Must Have Camera Accessories: By Emilie @ Photo by Emilie

Before I get started today, I first wanted to give a big THANKS to all of you who linked up your photo-a-day posts on Monday. It's been really fun flipping through the links and finding out a little more about you!
Secondly, I am really excited to share this new little blogging series with you, that I thought would not only be fun, but also a bit educational too, called...
 I get emails ALL the time, asking questions from...
"How do you get everything done, do you ever sleep?" to,
"What's the best way for me to make money blogging?" and
"Does Cason have a single, handy brother just like him? My daughter needs a date!"
Our readers NEVER cease to entertain us, so I thought it would be nice to FINALLY address a few of these questions each week. Sound okay?... good :)

Today I'm thrilled to have Photo by Emilie back to share some more of her mad photo-knowledge-awesomeness! If you're new to our blog, Emilie's posts are some of my all time favorites because she keeps things SO simple and easy, when explaining sometimes technical camera and photo editing jargon.
This time around I asked Emilie to share some of her all time favorite camera accessories! It's something that all of you ask a lot about, so I thought... I'd tell ya more! And who better to address the subject then Emilie herself. Take it away girly!
Hakuba Monopod and Tabletop Tripod. Sells for about $28. Monopods vs Tripods are easier to capture creative angles. However, a tripod allows you to take timed self portraits.  This is the perfect combo. I recommend using a monopod whenever photographing crafts, projects, products and home decor. They allow you to shoot at a lower shutter speed while still getting sharp images. Learn more about Shutter Speed & Sharper Images Here & Here.

Reflector Disc Soft Gold & White - 32". Sells for about $25. Reflectors are my favorite fill light tool.  Using a reflector takes a little practice but the results are amazing. Read more about using your reflector Here.

Happy Snappers. Sell for around $25. If you're photographing kids you must have one of these. They fit right around your lens. They come with squeakers and are the perfect tool to get perfect smiles.
Universal Wired/Wireless Remote Shutter Release. Sells for about $30. Universal shutter release supports most DSLR cameras, providing a wireless shutter release without the limitations of a traditional cable release. It is ideal for studio or travel photography, and for the enthusiastic photographer who wishes to have the freedom to move around the subject while shooting. You can be in the picture rather than behind the camera.  It can also be especially advantageous when taking long exposure photos. Read a little more about using a long exposure Here.

Photo By Emilie Eye Action. Sells for $15. An Action is a recording of a series of commands in Photoshop to which you apply a name. Later on, you can play that recording back on a different image and have Photoshop do your work for you. I have created an Eye action that makes eyes absolutely sparkle.  Read a little more about My other Actions Here.

Lightscoop® Light Modifier. Sell for around $30. Lightscoop® is a smart low-tech device that creates soft, flattering light by redirecting your camera’s pop-up flash to a ceiling or wall.  

Don't let your family photos merely live in your computer. In my workshop I teach 10 rules to live by. One of them is to print and display your work. I teach in my classes that the number one skill to improving your photography is your own ability to evaluate your photos. Printing your images is one of the best ways to view, evaluate and enjoy them.  Some of my favorite albums companies are Shutterfly, Kodak and Blurb.

Thank you Emilie! These are some of MY favorite accessories as well :)
 You can also check out Emilie's other posts on our blog:

And don't forget to check out Emilie's awesome workshop classes!
Photo By Emilie Workshops:

I have asked Emilie to write a post about Photoshop too!  I am freaking out about loosing Picnik and I'm going to take the plunge into Photoshop with Emilie's help.  Are there any particular editing tools you use in Picnik that you'd like to have Emilie share in Photoshop?


  1. I love Emilie's tips!! That eye action is incredible! Is the action available to us photoshop element users??

    1. You betcha!! There is a super simple step by step video tutorial for Elements users. You'll love it!!

  2. Is the link to digital camera buying tips not correct? I would really like to get a new camera and would love to read some tips.

  3. I found it by searching the blog. : )

  4. i always find emelie's tips so helpful. thanks for sharing!

    i'm kind of freaking out about losing picnik too. might just have to get PS Elements and learn something new.

    1. You're so welcome. I'm so glad you liked the tip!! Elements really does rock!! Stay tuned I'll be sharing a few super easy adjustments to help you switch over.

  5. Im a photographer in Eastern Utah and have loved reading Emilee's tips and advice. I have been doing this for a couple years now but its always great to see someone elses view and remind yourself of all the basics. I am always passing on tips & tricks to others & am glad someone else can break it down too! Those darn tricky DSLR's... :)

    anyway, I have to say I do personally cringe when I learn so many people use picnik and are upset that its going away...mostly because photo editing software is way easier than many imagine...so you will be SOOO glad you made the leap :) Also consider Lightroom! Its amazing, SO easy and allows you to really manage your workload and flow easily. Which I can imagine would help you with photos of all your projects & home. Also it allows you to keep a photo true to form, no complicated process & you can really make it pop, both with people and objects. I shoot in raw & I love what I can do with it.

    Anyway, Love the new entry way! I may actually tackle mine in a better way after seeing this! Cant wait to see the "tell me more" part :)

    Great job!

  6. Oh my goodness! totally needed this post. My photgraphy suffers and I get so frustrated. Thanks for the simplified info.

  7. For anyone interested in editing software Adobe Lightroom 4 just came out this week and the price has been slashed.... $149 for the full version. I've loved Lightroom and this is an EXCELLENT price for this type of software. Lightroom has cut my editing time down substantially from when I used to edit exclusively in Photoshop. Just another idea for people. I love photoshop too, but the cost for the full version is just usually way too prohibitive for the casual user.

    1. I agree with Tamara, Lightroom really does ROCK!!

  8. I would love to know exactly HOW you pronounce Cason, lol. I read it about 2 different ways. :)

  9. I was freaking out about losing Picnik too, until I found iPiccy.com (http://ipiccy.com/). That made me feel much better. :o) And please keep Emilie's tips coming--they are awesome!

  10. I have photoshop elements. I would love to learn how to use actions. Thanks. Love this post.

    1. Elements 9 & 10 run a limited selection of actions. To run any and all actions you would need to upgrade to CS. Actions are AWESOME!!

  11. Shelley,

    I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to let you know that I listed House of Smith as one of my go to inspirational blogs. Thanks for being inspiring!

  12. I get so frustrated when trying to do a collage in Photo Shop. Picnik has been super for creating Blog headers. I can't seem to do a simple grid-type collage like I can in Picnik, so any help in that area would be so appreciated.

    Your little girls are so beautiful. What wonderful little subjects for your photo posts.

    1. Hi Cas, I'm actually working on a collage post right now. I'll keep you posted. I'm not sure it will be published on Shelley's blog but here is my blog just in case. www.photobyemilieimprove.blogspot.com

  13. Thank you Mary for posting about iPiccy! I have not seen that one before and it works similarly to Picnik! I just like to retouch some of our family pics and don't need anything like Photoshop, so this will work great! Thanks!


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