Find the right camera strap with these new site categories

When Rigu launched it had 10 camera straps available. Today it’s around 300, which is the most in the UK (probably the most in Europe too), catering to almost every kind of photographer.

Different connection types, styles, and materials mean that Rigu needs to stock a lot of straps to cover what everyone needs, but that can make it harder for people to find what is right for them.

If you look at the camera straps category on the site, that’s a lot of options. Some people aren’t sure what they want, so are happy to browse and see what’s on offer. Other people know what they’re looking for and want it to be broken down further so they can see what’s available, and what will work with their camera. Rigu has always had a number of categories, but I have felt for a while that this system could be improved to make the growing selection more manageable.

Over the weekend I created a number of new categories and went through every single strap that is available on the site to re-categorise them. To be frank, it was very boring, but hopefully it will have been a productive few hours if I see people working their way through the site easier.

These new categories have also allowed me to bring together items in collections that were previously under-represented. Rigu doesn’t have a huge amount of vegan camera straps yet (though this is something I am looking to improve over the next few months), but at least now it is easy for vegan photographers to find a quality camera strap that they can be confident includes no animal products.

Similarly, I felt it was important to break down the straps in terms of what connection type they have, since if you’re looking for a lug/ring connection strap then there’s no point you looking at flat mounts (even though most of these come with rings which does complicate matters), string loop connection or tripod mount straps. This should make the process of finding the right strap a bit easier for photographers.

A number of other categories were also added (materials, and styles of strap being the major ones) which I believe should cover most of what people are searching for. If people were searching for it on the site in large enough numbers, I made a category for it, and that seems like a sensible way to deal with this.

This whole categorisation process is a work in progress and there are other things I would like to try. I would like the ability to combine categories, such as allowing people to choose lug mount straps that are also leather, but this is an additional complication that will take work. I recognise that too many categories might be a bad thing, and that it instead of making it easier, it might make the navigation process more complicated and confusing. It’s a balancing act, and I will be monitoring the stats to see if these new categories are being used and providing value to customers. Only time will tell and if you feel anything is missing or there are other categories that could be useful I’ll consider adding them into the site.

Camera Straps New Products News

Heavy Leather NYC available in the UK!

I’m looking to bring a number of new brands to Rigu over the next few months, making a wider range of camera strap (and other products) available. Hopefully, this will mean that Rigu will have something for everyone, at every budget.

I’ve seen Heavy Leather NYC come up a few times in my travels around the internet and always admired their straps, especially their Slingshot strap (available in black or brown). It was that item that first drew me to the brand and I’m glad to have them on the site now, making Rigu their first ever European distributor.

Slings are something that I feel are a bit underrepresented with it comes to camera straps. A lot of people want to be able to wear a strap across their body, and most standard neck straps are just a little bit too short for that.

If you look for sling straps, the options are typically fairly limited, uninspiring, and very much focused on function rather than looking good. The Slingshot by Heavy Leather NYC is that most unusual combo, form and function. It’s good looks draw on their years of experience crafting guitar straps for people like Prince, Black Sabbath, and Lemmy from Motorhead, whilst also maintaining security by layering the main leather belt on top of nylon. You wouldn’t see it at first glance, but it’s there and it keeps this strap extra secure. The padded shoulder pad keeps this extra comfy, helping you get through a day of shooting.

As I say, Rachael, the owner of Heavy Leather, has a lot of experience with guitar straps and it’s fair to say that it’s mostly a guitar brand. I don’t want to stereotype rock and metal metal as being one thing or aesthetic, but that experience seems to bring something else to the straps when it comes to the design style that I don’t usually get from a camera brand. It’s a look that I haven’t had at Rigu before, and I’m glad to have it.

With Heavy Leather being mostly a guitar brand, it does mean their camera strap range isn’t huge, so I have abandoned my “dip the toe in the water” process that I usually have with new brands, and stocked their entire range from day one. Quantities are relatively limited, but everything is available and this is the best way for me to judge what items people like and get valuable feedback by having everything available.

By making Heavy Leather products available in the UK, Rigu has once again made it easier, faster, and cheaper to get hold of high-quality camera straps that would have otherwise required long waits for customs, import charges, and hassle in the event of needing to deal with customer services. Fundamentally, Rigu aims to make the process of getting cool things easier for photographers, so if you have seen a product and thought “I want it, but I don’t want to have to import it” get in touch and maybe it can become a Rigu product.


COVID-19 Update

If you are a customer, shopping with Rigu has largely been the same over the past couple of months as normal. However, as I have only visited the office a handful of times since my last coronavirus-related post, it definitely doesn’t feel normal to me, and I just want to update people on how Rigu is doing.

