal battery offers a whopping 51 hours of runtime, yet it charges in less than two hours.

A neat feature is that you can adjust the gain by using the stepless analog gain adjustment dial. This is the only microphone in the world that has this feature!

Add in on-board low-cut filters, a rycote shock mount, and broadcast-quality sound, and you have the makings of an ideal gift for a photographer that wants to step up their videography game!

Learn more about the Deity D3 Pro Microphone

Octopus.Camera OctoPad

octopad

If you’re rushing around trying to find that perfect last-minute gift for your favorite photographer, you might consider the Octopus.Camera OctoPad as an excellent choice.

The OctoPad offers what many other stabilization devices don’t - it doesn’t collapse under the weight of gear it’s supporting and it doesn’t slide around, even if it’s placed on a smooth or an uneven surface thanks to its weighted non-slip mat design.

octopad 6

The OctoPad has a built-in male 1/4-20 inch threaded bolt for attaching accessories and a high-capacity removable ball head that also has an adjustable 1/4-20 inch threaded male bolt.

That means that not only is the OctoPad well-equipped to stay in place, but it can also support a wide range of gear, from a GoPro to a smartphone to a light or microphone.

octopad 2

There’s even a built-in cable strap to keep cables from getting in your way and a clip grommet for attaching a lanyard to easily carry the OctoPad.

What photographers want in a gift is something that’s versatile and functional, and the OctoPad is definitely both. Best of all, it’s just $26.95, so you can give an awesome gift without busting your budget!

Learn more about the Octopus.Camera OctoPad

Aputure Amaran AL-MX Bi-Color LED Mini Light

aputure

This pocket-sized light might be small, lightweight, and portable, but it packs a mighty punch with 128 LEDs, 3200lux of brightness, and a "boost mode" that increases brightness by 30 percent for bursts of 60 seconds.

Add to all that power the ability to tune the light from 2800-6500K so the photographer on your list can make fine adjustments to how the light looks to suit each and every photograph.

The quality of the light is top-notch, too - it offers a CRI of 95+ and a TLCI or 95+ as well.

aputure 2

This light has a wide beam angle of 120-degrees, a portable design that's about the width and height of a credit card, and a durable metal body that's crafted of aircraft-grade aluminum.

It has a 1/4 screw and a universal cold-shoe mount so it can be mounted on a camera, a tripod, a light stand, and so forth.

This unit has a built-in battery that offers about an hour of runtime at full power and four hours of runtime at minimum power. The battery is rechargeable via a USB-C cable.

This is simply a well-built, bright, easy-to-use light that any photographer would appreciate in their stocking this holiday season!

Learn more about the Aputure Amaran AL-MX Bi-Color LED Light

Haida M-10 Filter System

haida m10 filter kit first impressions

One of the newest additions to my camera bag is the Haida M-10 Filter System, and I can't sing its praises enough.

The filter holder is super lightweight thanks to its aluminum construction, so it's durable and sturdy, but doesn't add unnecessary weight to your lens.

Inside the holder are slots where you can drop filters in. The slots are even lined with felt to help prevent scratches to the filters!

Another neat feature is that the holder has a quick-release clip for easy on and off. The clip is well-built and has a good amount of tension, so you don't have to worry about accidentally disengaging the clip as you work.

haida cpl

You can use square or circular filters with this holder. In fact, the kit comes with a variety of filters, including a circular polarizer, a variety of graduated ND filters, and solid ND filters as well.

And since the holder has two filter slots, you can mix and match filters as needed.

Both the filters and the holder are very well built - you can tell when you're holding them that they are high-quality products that will last a good, long while.

That being the case, if the photographer on your list has been hinting at needing a new filter system, you've got the perfect gift for them!

Learn more about the Haida M-10 Filter System

Exposure Software

exposure x5 is here

The latest version of Exposure - Exposure X5 - was released just a few weeks ago to much fanfare.

Exposure has a ton of easy-to-use, yet powerful editing tools that any photographer would appreciate. This includes:

  • An extensive library of film presets that you can customize
  • Creative tools like tilt-shift, creative lens focus, and film grain
  • Non-destructive editing with layers
  • Selection and masking tools to apply effects to specific areas
  • An intuitive and easy-to-use workspace

On top of all that, Exposure X5 has 3D color masking functionalities that will give the photographer on your shopping list the ability to have precise control over where an adjustment is made to an image.

These color controls can be defined by very specific features, like saturation, hue, and luminance, which means you can target the sky, skin tones, or other specific color ranges, all with just a few clicks.

This software also has vignette correction, chromatic aberration correction, fringe removal, and custom camera profiles to boot.

You can even test-drive Exposure for free for 30 days to see if it's something you want to give as a gift this holiday season.

Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light

hakutatz 2

If you’re not sure what to get the photographer on your holiday shopping list, an ideal last-minute gift is the gift of light.

Light - good light - is essential for making high-quality photographs, and good light is exactly what you get with the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light.

This rechargeable light is ultra-portable and will fit in a photographer’s pocket for easy transport.

hakutatz 1

Photographers can utilize both white and amber light and a wide variety of RGB lighting options that allow for precise adjustments to get just the right light for each shot.

With 152 LEDs (40 white, 40 amber, and 72 RGB), adjustable saturation from 1-100%, 1480 lux brightness, and an adjustable color temperature from 3000-6500K, this light offers superb functionality and tons of customizations.

hakutatz 3

The light connects to any Android or iOS smartphone, which allows for changing the color temperature, the RGB color, and dialing in special effects. These changes can be made both quickly and easily thanks to the intuitive and user-friendly LCD display.

Use one light on its own or multiple lights to combine effects to get the perfect shot. Either way, photographers have the power to add vibrancy, visual interest, and accents to their photos right at their fingertips!

Learn more about the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light

BlueTooth Photo

bluetooth photo last minute gift guide

I don’t know how many BlueTooth speakers I’ve had over the years. Come to think of it, I couldn’t even tell you how many BlueTooth speakers I have in my house right now.

They’re utilitarian. They’re forgettable. Most BlueTooth speakers are nothing special.

But the patent-pending BlueTooth Photo changes all that because it turns your favorite photo or piece of art into a canvas that sings.

All you have to do is upload your image and the fine folks at BlueTooth Photo do the rest. You get a premium-grade, artist-quality canvas that showcases your favorite images all the while being the perfect vessel for fantastic audio quality for your music.

bluetooth photo last minute gift guide 2

What better way to enjoy music than by listening to it emanate from your favorite photo? And what better way to appreciate your favorite photo than by having a look at it each and every time you want to listen to your favorite songs?

It’s the best of both worlds!

BlueTooth Photo is a fantastic gift idea for the photographer (or anyone else!) on your holiday shopping list. Get them an 8x12 image in either portrait or landscape orientation this Christmas for just $89.00.

Use the coupon code PT20 to get $20 off your purchase!

Learn more about BlueTooth Photo

Luminar 4

luminar

Yet another top choice for a last-minute gift for the photographer on your list is Luminar 4.

At the time of this writing, Luminar 4 is still a couple of weeks from being released, but I've had a chance to look at it, and WOW is a word that immediately comes to mind.

Luminar makes use of artificial intelligence to allow photographers to make specific and detailed edits to their photos, but without the process being one that's laborious or time-consuming.

For example, Luminar 4 features an AI Sky Replacement tool that allows you to automatically change the sky in any photo. Yes, change the sky - not just edit it to look prettier.

Better still, you can change the sky without creating masks or making selections, and the AI Sky Replacement Tool will relight the entire image, that way the original image and the new sky match in terms of brightness.

luminar 4 portrait enhancement under 100

Luminar 4 also has handy tools for portrait photographers, like the AI Skin Enhancer, which detects blemishes and removes them, all the while preserving details in the skin. This tool will detect skin anywhere in the photo (not just people's faces), and its corrections are made with just one click.

There's also an AI Portrait Enhancer that has 12 tools that enable you to make corrections to the face, eyes, and mouth in a way that maximizes control while maintaining ease of use.

Needless to say, Luminar 4 is packed with features and will make a great addition to any photographer's workflow!

Learn more about Luminar 4

Wiral LITE Cable Cam

I've had the Wiral Lite Cable Cam for a couple of months now, and I can't tell you how much fun I've had using it.

It is incredibly easy to use, too, as it has a simple rope system that allows for quick setup.

And once you have it setup, you can get beautifully smooth, dynamic tracking shots that take your videos to the next level.

This patent-pending rope system is called "Quickreel," and uses an ultra static rope so you get superb performance with excellent safety. The beauty, though, is that this rope doesn't add bulk or weight, so it's easy to carry.

This rope system can be used with a variety of cameras, from a GoPro to your smartphone to a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

If you watch the video above, you can see the kind of long, smooth video sequences that are possible.

It looks like a video that was taken using a big, expensive setup!

But this rig is less than $500...

Quick setup, loads of features, huge functionality, and a great price. What more could you want in a last-minute gift for the photographer on your list?!

Learn more about the Wiral LITE Cable Cam

Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo

One of my favorite pieces of gear is my MoneyMaker Solo camera strap. This thing is gorgeously crafted, easy on the eyes, and super functional, too.

What I like most about this strap is the comfort it offers.

