The season for vacations, travel, outdoor fun, water sports, beach parties and taking lots of pictures is finally here! Published stats on picture taking invariably show that the number of pictures taken worldwide peak during the summer months. Summertime imaging is hot!
To help maximize your customers’ summertime shooting satisfaction, steering them to targeted photographic accessories is a wise strategy. Not only does this help build customer relationships, but adding accessories to big-ticket camera and lens sales is also a great way to offset the relatively low profit margins on cameras. On a percentage basis, photo accessories almost always have a higher profit margin. It’s even possible to generate more profit in actual dollars by selling a $100 accessory than a $600 camera!
Successfully selling photo accessories can also combat the competitive pressure from mass-market online sellers and big-box stores. Indeed, camera specialty stores are in a much better position to demonstrate accessories by leveraging their superior knowledge base.
In addition, promoting protective gear, travel tripods, flash units, brackets, filters, lens-cleaning kits and other more summertime specific accessories is a terrific way to generate consumer interest in taking pictures. So why not ask your customers about their summer plans and suggest a specific photo accessory that will increase their shooting experience. Your customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. They’ll also be more likely to return to purchase those coveted big-ticket items.
With all of this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-true items. While these accessories are definitely a good start, we hope they’ll also get you thinking creatively about this multifaceted and varied category.
A Selection of Summertime Imaging Accessories
Sirui W-1004 Tripod
This waterproof, aluminum alloy tripod from Sirui is ideal for shooting at the beach, on the trail and in dusty or inclement conditions. The ingenious submersible tripod features a waterproof sealing system that prevents water, dust and sand from entering its four-section twist-lock leg tubes. Moreover, one leg is removable and can be attached to the split center column to form a full-size 63.8-inch monopod.
In addition, for enhanced stability on outdoor surfaces, stainless steel spikes can replace its removable rubber feet. The W-1004 extends to a maximum height of 65 inches, folds to a compact 19.3 inches, has a load capacity of 33.1 pounds and weighs in at 3.7 pounds. Its split center column enables a minimum height setting of 5.7 inches for grounder shots and provides a ballast hook for hanging a stabilizing weight. Plus, its reverse-folding legs wrap around most accessory ball heads to ensure maximum compactness. $169.99.
Sigma 2.0x Teleconverter EX APO DG
This highly corrected Sigma 2x converter mounts directly behind the lens to double its effective focal length while losing only two stops of light to enhance shooting flexibility on the go. For example, a 50mm f/1.4 lens becomes a 100mm f/2.8, and an 85mm f/1.4 lens becomes a 170mm f/2.8.
In addition, the teleconverter maintains communication between the lens and the camera so autoexposure and autofocus functions operate normally. Moreover, its multicoating maximizes light transmission and minimizes flare and ghosting. The teleconverter is also a compact, lightweight alternate to carrying extra lenses. The 2.0x teleconverter comes in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma SA mounts. With case and body/rear caps, $299.
Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter
This is the perfect summertime filter because it lets users shoot at wide apertures and/or slow shutter speeds on bright sunny days to capture gorgeous pictorial effects. The Tiffen VND filter adds another control to the camera—a continuously variable ring that lets photographers control and assess the amount of light coming though the lens. By turning the filter’s milled front ring, they can reduce the exposure from 2 stops (ND 0.6) to 8 (ND 2.4), or anything in between. Furthermore, a dotted reference scale makes it easy to return to any previous setting.
Although it uses polarization to achieve variable ND control, it is not a polarizing filter. However, it is beautifully made and finished, turning very smoothly and precisely. It is manufactured using proprietary ColorCore technology to seal in the filter material, ensuring absolute uniformity in production. 52mm, $103.99; 72mm, $135.99; $82mm, $166.99.
Sunpak Platinum Plus Action Camera Kit
Here is an item specially designed to maximize video shooting opportunities with popular GoPro action cameras. The innovative four-part accessory kit includes a comfortable, user-adjustable one-size-fits-all head mount that weighs 3.2 ounces.
Also in the kit are an adjustable SelfieWand measuring 9x1x1 inches and weighing 3.6 ounces; a 6×1.5-inch, 2.2-ounce floating hand grip that keeps the camera afloat if it’s dropped in water; and a pocket-size multiuse LensPen lens cleaner.
This accessory kit distributed by ToCad effectively makes it easy to be part of the action while taking up little space. $19.95.
DiCAPac Waterproof Case
The DiCAPac cool, budget-priced underwater housing for mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras lets users shoot to a depth of 16.4 feet. And they can do so while operating all camera controls through the housing.
Constructed of durable lightweight PVC, TPU, ABS, PC and silicone, the case features a touch-fastened seal. In addition, its UV-coated lens port has an extension ring to accommodate lenses up to 65mm in diameter and 68mm in length. The case also comes with a sturdy neck strap and a sponge block to lift shorter camera bodies to align with the port. $59.
Bower SFD5400 Flash
Flash is a great way to tame the harsh facial shadows often encountered on bright, sunny days. The Bower compact, powerful, hot-shoe-mounted autofocus DSLR flash unit is compatible with both Nikon i-TTL and Canon E-TTL dedicated systems.
The flash delivers an impressive guide number of 131 (feet) at ISO 100 and the 105mm setting. It also features an auto zoom range of 24–105mm. It can tilt upward to 90º, rotate left to 180º and right to 90º. Other features include: a built-in bounce card and easy-access wide-angle diffusor; an infrared AF-assist beam; and built-in red-eye reduction. The Bower SFD5400 runs on four AA batteries, recycles in 0.5–7 sec and supports slow sync on Nikon cameras as well as first- and second-curtain sync settings. $99.99.
Tamron 70–210mm f/4 Di VC USD Lens
Yes, this is a higher priced accessory, but a versatile lens is a must for summer travels and adventures. This telephoto zoom allows photographers to get the optimum picture while still traveling light. Tamron’s model A034 provides superb optical performance throughout its zoom range. It uses three LD (low dispersion) lens elements to correct chromatic aberrations while shooting crisp images to the edges of the frame.
Moreover, with its 1:3.1-magnification ratio, users can achieve ultra-soft bokeh when shooting up close. Additionally, the lens uses an internal zoom mechanism that provides solid mechanical construction and stable operation. Since the barrel length never changes while zooming, users can shoot through obstructions like wire fences.
Plus, Tamron’s dual micro-processing-unit design helps enable fast, accurate AF as well as VC (vibration compensation) image stabilization. With 4-stop performance, the VC system controls vibrations that can occur while shooting in low light or handheld. A fluorine coating complements its moisture-resistant construction. $799.
Sigma WR Ceramic Protector Filter
Many experienced photographers use a clear or UV filter over their lenses to protect their glass from dust, sand, scratching and direct physical impact. The Sigma WR Ceramic Protector filter takes this protection to the next level, employing a super-hard ceramic substrate. The filter combines a remarkable 99.7% transmittance value, a hardness greater than chemically strengthened glass and greater flexibility than sapphire crystal.
As a result, the ceramic filter delivers superior shock, scratch and impact resistance, even under adverse conditions. It also features a water-repellent, antistatic coating that repels water droplets and fingerprints, and it is also easy to clean. The filter comes in sizes from 67mm to 105mm. $93–$315.
Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector
This handy light modification tool from Raya is great for filling in the harsh shadows often encountered when shooting in bright sunlight. It includes white, silver, gold and black surfaces plus a one-stop translucent diffusion panel. The reflector offers a flexible solution to achieve precise lighting effects when shooting outdoors or indoors.
The white disc provides a neutral fill; the silver one adds contrast and increases specular highlights. Moreover, the gold surface adds a touch of warmth, while the black blocks unwanted reflections and eliminates spill. In addition, the translucent disc cuts the light by one stop and creates a broader, softer light source.
The reflector comes in three sizes: 22, 32 and 42 inches. The 42-inch size is suitable for three-quarter length portraits and medium-size still life subjects. All three fold to one-third their size for storage in an included carrying bag. $14.95, $19.95, $23.95.
Giottos CL 1001 Lens Cleaning Kit
A must-have travel accessory for those “Oh no!” moments, the Giottos kit comes with a multi-optical cleaning solution for use on all glass and plastic surfaces, a white microfiber cloth, a retractable goat’s hair brush and 10 cotton swabs with both pointed and blunt ends.
It also includes a small Giottos Rocket Blaster blower made from natural rubber. The German-designed blower has a unique inlet valve design that prevents it from blowing back dust. As a result, the blower is suitable for cleaning delicate sensors. Giottos makes a wide range of cleaning kits, which come in display cases. CL 1001, $12.95.
B+W XS-Pro Kaesemann Circular Polarizer MRC-Nano Filter
This high-transmission filter is ideal for shooting summer scenic and landscape images. That’s because it increases overall color saturation, adds contrast for dramatic skies and eliminates unwanted glare from water and glass surfaces.
Using Kaesemann foils it provides 99.5% light transmission, with a filter factor of 2–2.8x. Getting the desired effect is easy—users can rotate the front ring of this two-part filter until they see it in the viewfinder or on the LCD. Moreover, circular polarizers won’t affect meter or AF accuracy when used on today’s TTL-metering DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The MRC-Nano filter comes in sizes from 30.5mm to 95mm, with prices ranging from $53.95 to $279.95.
Pelican Protector Micro Cases
These versatile water-resistant, crushproof and dustproof cases come in a range of sizes and colors. Pelican Protector micro cases are made of strong, durable polymer with a rubber liner that doubles as an O-ring seal. Designed for carrying small items like smartphones and electronic gear, the cases are available in clear with a color liner or solid.
In addition, they feature a pressure-equalization valve that balances the interior and exterior pressure and keeps water out. With an easy-open latch, the cases have stainless steel hardware and come with a carabiner. The 1060 micro case, for instance, is able to float in salt water with a payload up to 2.49 pounds. Like all Protector micro cases, it can withstand temperatures from -10ºF to 199ºF. The 1060 is the largest of the line, measuring 9.9×5.6×2.6 inches (exterior) and weighing 1 pound. It comes in black, yellow, blue or red, $24.99.