Buyers’ guide Website providers
Equipment & accessories
As well as a good eye and shedloads of great ideas for visuals, every photographer or videographer requires the hardware (and software) for their trade. For the former, it can pay to not just have one camera body and a couple of lenses, but a backup body and a few spare accessories. Nobody wants to feel the stab of fear when you’re on an important shoot and your only camera chooses that moment to start playing silly buggers. Best of all, if you’re going pro, such purchases are tax deductible. So, here are a few ideas for where you can source affordable and reliable kit.
Below we’ve picked out a couple of photographer-friendly leaders in their field when it comes to making you look good online. If required, some can offer an off-the-peg e-commerce solution, sending print orders to some of the country’s leading fulfilment labs, thereby freeing you up to keep focused on the photography.
Benro › uk.benroeu.com
Zenfolio › zenfolio.com
UK Digital › ukdigital.co.uk
Offering support to enthusiastic amateurs and professionals in a very literal sense, Benro is best known for its tripods, monopods, heads and accessories for photographers and videographers. Among its tried and tested gear are the TIPA Award-winning Induro Hydra 2 waterproof tripod and its Mach3 tripod range, along with the Rhino and Tortoise tripod kits. Other suggested perennials include its GD3WH geared head, B Series ball heads and great-value gimbal heads. Introduced this time last year is the innovative Polaris, notable as the world’s first electronic tripod head with an integrated camera interface controller, allowing for such precise geared movement that it can be set up to track the movement of stars for astrophotography. For the ultimate support for a heavy load, see Benro’s sturdy-sounding Mammoth, a tripod with robust carbon-fibre construction.
A very familiar name to professional image-makers is the ever-reliable Zenfolio, which can offer photographers professional-looking websites with integrated e-commerce solutions, and all at a very reasonable cost. Customisable templates and an easy website builder come to our aid, with no knowledge of coding required, while photos and videos can be shown, shared and sold via galleries. Should you make a sale, Zenfolio’s partnered print labs handle production and shipping for you – no need to spend your evenings sweating over an inkjet printer after a hard day’s shoot. Clients can book shoots as well, cutting down on admin. Best of all, perhaps, is that you can trial Zenfolio’s all-in-one resource for photographers for free, with no credit card required. Head to the URL above to get started.
Whether you’re looking to get kitted up from its newest available stock or make your money stretch further – which is important when starting out – by investing in used or ex-demo gear, retailer UK Digital offers both, and can talk you through the best option to suit your individual needs. It also provides the opportunity to trade in your old kit and save a few more quid. Whether you choose to purchase new gear before or after you’ve sourced a quote to establish what your existing equipment is worth, you can still make good savings, which makes for a healthier bottom line for your business. And of course, when you’re turning pro, starting out with a strong footing – which is something UK Digital can help with – is absolutely essential.
Amazing Internet › amazinginternet.com
The pitch here is a professional-looking website to suit any budget – designed, built and hosted by Amazing Internet. Here we can choose from a range of templates or go bespoke. Whether you’re just starting out or you have an established business, it eschews a one-size-fits-all service, aiming instead to provide a product that best suits the individual. For example, its Portfolio series, with pricing starting at £50 + VAT per annum, allows for the creation of a professional website, using an intuitive content-management system. Designed for photographers and visual artists, there are three packages at varying budgets. As well as showcasing your work via gallery layouts, it provides a platform for you to sell via an online shop. Alternatively, check out the Pro series, at £1200 + VAT. Here, once you’ve selected a layout, Amazing Internet’s team will customise it with your logo and brand colours and build the site for you. It can then be adapted and expanded as your business grows. Unlike the Portfolio series, this is a totally independent site too, not part of a bigger system – so it’s as individual as you are.
Fujifilm › fujifilm-x.com
In terms of professional gear, Fujifilm offers some of the most affordable yet well-built and high-quality cameras and lenses on the market. Its sturdy, sharp-shooting GFX range, to take one example, is actively marketed as ‘medium format for the masses’; while its mirrorless X Series cameras, including the most recent X-S20 release, are also keenly priced for what they offer in comparison to competitors. A case in point is its latest 100-megapixel GFX100 II, which, while not exactly inexpensive, is about a third of what medium format cameras for pros would typically have retailed for a decade or so back. Fujifilm’s X System has the added advantage of being increasingly supported by third-party accessory manufacturers, with the likes of Sigma and Tamron offering high-quality compatible lenses at value-added cost – investing sensibly and making your money stretch further is vital if you’re considering turning professional.
44 Photography News | Issue 111
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