Keeping the camera steady and on the same plane when you move your arms is challenging. Back in the day, we duck taped our cameras to skateboards as a DIY solution. The pros use slider tracks to remote control their cameras along a smooth sideways pan. Sliders can be pricey and they take up space. This little skate board camera dolly is an inexpensive solution for the rest of us. Pro tip (even if you don't get this dolly and you are hand-holding your camera): place an object or set of objects closer to the camera and then roll your camera around that object to reveal your main subject. For example, I am preparing to do a short spot to highlight the loaded Bloody Mary at a local bar. I plan to roll past some glasses on the bar to reveal (in perfect focus and lit by the Manfrotto LED light listed on the CAMERA GEAR: SET 1 PAGE) the final product, loaded, bright., and icy cold. Sounds and will look yummy, right? Another scene: your baby or grandchild is sitting in the highchair enjoying Cheerios. You set their favorite stuffed toy on the table in mid proximity to the camera and roll past that to reveal this cutest baby and moment. An interesting object in the foreground creates depth and interest. The shot should be short, about 4 seconds if you are editing it into other shots. If not, and it's just for family and friends, you could then stay focused on the baby for a couple of beats and then roll the dolly around to you (get low into camera frame) for a closing message. You can get crazy and roll your camera down things for unique shots. Now then: you are using a nice camera and you want a higher quality, smooth shot on the floor, table top, or other flat surface. Mount your camera on this skateboard, and lock the skate to move in a straight line as you shoot, or in a curved line to move around the subject - this is another useful feature, you can lock the wheels on the same rotation angle. Wow! You're a pro - click on the affiliate link below to make it happen. Small size, doesn't take up much space in camera bag.
Having a grip is another inexpensive method for achieving more stable video. Some people like handles on either side of the camera, but I prefer the U style I've linked for you because it's easier to use in narrow situations. With the U grip style, you can easily use one or two hands. The triple cold shoe mount (hot shoes use the camera and the power source, cold shoes use their own batteries) give you the ability to attach a mic, a light, and something else...humm, not sure what third item you would need. I like how the U grip makes it easy for me to reach in to a tight situation for the shot. This action grips easily mount on a tripod for still video shots too. Pro tip: when panning left or right, place feet wide - about shoulder width apart, move slowly, twist from hips - not shoulders. Twist to the left or right to the starting position, then pan. The grip makes it easier to tilt up and down too - use both hands, take a knee for additional stability, and move the camera slowly up or down. This is an action grip, so you can walk slowly forward while tilting up or down, or do the same walking backward - this is a good technique for shooting architecture. Foodies: use the action grip and two hands to push in towards the stove and hold for 4 seconds. No need to pull back out, we got it. However, if you don't mind editing, I like to push in and pull back a few times so I can edit best take. I use Action Director editing app on my phone. I keep my Canon 70D with standard lens on the action grip with the shotgun mic attached so I am ready to be a roving reporter :) I don't want it to look like a fancy piece of equipment, so I have it in a snug-fitting box with notes inside the lid about camera settings (when I am tired I seem to have trouble remembering even the details I know). Even if you are the type of camera user who has a nice camera you leave on AUTO all the time (no harm, no foul there, I do that much of the time too), this simple tool can help you shoot better video. Check it out through the affiliate link below if you are interested - easy and inexpensive way to improve your video.
On-camera mics work well in many situations, but in noisy environments or with people who have differing voice types, audio capture can be challenging. I keep the shotgun mic I have linked for you attached to my video camera on the action grip. If you get this mic, you also need a 3.5 mm interface cord that attaches between the mic and the camera (sold separately). The action grip and this mic are not expensive, but they make a good impression when you are using your time for volunteer projects. Even when you are working for free or doing something fun for your friends, your time is valuable, and this set up sends the clear message that you are a step above the weekend cell phone video shooter. Of course, if you are paid to shoot video, the more equipment like this you have, the better the chances of you delivering a quality product. Pro tip: if you are interviewing (or just talking with) someone and you are off-camera -using this on-camera mic, with the other person being the talking head in the video, put your camera on a tripod. There, now it's steady. This also gives you the ability to place yourself an equal distance from the camera as the person you are talking to so the audio level is equal. If you stand too close, you will be much louder than the other person. If you are using a boom mic over the person, then you also need to be near a mic, otherwise they will have good audio and you will be an annoying whisper in the background. You can purchase a higher quality mic and spend lots more money if you want to, but why not start with this mic and see how it works out for you? Click on the affiliate link below and remember to get the interface cord too.