It has a big, contoured shoulder strap that helps keep fatigue at bay. The shoulder strap stays in place on your shoulder too (go figure!), so carrying your camera for extended periods of time doesn't turn into making constant adjustments to how the strap interacts with your body.

Part of what helps the strap stay in place is the stability strap that wraps under your arm.

The other component of that is the ingenious Belt Anchor, which keeps the camera attached to your hip, rather than flopping around as you walk.

Not only does that improve the comfort level, but it makes it a safer endeavor to carry your camera, especially in crowded areas.

The construction of this thing is worth mentioning, too.

It's made of a single piece of full-grain leather, so it's absolutely stunning to look at.

The high-quality leather is paired with stainless steel hardware, so you know that the strap and its components will last the photographer on your list for years and years and years to come!

Check out my Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo Review to get more details on this awesome gift idea for photographers.

Learn more about the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo

 



We Recommend


Ways to Protect Your Camera Gear

Ways to Protect Your Camera Gear

photo by Nirut Punshiri via iStock 

One of the hardest lessons most photographers learn early on in their careers is that you need to protect your camera gear with your life.

Then, you spend the next few decades of your career constantly learning and relearning how to protect your camera gear.

You don’t just need to figure out the best rain protection for cameras, or dust protection for cameras, but you need to learn ways to protect your camera from: toddlers, spilled coffee, thieves, public transportation, other people and yourself.

One of my mentors, a photojournalist, had been in the photography business for 30 years by the time I met him. I immediately asked him how many times he had dropped his camera in those decades. His answer, “none,” astonished me.  

While I’m not as careful as he is, I have learned some tricks of the trade when it comes to keeping both sticky fingerprints and sticky fingers off my camera gear. 

Practice Smart Lens Changes

how to protect your camera gear 

 photo by georgeclerk via iStock 

The first lesson you need in learning how to protect your camera gear is this: change your lens outdoors as little as often.

No, this isn’t practical advice. It also isn’t advice that many photographers follow because at times it is impossible. But, blowing wind means dust, sand particles, and ash can coat the rear element of your lens and get all over the camera’s sensor, too.  

Eventually, this build up will prevent your camera from operating properly and when this happens the ensuing professional cleaning bill will be hefty. 

While many modern manufacturers claim to have built-in dust protection for cameras, it is never guaranteed. With our current technology, it is impossible to promise your sensor will always be free of debris. 

Whenever possible, move inside to change your camera lens. When this isn’t possible, point your back to the direction of the wind. Then, point your camera body down (so as to use gravity to your advantage for helping dust fall out) before switching your lenses. 

This method is by no means perfect, so you’ll want to watch CNET’s video above to learn how to clean your DSLR lenses. 

Invest in a Bag That Offers Protection

Every camera bag is not made the same. And a big part of knowing how to protect your camera gear from the elements is knowing you have a trustworthy bag at your ready. 

A great camera bag needs to be sturdy, waterproof, comfortable and heavily lined. A problem many photographers run into is that most camera bags are one or the other: built for photographers or built for cameras.

I personally believe a well-built sling bag, like HEX’s Ranger sling bag, is both.  

The Ranger is made of genuine Cordura on the outside, which is 100% waterproof, and faux-fur lined pockets on the inside, which prevents your gear from being bumped around as you’re heading to and from your location. 

But, since a sling bag lies across your body, it also provides easy access to your gear when you need it, while keeping your camera close enough to your body to prevent it from getting stolen. 

What’s more, this bag hugs your body (unlike lesser sling bags), so it doesn’t flop around as you move. It’s an excellent carrying experience!

On top of all that, this bag can accommodate eight liters of gear and do so without feeling bulky or unwieldy. There’s even load straps so you can carry your tripod on the bottom of the bag.

Having a comfortable and functional bag like this is of the utmost importance for your workflow. But add in all the protective features, and you have the makings of an ideal bag for on-the-go photographers.

Learn More:

Cover Your Camera and Lens  

There are so many ways to protect your camera from bad weather, but they all require an uncomfortable plastic bag that you have to throw over yourself and your equipment, except for the Camera Canopy. 

The Camera Canopy works by mounting directly to your camera’s hot shoe; it also features multiple layers of hard plastic protection so that even if the rain is coming down especially hard or at an angle, your camera will still be protected.  

There is no better rain protection for cameras available on the market today.

The Camera Canopy comes in two sizes, one for DSLRs and one for your mirrorless. At $87.99 and $59.99, respectively, it’s a steal! 

What’s so great above this device is that you get all the protection you need for your gear but without all the fuss of having to reach into a plastic bag to access the camera controls.

Instead, the Camera Canopy sits above your camera so you can easily change camera settings on the fly and review images on your LCD without issue. 

I’ve tested this thing in rain, wind, and snow, and it has proven to be a valuable protective device for my gear time and time again. It’ll do the same for you, I’m sure!

