Fully Accessorized & Ready to Go!
Article © 2005-09 by Jenna Caplette, with tips from our staff at F-11 Photographic Supplies
You’ve got the lens filters. You’ve got the snazzy waterproof camera and lens cases. Your photographer-self is fully accessorized and ready to explore, to “capture” Montana’s vivid summer season.
Maybe. But. As your skill increases, as you expand your photographic repertoire, there are always more things to consider. That’s both part of the fun and the challenge of photography.
Case in point: the cable release. If you’re doing a long exposure or having fun with a self-timer, a cable release gives you more control over when your camera goes off. An electronic cable release costs a bit more than a mechanical plunger release and allows you to fire the camera with no movement at all. Many new digital cameras work with a wireless control that’s both inexpensive and easy to carry.
If you’re using a cable release you probably have your camera set up on a tripod. Tripods have several accessories designed just to work with them. For instance, Wimberly makes a creative and fun tripod accessory. The “plamp” is a flexible “arm” that attaches to a tripod leg then can extend to hold the flower you’re shooting still. even on a breezy, mountain day. The plamp also functions as a silent and willing personal assistant, working with your tripod to hold a light reflector or an umbrella just where you want it while you get the perfect shot.
Light reflectors and umbrellas both fall under the general category of “light-modifiers.” Light modifiers do exactly what their name says: they change what the light looks like in a photograph. They include flashes, flash-diffusers, light reflectors and umbrellas.
Direct a flash into an umbrella and the umbrella’s lining will soften and reflect that light back onto your subject. Many umbrellas come with a removable black background so you can make the umbrella translucent, allowing you to shoot through it as if it were a “soft box.” If you’re out shooting in the bright sun, an umbrella can be used as a shade or to soften the light coming onto your subject.
A handy reflector is the tri-fold. Round and simple to fold down on itself, the tri-fold becomes quite small and easy to carry. Unfold it and you have a nice-sized reflector to direct light into the shadowed areas of someone’s face, or the open petals of a blooming flower. Reflectors are made in a variety of colors. Soft-gold is the most popular for photographing nature, and people. It adds the warmth of sunset-looking light to your photograph, even during day light hours. That’s especially great for creating flattering, warm skin tones.
To hold a reflector or an umbrella while taking a photograph, use your Wimberly plamp with your tripod. Or, use a cable release for your camera while you hold the reflector.
That’s how accessories work. In unison. With you as Master Choreographer.
Sound complicated? Not sure what all of this means? Go armed with questions to a full-service photography store and let a well-informed sales associate be your accessory guide. Be sure to ask lots of questions about any products you choose so that you invest in those best suited for your intended use and your budget. You should leave the store knowing how to readily incorporate your new imaging accessories into your work, and play, as a photographer.