When I took a photography class in high
school and then purchased my first 35mm camera, I was eager to use filters. I had a basic set that included blue, red, and clear UV. That red filter helped me win some class award with my photograph of clouds over a canyon. For some reason, when it was time for me to go digital, I forgot all about filters. I think I was so busy figuring out how to use all the settings on my camera, that filters fell off my radar. In the last couple of years, I've been wanting to up my photography game, and felt silly for not having a basic UV filter on my camera all the time. In addition to protecting your lens, the filter improves clarity and reduces glare. Pro tip: polarizing filters reduce reflections in non-metallic surfaces and make blue skies and green foliage appear to be more saturated in color. Use a polarizing filter when shooting landscapes. Neutral density (ND) filters absorb light and are useful when shooting in bright sunlight. I also decided to get a tulip style reversible lens hood. (Reversible is important so you can easily screw it on in reverse to store it in your camera bag.) The lens hood protects your lens and also helps reduce glare. Quick to shoot makes all the difference in many situations, so I also got a pinch-style lens cover. I should have gotten a bundle to include all these items, but I didn't. I purchased separately and paid more as a result. For YOU I have a bundle link. If You don't want filters (but why wouldn't you?) I also provided a link for the lens hood and cover only. These are basic items, and if you purchase a DSLR or the Sony I recommended on the Camera Gear: Set 1 page, I think you should get these items at the same time. IMPORTANT NOTE: LOOK AT THE RIM INSIDE YOUR LENS TO MATCH MM NUMBER. MY LINK IS FOR A 72MM LENS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I HAVE. When you click on the affiliate link below, it will be easy to navigate to a different size mm if you need to. This bundle is a good way to protect your lens and improve the quality of your images in different environments.
Even if, by some weird destiny or random click, you ended up on THIS page in THIS article, and you are not at all interested in photography, you are in the right place in this moment. Why? Because everyone should have a roll of gaffers tape and a pack of orange twisty ties on hand at all times! Again you ask, "Why?" And the answer is, "Because, you never know when you are going to need them." When we moved to the mountains, duct tape, bungie cords, and tarps became a way of life. In our trainer kits at work, extension cords and duct tape. Pro tip: ALWAYS tape down any kind of cords to prevent creating a trip hazard. Most commonly on photo shoots, that would include light and extension cords. Don't waste your gaffers tape by taping down the entire cord - you can tape down sections. I also tape and X on the floor where I am supposed to stand or where the person I am filming is supposed to stand (this is their "mark"). When you fill your micro SD card and switch it out, take a small strip of gaffers tape and cover the end to be sure you don' lose valuable footage or images by recording over them. Duct tape leaves residue and has a low melt temp, and it's not always easy to remove. I am often trying to attach, connect, secure down, or some other version of this to that and rubber bands don't work, velcro can be a hassle, and the ties that wrap new product cords are often too short (I used to save and carry those in my bag before I discovered these orange rubber ties). I recently used a strip of gaffers tape to hold my video camera lens at 50mm because it suddenly wants to slide to a different setting without any encourage from me. If I want to use that same camera to take close up shots of flowers, the strip of gaffers tape is easy to remove and won't make a mess of my lens. Gaffers tape is handy if you need to attach something to a tripod - like an additional light (Gaffers tape is heat-resistant), or tape down your tripod in place. If I am hiking and don't want to take my camera bag, you might find one of these orange ties wrapped around my wrist bracelet style, just in case. These items simply make life easier when you need them and I think we should have a roll and a pack in each car, in the house utility drawer or garage, and - of course - in your camera bag. Click on the affiliate links below to make sure you are ready for the next whatever might happen or need.