Here’s where we’re at with operations at the moment:

  • My brother Neil is doing an excellent job getting orders sent out to the same schedule as I would normally achieve on weekdays. In this regard, nothing has changed.
  • The Royal Mail are doing well, and most orders are arriving within the expected delivery estimate, but there has been an increase in orders which have been arriving late. This often appears to be packages sitting at depots for an extended period. My presumption is that this is due to a reduction in capacity at depots in both the ability to sort and deliver mail and is dependent on the area you’re in. I should reiterate that most orders are arriving within the expected timeframe, but order earlier than usual if you need an item by a certain date.
  • Special Delivery services are still not available as an upgrade as the Royal Mail are not able to guarantee that timeframe, and I would rather not make it available than have disappointed customers.
  • Customer service e-mails are being responded to quicker than usual, as I am sat at home and there’s less to do here than in the office.
  • You are not able to contact me via the office phone number (as I’m not there), all enquiries are to be made via e-mail or social media, please.
  • Officially, the personalised camera strap service is not available. However, that hasn’t stopped a couple of people ordering it anyway, and in those cases me and Neil have found a workaround so that I can safely go to the workshop and personalise the strap after which Neil then packs it and preps for postage. It’s not something I want to be doing regularly (it’s an 80 minute round-trip drive to the office) but if you really need a personalised strap, it can be worked into the schedule I have for taking shopping to my family.

One thing I have been enjoying recently is going for lots of walks around the local area, and taking my camera with me too. On these walks I’ve had plenty chances to listen to business podcasts and think about ways I can improve Rigu. I am looking at new brands to bring to the site, and thinking about ways to make the site more efficient, more usable, and better for customers.

Hopefully for all the ways that coronavirus has held Rigu back over the past couple of months, it will provide a chance to focus on other aspects of the business that often get neglected because I have to deal with day-to-day issues and jobs.

As ever, thank you very much to everyone who is placing orders at the moment. I recognise that it’s a time of great uncertainty in all aspects of life, especially financially, and as I said at the start of all this, I understand that a nice camera strap is not at the top of most people’ priorities. I can only assume that there are a lot of people who have had a chance to reconnect with photography and now that they’re spending more time with their camera they want to be comfortable (and look good) whilst they’re taking photos, and I truly appreciate those people visiting Rigu.


Using the Fractal Filters in Tokyo

At the end of February I had a trip to Tokyo. Originally, this was so that I could go to the CP+ tradeshow in Yokohama to find new suppliers and interesting products for Rigu. The show was cancelled due to (understandable) coronavirus concerns a couple of weeks before I was due to leave, but I felt it was still possible for the trip to be worthwhile as long as I took precautions whilst I was out there to ensure my own safety as well as others. In Japan the COVID-19 response was very impressive, which sanitiser available at the entrance of the vast majority of shops, cafes and restaurants. Being a solo traveller my contact with other people was fairly limited, and with the city being much quieter than usual, it was possible to move around without being packed into trains like sardines to ensure a fair distance from other people.

Anyway, this isn’t a travel blog. Tokyo is a very, very photogenic city. Almost everywhere you turn you will find something that is interesting to photograph, and I decided to take a couple of Fractal Filters along with me as I thought they would be fun to use in places like Akihabara and Shinjuku that have lots of bright signs and colourful lights.

One important thing to remember about Fractal Filters and travel is that they need to go in checked/hold luggage. If you get to security with these in your hand luggage they WILL be confiscated since they look like a knuckle duster and are a big lump of glass. I can’t think of anything fun to shoot with them in an airport or during a long-haul flight so you aren’t missing out on much.

In my previous post about the Fractals my aim was to use them in a fairly minimal and subtle way most of the time. In Tokyo it was very much the opposite. Many areas of the city are an assault on the senses and the Fractals amplified that with really interesting results. Some of the shots were chaotic, almost creating an abstract pattern that was unrecognisable from the reality of the scene, whereas others drew focus to a specific point.

Personally, I’ve always felt that the Fractals work best when you have a subject in frame between 6-15 feet from you, which is why I love using them for portrait photography, but if you’re going to Tokyo and you own Fractals, you’re going to take them. Using them for landscapes or street scenes like these can be fairly hit-or-miss and there were plenty of occasions when I knew they wouldn’t be appropriate. As ever, the Fractals are a tool, and no tool suits every situation. They are fun to play around with though, and it’s nice knowing that my touristy photos of Tokyo are fairly unique.

