Got a camera and your walking boots? You’re ready to head into the great outdoors to hunt out some great snaps – the Countryfile Calendar competition is only a few months away, after all. So what other accessories do budding photographers need? The choice is vast, but luckily we’ve got you covered with our beginner’s guide, in time for you to get some great shots for the Countryfile Calendar competition this summer.
If you’re using a smaller digital camera, Joby’s Gorillapod range works well in terms of versatility. This nifty bendable tripod has plenty of applications when it comes to keeping your shots steady and is more adaptable than your average tripod. For example, if you’re looking for nesting birds, you can get the shot by wrapping the tripod around a tree branch, pointing it at the nest and playing the waiting game.
For heavy-duty cameras, The Pod is a legless beanbag that balances the camera, allowing it to sit anywhere. For active country walks your best bet is to plump for the Steadepod – a clever cable that runs down to the ground and creates tension between it and the camera, giving you that in-focus shot without any bulky gear.
Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed king of the photo-editor. If you don’t want to pay full-price for Adobe’s entire creative suite, Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom software package is relatively simple to get to grips with and available from £8.57 per month.
Alternatively, if you’re taking photos from a smartphone, the VSCO Cam app is a really useful editing tool for phone and tablet photography. Working exceptionally well with natural light photos, VSCO is a great app to have ready next time you’re caught without your camera.
Memory cards are like batteries, and prolific photographers will definitely need backups, so always pop a few spares in your camera bag. SanDisk memory cards are a great choice that doesn’t break the bank.
Keeping your equipment clean is vital for maintaining the quality of your photographs and the longevity of your gear. Lens Pens, useful devices that clean your kit without liquid, start from as little as £2.40 on Amazon. You’ll also need a few microfiber cloths for your lenses – the Nikon 8072 Microfiber Cleaning Cloth will attach to your camera bag when not in use. Finally, you’ll need to remove dust particles on the inside of your camera as well – a decent rubber air blaster reaches into those crevices and uses air-pressure to blast away internal dust without damaging your camera’s innards.
Camera straps start from as little as a few pounds, and can run up to over £50 for posher designs. The key is finding one that is comfortable and hard-wearing. Rigu offers a wide range of patterned camera straps to suit all types of camera at a mid-level price point.
Mastering dramatic shots of snow, surf or sleet is great fun, but the risk of damaging your precious new equipment is very real. Head over to Aquapac – covering everything from cameras to smartphones, their Stormproof cases protect gear against the elements, while waterproof cases for both cameras and phones can handle submerging from depths of up to 15m. You can even operate your smartphone through the plastic case.
If these cases are either too pricey or unsuitable for your smaller snapper, Overboard have provided a series of basic waterproof cases, submersible up to 6m, for compact digital cameras.