I don't know why I waited so long to get a backpack designed for camera gear. I tried to use every back pack I had and adapt it for this use, but it was really funky, hard on my gear, and frankly, a pain in the ass when I needed to get to my gear quickly. I like the one I've linked for you better than the one I have and I paid more for the one I purchased (I think because of the brand name). Mine is about this same size, which I like. This one has a tripod holder, which I had to rig on mine. This one has a versatile design, including a protected space for a long lens. I like all the lens compartments and mesh pockets for your orange twisty ties, lens wipes, micro memory cards, extra batteries, etc. I think this is a nice basic camera bag, but depending on your gear, you might want to look at different designs. I think a camera gear backpack is important if you like to hike, shoot at locations where you walk in some distance from your vehicle, and to stay organized on the go without some big bulky case. For you travelers who want to edit in various locations, I also included a link for a larger camera case with a laptop compartment. If you fly, you want to keep your gear with you in the overhead compartment, and this bag is perfect for that application. Pro tip: your bag should have a handy compartment for sunglasses, keys, gloves/beanie and hand warmers in winter, a small flash light if you are shooting night lapse, a place you can tie off or store your rolled up camo windbreaker (scroll down for link), and side straps for a tripod or mono-pod or both.
Click on the affiliate links below as you consider your options and whether you need one of these bags or both. I have a backpack camera bag and use a different bag for my laptop, but you might prefer the all-in-one style. One consideration might be the weight of having everything in one bag, but another consideration his how much easier it is to have one bag instead of two. There are so many more styles of camera bags available since I purchased mine! Have fun shopping!
I don't mind DIY cell phone camera video for many applications. I am excited about the creativity that can skyrocket culturally when average people are carrying good quality video cameras with them because of their phones - isn't it amazing? For many of you, if you get good at using your cell phone video camera, that's all you need and it's a blast. However, if you have invested in a nice DSLR camera (or something more or comparable), then a nice fluid head tripod will improve the quality of your video action. The fluid head helps you pan and tilt smoothly and slowly. It's all about stability. If you are in a windy location, you can use sand bags or boards to stabilize your tripod. I recommend you purchase one at the price point of the one in my link below before you get goofy and purchase an expensive one - first, get in the habit of using one at this level, then determine if you need something more. Whenever you travel, take it with you. When you have people coming over to visit, have it set up. If you go to some kind of event, take it with you and consider standing in back for some time to get a nice, smooth pan of the room. It's time to get fluid, baby, click on my affiliate link below and find out how slow and steady looks on your work!
I used this light when I shot a program promotional video and it worked very well. One person complained the light was too bright, so I need to get the diffuser that's made for it. This light is light weight and I can even use it on a flimsy tiny tripod meant for a cell phone. It can tilt up or down and has a dimmer roll switch. I prefer cold shoe lights (they mount on the camera hot shoe mount, but use their own battery power). This gives me the option of using the light in a variety of ways off the camera. This light is bigger than the light I listed on the Camera Gear: Set 1 page and for that and other design reasons, it's less expensive. Pro tip: Typically you would use this light in conjunction with two other light sources: hopefully some decent lighting in the room and with one of your own lights on a stand. These are general guidelines and it all depends on the mood and quality you are trying to achieve. This light is good if you don't do a lot of indoor video, but want to cover your bases in case something comes up, or even if you need to help out with a work project or something like that. Click on my affiliate links below to use the same light I have - still bright after several years.
Yes, you can set the camera on a still tripod and shoot from this angle, and then move the set up over there and shoot from that angle. It might work out okay, or it might be boring. Alternatively, you could mount your camera on a tripod dolly and roll in that direction to create smooth movement and more interest. The first time you can set the tripod low, the next time at waist height, and the third time as high as your tripod will go. Back at your computer, you can see which point of view worked best. You can also leave the tripod at the same height, but change your camera angel for each roll. You can also roll left and then roll right to see which is most interesting. You'll need a fairly smooth floor or surface for this dolly to do it's best work for you. You can also purchase or build slider tracks for the dolly to ensure a smooth roll. The first time I used this dolly, I rolled around a piece of equipment to reveal a welder in action. Several people commented on the shot. This is not a piece of equipment everyone needs or will use, but if you shoot a lot of interior footage where floors are typically smooth and not carpeted, the dolly will provide extra creativity and more interesting action in your videos. Click my affiliate link below and start imagining how you will put the dolly to good use! Pro tip: don't overuse any one type of shot in a video. Use the dolly once or twice in your video at different heights and then mix it up.
