Summer is the season for outdoor activities and travels—from the shores to the mountains. And whether touring, hiking, boating or beach partying, there are lots of great picture-taking opportunities! The published stats invariably show that the number of pictures taken worldwide peak during the summer months, exceeding even the winter holidays.
To help maximize your customers’ photographic possibilities and enrich their summer shooting satisfaction, now is the time to promote value-added accessories. And enhancing their ability to capture images they will treasure for years to come is also an effective strategy for building relationships with your customers.
As we all know, adding accessories to big-ticket camera and lens sales is a great way to offset the relatively low profit margins on cameras—and to combat the competitive pressure from big-box stores and Internet consolidators.
For one thing, camera specialty stores are optimally positioned to demonstrate and sell accessories by leveraging their superior knowledge base and the relationships they’ve established with customers. And on a percentage basis, photo accessories almost always have a higher profit margin than cameras; it’s even possible to generate more profit in actual dollars by selling a $100 accessory than a $600 camera!
In other words, displaying and promoting items like protective gear, belt packs, travel tripods, flash units, brackets, filters and lens-cleaning kits is a terrific way to heighten consumer involvement with photography and perk up summertime sales.
When customers come into your store this season, ask them about their summer plans and suggest something specific that will add to their picture-taking experience. If they’re in the market for a point-and-shoot camera, a longer zoom for their DSLR or a high-capacity, high-speed memory card to capture HD video, by all means suggest a suitable accessory. Your customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness and will be more likely to return to purchase coveted big-ticket items.
To help set you on the right course, here are some tried-and-true items and some innovative ones for your consideration. While the specific products covered here are definitely a good start, we hope they’ll get you thinking creatively about this multifaceted and varied category.
Indeed, one of the surest signs your business model is on the right track is achieving robust accessory sales. So take a look at our picks, start those wheels turning and go for it!
Sunpak PlatinumPlus Action Cam Accessory Kit. This bundle is designed to maximize video shooting with popular GoPro action cameras. The ingenious four-part kit consists of: a comfortable, user-adjustable one-size-fits-all head mount that weighs 3.2 ounces; an adjustable selfie wand measuring 9x1x1 inches and weighing 3.6 ounces that makes it easy to be part of the action; a 6×1.5-inch, 2.2-ounce floating handgrip that keeps the camera afloat if it’s dropped in water; and a pocket-size, multiuse LensPen lens cleaner that removes fingerprints and smudges from any lens. Some configurations include a 1/4″x20 tripod mount. $69.99. sunpak.com
Sirui W-1204 Waterproof Tripod. This innovative tripod, one of four in Sirui’s W series, is dustproof and waterproof to IPX Level 7 using a proprietary ring system that prevents water from seeping into the legs and causing damage. Its 10-layer carbon fiber legs have ergonomic, three-position leg-angle locks that lock into position automatically. A tripod leg converts it to a waterproof monopod, and its legs fold back 180º to achieve a compact folded length of only 19.3 inches. Its detachable center column can be inverted for low-angle shooting, and there’s a bottom hook for adding stabilizing weights. Slip-resistant rubber feet can be replaced with included steel spikes for rough terrain, and a bubble level allows fast horizontal adjustment. The Sirui W-1204 extends to a maximum height of 65 inches, weighs in at 3.7 pounds and has a hefty load capacity of 33.1 pounds. $494.95. argraph.com
PIXO C4 Universal Charger. This handy device is a great travel companion for recharging a smartphone, iPad, camera or batteries. It can charge up to four AA or AAA NiMH/NiCd batteries or a single 3.4–4.2 volt or 6.8–8.4 volt Li-Ion/LiPo battery pack. It has two USB ports to charge two smartphones at a time, including iPhones, and it can charge iPods and iPads via Micro-USB and Mini-USB connectors on the included USB cable. The USB ports have an output of 5 volts and 2,000 mAh. The German-engineered device includes a battery activator function to revive deeply discharged Li-Ion batteries, has silver-plated 3D-Flex contacts to assure correct polarity, and incorporates one red and three green LEDs to display charging status. $49.95. pixo.de
Sunpak DF3000 Digital Flash. An add-on flash is a great accessory to use in bright sunlight, since it provides fill light and tames harsh shadows and excessive contrast. This powerful, compact flash unit provides a zoom head diffuser with a 28–85mm range and manual zoom settings. Its head tilts up to 90º and swivels 180º to the left and 120º to the right for bounce applications. Delivering a high guide number of 92' (ISO 100/85mm) and fast recycling from 0.5–7 sec, it’s suitable for outdoor as well as low-light indoor applications. Other features include the auto setting of shutter speed and aperture, an auto power-off function, a focus-assist beam for low-light shooting, and TTL (but not wireless TTL) compatibility. The unit is powered by four alkaline or NiMH batteries (not included). The Sunpak DF3000C is available in dedicated versions for Canon, $69.95; Nikon, $59.95; and Sony/Minolta DSLRs, $59.95. sunpak.com
