Pros tell us there is a two-step process involved in successfully taking photographs. The first part is mastering your equipment. The second is even trickier and it centers on mastering the shot—framing, composition, and the use of light. The second part involves a lot of technique and practice, practice, practice. The first part is what every new photographer is obsessed with: the camera, the lenses, backdrop stand and lights and all the other goodies that are so fun to play with. We can’t help with part two (practice), but hopefully we can at least suggest some great accessories for amateur photographers just getting started.
There are a ton of good light kits out there. That stands to reason because managing your light is one of the key elements in taking good photos. We think a fine starter option would be a Lowel Light Mfg. three-light kit and prices will start at about $500.
Universal Battery Charger
It’s not terribly sexy, but your camera will not work with a dead battery and a universal charger is the best way to keep it going, especially when traveling. We like the 04 Hahnel Unipal Universal Battery Charger. It will charge almost any lithium camera battery by simply adjusting the contacts via the nifty thumbwheels. It will also charge AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and anything with a USB lead such as your iPods, iPhones and game consoles.
Every photographer needs a good tripod. Like the battery charger, it may not be exciting, but it is crucial, especially for landscapes and portraits. The Velbon Ultra LUXi-L is a bargain at around $175. It has a trunnion shaft system which means each leg extends the entire inside length of the outer leg casing. This makes the tripod very compact when folded.
For a host of fine camera and photography accessories, check out The LA Shop. They have great prices and a very user-friendly website with easy-to-navigate categories and options.