My primary reason for purchasing a telephoto lens, and now the Sony RX10 IV (see the CAMERA GEAR: SET 1 PAGE) is my passion for bird and wildlife photography. "I like it, I love it, I want more of it!" Seeing the world through my lens is my form of meditation and it's one of the reasons I feel so grateful to live in the Northern California mountains. Whether I am crawling on my belly through the tall grass in a late-summer meadow, or standing in a drainage ditch near a wild-life sanctuary, the right clothing can make the difference between getting or missing the shot, or being comfortable or uncomfortable in various outdoor conditions. Over the years I've gone through cheap galoshes, and a mix mash of designated photography clothing. I am so excited to be increasing my photography time, I purchased nice muck boots - Lacrosse, for my snow goose photo shoots this past spring. My first time out in them, I ended up hiding in the reeds, water half way up my shins, to get some of my best shots that day. On the next day, I was ankle deep in mud, getting some beautiful shots of snowy white egrets. I should have purchased these boots years ago. Clarification: they are very well built and heavy, so I wear something else if I am hiking in the mountains on a photo shoot. I keep my camo windbreaker hoodie on a hook at my front door so I am ready if I see our hear something that might be a good shot, and I wear this on most photo shoots. I can wear something light or heavy under it, depending, so I purchased one that is large on me so I can wear a warm layer under it. Of course, a good camo pant helps you blend in even more. Pro tip for bird photographers: don't chase them, let them come to you. Study their behaviors, and put yourself in the likely position to get a good photo. Pay attention to the wind direction since they like to fly into the wind. Being still and patient pays off! Click on the affiliate links below to get set up with your camo outfit. Men, click on these links for women's clothes and easily navigate to your sizes from there.
Valuable camera accessories you can use to make money include this item. I purchased a portable light box to photograph objects for Shutterstock. I decided to share it here for two specific reasons. 1. Many years ago, when my mom was sick, I spent a day photographing the objects in her kitchen. She had a great time telling me stories about the objects and appreciating how much I enjoyed the artistic nature of the kitchen items used by both my grandmothers and my mom. I didn't have a portable light table at the time, but had I used one, the photos would have been even better. I used those photographs to create a video installation for an art show. It was titled, "My Mother's Kitchen", and it ran on a VHS loop for hours. My first surprise was how much people enjoyed watching it and saying things like, "My grandmother had one of those!:, "My mom uses that!", "I know what that is, I have one!". My next surprise was selling a few of the tapes. People wanted to go home and watch that artistic approach to the objects in my mother's kitchen. 2. The Camp Fire took the family home where I grew up. We moved into that house in 1962 and I lived there until I moved out on my own. My parents both passed while living there, and my brother, who moved back from Thousand Oaks, was living there at the time of the fire. Having photographs of the rooms of that house, the objects in that house, and images of our lives during the holidays as we all grew up together, is something I treasure. And now many of my friends are facing the deaths of parents and grandparents and going through their possessions. Taking photographs of their things, the things you decide to keep, the things someone else might take, and even the things you kind of like, but there is a chip or a tear and it goes in the give-away or throw-away pile - well, the photos might help you in some way, or simply serve as enjoyment. I am the keeper of photographs and when The Camp Fire took Paradise and had so many of my friends and family on the run, sharing photographs on fb was therapeutic for me and for them. Click on the affiliate link below: I share this light box link with you in case it's time for you to photograph objects, and do it right. The light box makes it clean, without distracting backgrounds, and the good lighting will highlight the objects. You can arrange several objects of the same theme in one shot. Another example: before you give those baby toys and clothes to someone who needs them next, do you want to photograph them? Glass, or any translucent objects (marbles/jelly beans) look great when photographed in a light box. Have fun! See Camera Gear Set 1 and Set 3 for more information and direct links.
I got lucky. A friend of mine who likes to hunt got this tree ladder/platform and then realized it bothered him to be up there. He gave it to me for $25 and I enjoy it very much. (Thank you and RIP, Jim Rice). I live in the perfect location to take photos from up on a platform. I look out over a meadow, and I'm surrounded by trees on three sides. I am so comfortable on the platform (I tie myself off with carabiners), I enjoy being up there even if I don't get any exciting shots. From 15' in the air, you have a very different vantage point with your telephoto lens! Once I started sitting up there, I realized how much I was missing from the ground view. The platform won't work in all environments, but if it would work in your situation, you might enjoy it very much. Click on my affiliate link below and take your photographs to new heights!