As an aside, the Fractal prisms did have one unexpected side-benefit whilst I was in Tokyo. Personal connection. I’ve visited Japan three times, once with a friend, once with my partner, and this time on my own. Being on your own in one of the largest metropolis’ on the planet can be quite a lonely experience. English is more widely spoken than when I first visited in 2007, but generally it’s rare to engage in a conversation with a stranger.

The Fractals seemed to break down that barrier, people were curious about the lumps of glass I was wiggling in front of my lens and I would show them the back of camera and the effect the prisms created. It was nice to have a brief conversation with someone that wasn’t serving me my lunch for a change. Japan has a lot of photography & camera shops, but creative items like the Fractals are still rare and it was fun that people took an interest.

Rigu is the UK & Europe’s only distributor of the Fractal Filters, offering quick despatch and delivery, with no customs import hassles. They are listed on, but they’re under the global shipping programme, so you would be waiting for them to come from the US, and you’d be paying more.

Compared to purchasing direct from the manufacturer you will save money (before and after factoring in customs import charges) as well as benefiting from much quicker delivery and UK customer support.


Rigu is still open, but a bit different

scout scar view, kendal, cumbria

There’s been quite a lot of changes in the world recently due to the coronavirus, and that has also affected Rigu. At times like this I understand that camera straps aren’t most people’s top priority, but the shop does remain open and ready to send out orders.

I (Andy) am working from home, but Neil, my brother who usually takes over whilst I’m working away from Cumbria or on holiday, will be sending out orders for me. My office and stock room is based where he lives and works normally, so this doesn’t create unnecessary travel or connections with other people beyond the norm. We have also discussed measures to help protect the Royal Mail when visiting the office to ensure that contact is kept to an absolute minimum as they are at fairly high risk in terms of spreading COVID-19. There is the possibility that the Royal Mail will stop their collections to the office, which would be an understandable situation, and at that point the only option would be to stop orders.

As is the case at other times when he’s been in charge, there are no personalised straps available at the moment. Neil has seen the burns the stamping machine has given me on occasion (thankfully a rare experience now that I’m used to the machine) and isn’t keen to learn how to use it in my absence.

Other than that, Rigu will continue mostly as normal. The nature of ecommerce is that some of it can be done remotely, if not with the same efficiency (I can only do so much on a laptop compared to my desktop). To be frank being able to keep working on Rigu is something that will hopefully provide an aspect of normalcy in strange times, and I’m sure my partner will appreciate me keeping busy whilst we’re staying home.


Special Delivery Postage Options Temporarily Suspended

I’ve had advice from the Royal Mail that they are not currently able to guarantee that their Special Delivery Next Day by 1pm service will actually arrive the next day by 1pm.

To save customers any frustration I have decided to remove this option from the checkout temporarily, and when the Royal Mail say the service has returned to normal it will become available again.

My apologies that this will impact on some people that need an order in a rush. There is still a next day service available in the form of RM24 (which is tracked on all packages, which are most orders that aren’t books), but this isn’t guaranteed.


Using the Fractal Filters Subtly for Portraits

Fractal Filters Prism Photography

The Fractal Filters can sometimes be seen as something of a sledgehammer of an effect. They’re a hefty piece of glass attached to something that looks like a knuckle-duster. They don’t exactly scream “subtle”, and yet, it’s pretty easy to use them in low-key and understated ways.

I had a photoshoot with Sammy in the Yorkshire Dales last week and took it as an opportunity to work on my skills with the Fractal Filters. I’ve used them on a number of shoots, but every situation and location is different, and it’s interesting to see how the prisms react to different kinds of lighting.

Fractal Filters Prism Photography
Fractal Filter used on the top edge of the photo to further blur the woodland and create a halo effect.

They can also be used to further blur the background and add a light haze, which I felt worked well in the black & white photo above, adding something of a dreamy, vintage look to the image.

To achieve the look I used the Penrose filter (the one that looks a bit like Pac-man) and just held it really close to the lens, being sure that Sammy was not obscured by any part of the filter. This image was on a 50mm lens at f1.8 on my Pentax K3II (APS-C, so FF people would need something around 75mm for the same focal length). Being at a wide aperture really helps to smooth out the effect caused by the filter and blend it in with the blurred background. The Fractals are generally intended to be used at wide apertures, but it would have been interesting to see how much higher I could have gone with the aperture to see what the cut-off would be when the filter was too obvious and distracting. I’d guess anything above f5.6 wouldn’t look good to my taste.

Fractal Filters Prism Photography

I bought those funky prism sunglasses last year (thank you cheap sellers on eBay!) with a view to using them in a Fractal shoot. I don’t think a woodland is an appropriate location, especially when it’s an overcast and damp day in the Yorkshire Dales. This look isn’t what I’d envisioned for the glasses, but this image does highlight how a Fractal Filter can pull different colours out of a scene and create some more intrigue by altering the background (technically the foreground, I suppose).