Tiffen Digital Essentials Filter Kit. This handy kit includes all three basic filters an outdoor digital shooter needs: a circular polarizer to eliminate reflections on water and glass, bring out clouds and intensify colors; a neutral density 0.6 filter that lets users shoot at wider apertures and/or slower shutter speeds on sunny days and capture gorgeous pictorial effects; and a UV protector filter that minimizes bluishness in distant scenes and acts as a lens protector. The filters are made in the USA using Tiffen’s proprietary ColorCore Glass process that seals in the filter material to assure uniformity. The kits include a padded storage pouch and carry a 10-year warranty. They are available in a range of sizes from 49mm to 82mm, with prices from $54.95 to $192. tiffen.com
Kaiser Waterproof WaveCase. This ingenious underwater case accommodates a wide variety of compact point-and-shoot cameras measuring up to 2.2×4.2×1 inches in size with a maximum lens extension of 0.7 inch. It will allow the camera to shoot underwater to a depth of 13 feet—perfect for snorkeling, boating or taking pictures in the pool. It also protects the camera against dirt, sand and dust as well as knocks and shocks on the trail. It’s made of crystal clear polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant coating on the lens side, and its two half shells snap together at eight fixing points for safe locking. With a hard-foam frame and seven foam cutouts to fit different size cameras, the WaveCase will float if dropped in the water. $49.99. kaiser-fototechnik.de/en
Manfrotto 190GO! Travel Tripod. For on-the-go photographers, this is Manfrotto’s most compact tripod. The aluminum 190GO! is fast to set up and operate; its twist locks are built for the easy opening and closing of all sections at one time, with one hand. Lightweight at 3.75 pounds, the tripod measures just 17.7 inches when fully collapsed. Despite its portable size, the 190GO! extends to 57.48 inches. It features Manfrotto’s patented 90° center column, hidden inside the top casting and accessible with one-finger operation that lifts the mechanism out of the casting and lets the center column swing to the horizontal position (no disassembly required). Plus, integrated in the top casting, Manfrotto’s “easy link” attachment turns the tripod into a mobile studio, permitting users to insert accessories with a 3/8″ male adapter, such as LED lights or reflectors, right into the tripod. $199.99. manfrotto.us
Steadicam Solo Stabilizer & Monopod. This amazing three-axis, gimbaled camera stabilization device allows users to shoot smooth, professional-looking HD or 4K video with DSLR rigs weighing up to a hefty 10 pounds. And it can also be pressed into service as an effective monopod for shooting critically sharp videos and stills with any camera. Its four sections extend telescopically to shoulder height for near-eye-level viewing, and it folds to a compact 24 inches for easy stowage. The all-metal Solo has an ergonomic foam gimbal handle and post control grips. A quick-release mounting plate and set of counterweights are included, allowing out-of-the-box use. $499.
In addition, for shooting shake-free video with all GoPro Hero action cams, the Steadicam Curve comes in a range of colors. $59.95. steadicam.com
BRNO dri+Cap Kit. Here’s just the thing for preventing fungus, etc., from attacking lenses in humid summer environments. Consisting of a dehumidifying body cap and a dehumidifying rear lens cap, each kit has a pack of color-changing silica gel in a special non-shedding pouch that’s contained in a silicon O-ring-sealed compartment. When on the camera or lens, the silica gel pack absorbs any moisture inside the equipment to prevent fungus or corrosion due to excess humidity. dri+Caps are available in Nikon or Canon mounts and come with eight vacuum-sealed packs of color-changing silica gel. $37. brnollc.com
Zing Designs Camera Pouch. This attractive, water-resistant neoprene bag is just the thing for the beach or boat. Designed to accommodate a large variety of point-and-shoot digital cameras, it has a pull-tight top for extra weatherproofing and a front flap that closes with a hook-and-loop fastener. The pouch comes with a removable neck strap and it can be attached to a belt using its built-in belt loop. Available in black, blue or red, Zing pouches come in three sizes: large, 4×3.25×6 inches, $11.99; medium, 3.5×2.25×4.75 inches, $10.99; and small, 2.75x2x4.5 inches, $9.99. tiffen.com
Giottos CL 1001 Lens Cleaning Kit. A terrific travel accessory for those “Oh no!” moments, the kit comes complete with a multi-optical cleaning solution for all glass and plastic surfaces, a microfiber cloth, a retractable brush, 10 cotton swabs with paper shafts and a small Giotto’s Rocket Blaster blower made from natural rubber. This German-designed blower has a unique inlet valve design that prevents it from blowing back dust, making it suitable for cleaning delicate sensors. Giottos makes a wide range of cleaning kits, which come in handy display cases. CL 1001, $12.95. giottosusa.com
Gepe Card Safe Extreme. Protecting precious image files while traveling is a top priority, and here’s a cool gadget that does just that. The watertight case stores memory cards—including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, MMC or SD cards—in specifically configured slots that hold them tightly and protect them against humidity, dust and electrostatic charges. The safe is divided into four separate compartments and uses special insert materials to prevent cards from being erased or damaged. A viewing window lets users see where each card is stored when the box is closed. The 3.9x1x3-inch case is made of shock-resistant polycarbonate with an antistatic interior. It is tested and certified to the European IPX7 standard. The case comes in onyx, blue, red or neon green. $24.99. gepe.com