Photography has been an art form for generations, but the craft was completely revolutionized when the digital age came about. The internet has provided an unprecedented medium for sharing photographic content. Pair this with the fact that, not only does everyone carry around a camera in their pocket, but serious photographers armed with DSLRs have much better access to serious photography equipment on the internet. It is a wonderful time to be an aspiring photographer. To help you on your journey to taking gallery worthy photographs, we have compiled these recommendations for the best camera accessories for new photographers.
We’re going to assume you already have a DSLR. If you don’t yet have one, that’s a subject for another blog post. But once you do, this blog post will tell you what you’re in for once you want to start accessorizing your camera.
You probably think of your camera as quite precious, so naturally, you’ll be needing some way to carry, store and protect it when you’re on the go. This is assuming you’re not taking all your pictures in the comfort of your own home. A camera bag is essential for anyone who intends to capture the scenery beyond their front porch.
So what sort of camera bag should you buy? This will depend on where you intend to go and what you intend to do with your camera. Are you going to take your camera on a hike to capture the beautiful views from mountain peaks or on long walks into the wilderness? Then you may want to invest in a camera backpack. These will make it easier to lug heavy equipment long distances on foot. For this, we recommend The Think Tank Photo Urban Approach. This pack is designed to carry a full mirrorless camera system along with space for lenses, accessories, and a laptop/tablet.
If you are keeping your photography more spontaneous and street-level, like a journalist covering a riot, you are probably going to want to go with a shoulder or messenger bag. While these are a little less comfortable with heavy loads and long-term wear, they make up for this by being much easier to manoeuvre and allow for quicker access to your camera. For this we recommend the acclaimed Everyday Messenger Bag by Peak Design. This bag has incredibly versatile storage capabilities, allowing for the proper organization of all kinds of accessories and cables. It also features a special place to carry a tri-pod. All of these features make it not only one of the best camera accessories, but one of the best shoulder bags on the market in general.
A list of the best camera accessories wouldn’t be complete without a tripod recommendation. If you have ever taken a picture with a tripod and compared it to one taken free-hand, we probably don’t need to tell you why you need one. Taking a picture without a tripod is a lot like drawing a straight line without a ruler. You’ll end up with the same fundamental product, but the differences and imperfections are noticeable. The steadiness and photo optimization a tripod provides brings a lot of depth and precision to your photography. Note that you can also buy tripod heads separately, which will allow for different ranges of motion.
So what sort of tripod should you get? There are plenty of options but it will basically come down to how heavy your camera is, and how mobile you will want to be when taking tri-pod photos. A good combination of mobility and load capacity comes in the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit. It can hold a hefty 26.4 lb camera/lense, and it only weighs 3.7 lbs. Note however, that it is carbon fibre rather than aluminum, which means that while it is lighter-weight, it may not be as sturdy or affordable as the aluminum models.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter-duty, you may also consider the Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminum Tripod. This tripod can hold up to 6.6 lbs and weighs only 3.1 lbs, which is quite light for an aluminum tripod.
This is one of the best camera accessories for those interested in taking long exposure photographs and photos in other circumstances where light touches could compromise the quality of the photograph. A remote release is used to trip the shutter without having to touch the camera itself. With a remote release, taking your photograph will not introduce any unwanted turbulence to the finished product. They tend to come in handy when doing things like taking photos with high magnification, taking pictures of animals and macro photography. The remote release you get will depend on what is available for your specific camera, but you will generally have two choices.
You can get a tethered release which is physically wired to the camera, or an untethered one, which operates the shutter without a wire connection, like a standard remote control. Tethered options tend to be less expensive, and have greater ease of use. Although they do tend to take up more space in the camera bag. The untethered remote release is more useful in different situations. However, they tend to be more expensive, and also require batteries.
Yes, your camera already came with a flash built in. But you may have noticed that the pictures you take with it, especially those of people, may not be the most flattering or natural looking. This is because standard camera flashes can be very harsh and are not very capable of being adjusted or softened. A good external flash is one of the best camera accessories you will invest in.
An external flash with an adjustable head is the best way to alleviate this pain. Ideally, you will get an external flash which wirelessly connects to your camera, so you will be able to take pictures with it, wherever it is. Now, you can point the flash wherever you want and adjust the light to your exact specifications when taking photos.
If you have a Canon DSLR, we recommend the 430 EX II. This flash is a great value and boasts quite a few features, such as swivelling, remote capabilities, and a focus assist beam for helping to focus in low light conditions.
If you have a Nikon, this Nikon SB-700 is a good pick. It has a great deal of features including swivel, remote use, backlit lcd display and a diffusion dome to automatically soften light output.
Yes, this is another tripod, but this tripod can do things a normal tripod just won’t. That is, it can be endlessly positioned and angled in all kinds of strange places, like around tree branches and other uneven surfaces. They can do this by virtue of their bendable legs, which can be wrapped around objects and fixed. Their ability to be placed practically anywhere means you will never be without a steady camera when you need one. This makes it one of the best camera accessories you can own.
You don’t want a dirty camera do you? Of course not. Dirt can harm the quality of photos and the longevity of your camera in more ways than one so it is in your interest to keep it clean, especially if you are using it in a lot of outdoor environments.
This kit includes a blower, which is useful for getting little specks of dust and dirt off of a camera lens. It also contains various cleaning cloths, a little spray bottle, a lens cleaning pen and more. You may also want a sensor cleaning kit, which is ideal for cleaning things like pollen and other particles in the atmosphere which can find their way onto your sensor.
DSLR photos make for mighty large files on a computer, and you may be taking a lot of them. That’s why it is important to have the storage capacity to store them all. You don’t want to be deleting great photos for lack of space on your computer. For this, you will need an external harddrive. You could store your photos on the cloud, but that presents concerns regarding security and ease of access. You won’t be able to see your photos as quickly if you have to pull them off the cloud all the time.
A 1 TB hard drive should do the job nicely. You’ll be able to find a nice selection of them here.
If you’re going to be taking a lot of photos in the field or if you want to take a lot of pictures while you’re camping, you may need an external battery to keep you going. Taking photos sucks up a lot of power, so if you don’t want your photo excursion to be cut short, we advise that you bring along one of the batteries listed here, provided it is compatible with your camera.