This one was shot with the big and chunky Pascal filter, which is one of the easiest to use at first, especially if you just stick to using the edge of it. Shooting through it is a whole other ball game and takes more time and effort, so it’s not something that I’d be doing on a shoot like this one where I’ve just met a model for the first time and having a smooth workflow (and enjoying myself) is more important to me than pushing my prism skills.

These two were both taken using the Julia filter. That’s the filter with a flat centre spot, which allows you to put the subject in the middle of the frame and have all the craziness going on outside of your main focal point.

This is the design where I find it hardest to create a subtle look, and images taken with it are likely to have the effect as the focus as much as your subject. That’s not a bad thing in some cases, but when you’re doing a simple portrait shoot out in a forest it can be an out of place look, and during this shoot I didn’t use the Julia filter much as it didn’t fit with the feel I was going for. I still like these images but in this case I don’t feel that the effect adds much, if anything, and that mostly comes down to my lack of experience with the Julia filter and that I was trying to shoehorn it into a situation that it wasn’t appropriate for.

Some of my favourite images by other photographers with the Julia filter have lots of colour and additional light sources behind the subject which can create something special. In the conditions I was in it’s harder to pull out anything that’s really special with this kind of backdrop and a lack of sunshine to provide some interesting refraction to add colour to the shots.

Rigu is the UK & Europe’s only distributor of the Fractal Filters, offering quick despatch and delivery, with no customs import hassles. They are listed on, but they’re under the global shipping programme, so you would be waiting for them to come from the US, and you’d be paying more.

Compared to purchasing direct from the manufacturer you will save money (before and after factoring in customs import charges) as well as benefiting from much quicker delivery and UK customer support.

Discounts News

HoldFast Gear Accessories Volume Discounts

Rigu offers free delivery on all orders. Most people like this because of the simple “what you see is what you pay” pricing, but sometimes it can be slightly problematic.

When people order a HoldFast Gear accessory clip for their MoneyMaker (because they want a spare, or perhaps they’ve lost one) the cost of postage is included in that price. However, if they order more than one, the cost of postage doesn’t go up since it’s a light item, so effectively they’re paying for postage more than once.

Most companies would probably think this is great (money for nothing, yay!) but that’s not how I do business, and I don’t feel that it is fair to the customer.

With that in mind, I’ve brought about a new pricing structure for HoldFast accessories, which are typically products that people buy a pair of; the tripod screws, sliders, safety lanyards, camera leashes, and belt anchors. When buying two or more of each product the unit price will automatically be reduced by £2.25, giving an overall discount of £4.50 when buying two.

This currently only works when buying two of the same item (e.g. two camera leashes, not one leash and one belt anchor), as cross-product discounts are significantly more complicated, but I am looking into it for the future.


The Pod bean bag DSLR tripod alternative in store now at Rigu

This is something a bit different for Rigu to be stocking, and something pretty different in the world of tripods and tripod alternatives too.

I was sitting around thinking, “wouldn’t it be cool if someone made a bean bag with a camera mount, then I wouldn’t need a bulky tripod, I could just put the bag down anywhere.” It turns out that someone had already thought the same thing, so they made The Pod, an innovative hard-wearing bean bag with a camera mount on it. There are a few different options available depending on your gear setup so check out each product (red/green/silver/black) to see which is best for you.

Rigu is currently the only distributor in the UK so I am very proud to be bringing this practical device to British and European photographers.


Christmas 2013 Delivery Cutoff Dates

Rigu sends out packages every weekday at our local Post Office in the Lake District, usually achieving same-day dispatch on orders placed before 4pm (sometimes up to 4:30pm) and this will not change during the festive period as large numbers of orders are placed at the store.

As you can see from the lists below we are now approaching the Royal Mail’s cutoff dates for Christmas packages but there is still a couple of weeks left for people in the UK to place their orders, all the way up to December 23rd for Special Delivery orders.

Royal Mail cutoff dates for international mail (all Airmail, which is the standard Rigu service):

Thursday 5 December Australia

Friday 6 December Africa, Caribbean, Central & South America, Middle East

Monday 9 December Cyprus, Eastern Europe

Tuesday 10 December Canada, France, Greece, Poland

Friday 13 December USA

Saturday 14 December Western Europe (excluding France, Greece, Poland)

Royal Mail cutoff dates for UK mail:

Wednesday 18 December 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For™

Friday 20 December 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For™

Monday 23 December Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed™