Having the right tools for the job can make a nightmare scenario a breeze. Just because you spend a small fortune on that new camera doesn’t mean you have to further mortgage your house just to add a few accessories to make your life easier. Here are 10 Essential Camera Accessories (That Won’t Break the Budget) to help you get out there and start shooting.
Where are you gonna put all of these essential camera accessories? In a camera bag, of course! If you don’t take them with you then what’s the point in having them. Camera bags can be expensive and let’s be honest, ugly. It’s like most camera bag manufacturers bought waterproof black fabric in bulk and hired someone to sew giant squares all day. This bag from Caden is waterproof, shockproof and looks like a bag you’d actually take on an adventure. It’s large enough to hold 1 DSLR or Mirrorless camera, 2 Lenses, water bottle slot and even has tripod straps on the bottom. It’s also less than $35 bucks on Amazon. what more do you need?
A tripod is something most people don’t own, but may just be the most must-own of all the essential camera accessories. If you’re taking family photos, Landscapes or even portraits if you’re using a long lens, a tripod is a cheap and useful tool that will help you out tremendously. This Amazon basics model is only $23 dollars and it can extend up to 60 inches and has a built-in level. Honestly, this is going to be more than sufficient for most photographers. If you’re shooting video with lots of pans and tilts, look elsewhere. If you just need an easy way to lock off your camera. What more could you need?
Extra Batteries/Extended Battery Pack
No power, no more photos. Batteries are simple, but essential camera accessories. This one is going to be more specific to the actual camera you own, but having an extra battery or an extended power grip is going to make your life so much better. The battery life of your camera changes from day to day and use to use. If you’re just shooting stills and turn it off between shots your battery could last you all day or maybe even a few days if you’re traveling. If you’re shooting a lot of videos or using ‘live view’ a lot on your camera then that battery life is going to be much much shorter. You can buy an expensive extra battery pack/grip like the one shown above, or you can get generic clone batteries of most camera brands for less than $30. They might not last for years like their name brand counterparts, but they’re cheap and reliable enough to reduce some anxiety from your shoot or vacation.
A polarizer will help bring your landscape photos to the next level. If you’ve ever shot in broad daylight and got a horrid white or whitish glare from the hot spots of your image, a polarizer might be able to help. It makes all the colors pop, removes glare and even reflections from glass. If you’ve ever worn polarized sunglasses than you know what this type of lens filter can do. The saturation levels of your colors will be deep with crushing blacks. This 52mm one from Tiffen is only $20 bucks, so, it’s not going to break the bank to try one out.
Flash Card Case
Flashcards have become so cheap that instead of re-using them over and over, consider treating them like a roll of film… one that can hold thousands of images. It’s the ultimate form of backup. Even if you have a great system of hard drives and a cloud-based backup, a good case is a great way to protect and organize your cards while you’re on a shoot. Plus they’re cheap. This one from Beeway can hold both compact flash and CF cards and it’s less than 12 bucks.
These little marker sized lens pens can be a lifesaver in the field. How many times have you wiped your lens with your filthy t-shirt or heaven forbid… a paper napkin! Paper towels and other tree-based products like tissues and napkins can cause micro scratches on your lens. The brush side of this Lens Pen comes in handy to quickly remove dust or dirt from the lens and the smooth side removes fingerprints evenly and cleanly. It’s shape and size make it easy to slide into a pen slot in a bag or camera case so you won’t lose it.
Connected Camera App
Free essential camera accessories are my favorite. This one is for modern cameras with wireless connectivity. So many people buy a fancy new camera and don’t take advantage of all they have to offer. Almost all of the new DSLR and Mirrorless cameras have either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth allowing you to use a specific camera app with it. Here’s the best part, almost all the manufacturer’s apps are free too. So, why would you want to do it? With a connected app, you can basically use your phone like a remote control. You can capture time-lapse, use it as a remote trigger, or even as a second monitor to see what the camera sees. It’s quickly becoming an invaluable resource for new camera owners, so go to the App store and download yours now.
Even when you’re shooting in bring natural light, shadows can ruin a shoot. Light reflectors are small, lightweight and fold down to be compact. They do exactly what they’re supposed to do, reflect light. Soft light is a key element to taking great portraits and light reflectors can accomplish that without much work. The only downside is you’ll either need a stand to mount it to or an assistant to hold it for you while you take the picture. It’s a small price to pay for proper exposure. This Neewer model is only $18 dollars and comes with 5 different bounce options.
White balance! Grey cards can help you get proper exposure. Even with today’s fancy camera sensors, they’re not as accurate as white balancing to a grey card. I know you’re almost never going to use this, but it’s less than ten dollars and maybe one day you’ll discover what that white balance button on your camera is for.
Flashes are indimidating to a lot of people, but are definitely among the most essential camera accessories if you’re planning to shoot a night or in dark places. Check out this Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite. It’s cheap, cheap, cheap and compatible with almost any camera with a hot shoe. For most people especially amateur photographers you’re not going to be doing a lot of flash work. So, why spend more than $35 bucks on something that’s going to hang out in your camera bag for most of its life. It doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles of most flashes. It does, however, have a slave mode and built-in bounce which is all you’ll need in most situations.