Keep Your Lens and Camera Clean

dust protection for cameras

 photo by Rawpixel via iStock 

There’s no point in learning how to protect your camera gear if you’re not going to then keep this camera gear in good shape.

Not only will this help you to resell your gear when you’re ready to upgrade, but it will also help you keep your workflow much smoother. 

Ezvid Wiki outlined the best camera cleaning kits earlier this year, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a ton of money on a store bought camera cleaning kit, especially when you can DIY your own for less than $20.

My DIY camera cleaning kit includes:

  • A microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Q-tips
  • Make-up brushes
  • A DIY lens bellows made out of an infant nose-clearing sucker 
  • Eyeglass wipes  

It’s that simple! 

Taking a little bit of time to properly protect your gear will help you be more productive, keep your gear in working order, and will benefit you when it comes time to sell your gear. 

It’s the best of all worlds! 

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


Wildlife Photography Tips for Bad Weather

Wildlife Photography Tips for Bad Weather 1

photo byjonathan_steven via iStock

When you look out the window and see overcast skies, rain, and wind, you probably don’t think, “Yes, these are ideal conditions for wildlife photography.”

But, as you’ll learn below, taking steps to protect your gear and heading out into poor weather can give you plentiful opportunities to capture breathtaking photos of wildlife.

After all, inclement weather is often full of drama, and that can translate well as the backdrop for your wildlife photos.

Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #1: Protect Your Gear

how to protect your camera in the rain

photo by Sandra Dombrovsky via iStock

In years past, virtually the only option to protect your camera and lens from moisture was to use a camera rain cover.

The problems with these covers are threefold:

  • They get in the way of seeing your camera’s LCD, thus making it difficult to adjust camera settings.
  • You have to reach inside the cover to make settings adjustments, which is cumbersome at best.
  • The cover doesn’t protect the end of the lens from the elements.

camera canopy 2

A better solution is the Camera Canopy.

This rig is fully adjustable to protect up to a 500mm lens and camera body from the elements. Just extend the canopy to accommodate longer lenses and retract it to accommodate shorter lenses to protect the lens glass from getting rained on.

camera canopy

And since it mounts to the camera’s hot-shoe, you can see the LCD and easily make changes to your camera settings as needed.

There’s no need to fiddle around trying to find your bearings inside a restrictive rain cover. Instead, the back of the camera is open just as it should be so you can more easily compose your shots and make on-the-fly changes to your camera settings. As you can see above, you can also shoot handheld with the camera canopy in place.

In other words, this innovative little gadget is just what you need to protect your gear when the weather gets bad!

Learn More:

camera canopy banner

Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #2: Go Small 

bad weather wildlife photography tip 1

photo byGlobal_Pics via iStock

Typically, when the weather is bad, larger animals will seek shelter and ride out the storm. You have to be ultimately patient (more on that below) if you’re going to photograph these animals in inclement weather. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to sit in your car or hide without capturing interesting images. 

Birds, for example, love the rain and you can often find them bathing in puddles or perched on branches taking a quick bath.

And, as shown above, the raindrops add a measure of added interest to the shot due to their blurry motion.

bad weather wildlife photography tip 2

photo bygawrav via iStock

You can get smaller still when the weather is bad by shooting macro photos.

The beetle pictured above is the ideal subject for dreary weather, as its bright colors pop in the frame and the water droplets on the leaf add interest to the composition. 

So, though you might be after photos of bears or deer or other large mammals, it’s the small ones that might be the easiest target in bad weather.

Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #3: Be Patient 

wildlife photography tips 1

photo by ysbrandcosijn via iStock 

Like any photographic pursuit, wildlife photography - especially in bad weather - requires a ton of patience on your part.

You very well might be sitting in the same spot for hours on end, just waiting for an opportunity to photograph wildlife. If you plan ahead, though, you might be able to minimize the wait time.

For example, research the behavior and habits of your target animal, that way you know precisely where to look for them and the time of day during which they are most active.

wildlife photography tips 2

photo byBeholdingEye via iStock

Likewise, understand that during bad weather, large animals might be bedded down, as shown above. By elevating your shooting position, you can better capture moments like this.

wildlife photography tips 3

photo byPhilEllard via iStock

Of course, don’t let the bad weather pass without trying to use it as a backdrop. 

The deep, dark clouds of a passing storm are a perfect background for a wildlife photo. As you can see above, the dramatic clouds give this shot an added layer of interest.

The point here is that there are all kinds of opportunities for creating compelling images of wildlife when the weather isn’t all that great. Simply protect your gear, look for animals big and small, and be patient, and you’ll be in a good position to get some dramatic wildlife photos. 

Learn More:



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