Camera Remotes: Get the Perfect Shot, Every Time

Whether you’re a pro photographer or just getting started, the right equipment can make all the difference. It can help turn standard snapshots suitable for social media into incredible photographs suitable for framing and hanging on your wall.

So, what does every photographer need in their camera bag? There’s the usual items, like multiple lenses, a flash, and maybe a tripod. But one of the most important pieces of gear is also the easiest to overlook — the camera remote, sometimes called a remote camera trigger. Think you don’t need one? You might be surprised. Read on to learn how a camera remote could quickly become your new secret photography weapon.

What are Camera Remotes and Why Should I Use One? 

A camera remote lets you snap a photo without placing a hand or finger on your camera. That might sound like a minor benefit but it’s especially useful when you’re taking lengthy exposures, since the slightest wobble or vibration will blur the photograph. When used with a tripod, a remote camera trigger helps you take sharp, clear, well-focused images. They’re an essential piece of gear in any professional photographer’s camera bag, especially those who focus on niches like landscapes, macro-photography, and time-lapse photography.

Wired vs. Wireless Camera Remotes

When it comes to choosing a camera remote for your kit, you can go for either a wired remote or wireless remote. Wired camera remotes (also known as cable releases) connect directly to your camera through either a screw-in or plug-in port. The length of the cable release varies, but with a wired camera remote you won’t be able to stray more than a few feet from your camera. It should also be noted that, because they’re connected directly to your camera, wired camera remotes don’t fully eliminate the risk of wobble or vibration interfering with picture quality.

Wireless camera remotes, by contrast, eliminate all risk of camera shake or wobble when taking a photo. They also let you snap photos while standing hundreds of feet from your camera. These are great for wildlife photographers who either don’t want to place themselves directly in the path of a dangerous animal, or don’t want to “scare” away animals by getting too close. 

Features to Look for in a Camera Remote

The most basic camera remotes offer a single function — the ability to snap a photo without directly touching your camera. More advanced models include handy features that make your time in the field a whole lot easier, such as an LCD display that tells you how long the shutter has been open. Another useful feature is a built-in interval timer, which lets you remotely trigger the camera to take a series of images at a set interval.

If you’re shopping for a wireless camera remote, look for one that uses radio frequency rather than infrared to connect the transmitter and receiver. Infrared requires a completely unblocked line of sight, which can limit your usage.