Must-Have Photography Accessories (Top Picks)
Photography continues to be a popular hobby and profession, allowing individuals to express their creativity, document memories, and share their unique perspective of the world.
As photographers hone their skills, they often seek ways to improve their work and make the process more enjoyable.
One way to achieve this is by investing in high-quality photography accessories that not only enhance the final image but also make the photographer’s job easier.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the top must-have photography accessories that are highly recommended for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
These items have been handpicked based on their usability, durability, and overall positive impact on a photographer’s workflow.
Whether you’re just starting out, looking to expand your gear collection or simply want to upgrade some essential pieces, these top picks will offer something for everyone.
Investing in the right accessories can make all the difference in your photography journey.
From camera bags that protect your valuable equipment to tripods that ensure stability, each accessory serves a specific purpose and contributes to elevating your photography game.
Camera Bags and Straps
In this section, we’ll cover two essential photography accessories: Camera bags and straps.
These important tools help photographers protect and transport their gear more comfortably and efficiently.
A camera bag is crucial for photographers to organize and safeguard their equipment.
There are various types of camera bags to suit different needs, such as backpacks, messenger bags, and modular bags.
Some top picks for camera bags include:
- WANDRD PRVKE 31: This backpack is versatile, stylish and durable, making it an excellent option for traveling photographers.
- Nomatic Mckinnon 35L Camera Bag: Another great choice for travelers, this camera bag offers ample space for storing gear while remaining compact and easy to carry.
- Kodiak Messenger Bag: Featuring a classic messenger style, this camera bag is perfect for photographers who prefer a more casual look and feel.
- Boundary Supply Prima-System: For those who need customization options, this modular camera bag allows you to tailor the storage compartments to fit your specific gear.
- Mountainsmith TANUCK 40L: Designed with hikers and adventure photographers in mind, this bag provides plenty of storage space and excellent support for navigating rugged terrain.
A camera strap is another crucial accessory that ensures a comfortable and secure way of carrying your camera while shooting.
There are several camera strap styles including neck straps, wrist straps, and sling straps.
Some top camera strap recommendations are:
- Peak Design Slide: A versatile camera strap that works as both a neck and sling strap, the Slide is designed for comfort and adjustability.
- Opteka Professional Wrist Grip Strap: For photographers who want a more minimalistic option, this wrist grip strap secure and convenient.
- BlackRapid Curve Breathe: This sling strap is ideal for those who need quick access to their camera while offering great comfort and support to avoid putting strain on your neck or shoulders.
- Tarion Vintage Camera Strap: A stylish alternative for photographers who want something with a retro or vintage aesthetic.
Tripods and Stability
A tripod is an essential accessory for any photographer, providing stability and support for your camera during a shoot.
They come in various materials, the most popular being aluminum and carbon fiber.
While aluminum tripods are more affordable, carbon fiber tripods offer better strength and are lighter in weight.
Some top tripod picks for 2023 include:
- 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
- Vanguard Veo 3+ 263AB
- Peak Design Travel Tripod
- Benro Rhino FRHN34CVX30
- ProMediaGear TR344L
A monopod is a single-leg support for your camera, offering increased mobility compared to a tripod.
Monopods are useful for sports and wildlife photography, where quick movement and repositioning are essential.
Manfrotto is a popular brand for monopods, known for its quality and durability.
A ball head is a tripod head that allows for smooth and precise camera positioning.
The main benefits of a ball head are its compactness and ease of use.
Some ball heads come with a friction control, allowing you to customize the amount of resistance when moving your camera.
Popular ball head picks include:
- Manfrotto 190XPro4-BHQ2
- Benro Rhino carbon-fiber tripod with VX20 ball head
Pan and Tilt Head
A pan and tilt head is another type of tripod head, allowing for separate control of horizontal (pan) and vertical (tilt) movements.
This type of head is especially useful for video work, as it provides smooth and controlled camera movements.
Look for pan and tilt heads with adjustable tension and locking mechanisms for maximum control and stability.
Memory and Storage
Photography involves dealing with a lot of data, and ensuring you have adequate memory and storage solutions is essential.
In this section, we will discuss memory cards and SD card readers.
Choosing the right memory card for your camera is crucial for optimal performance.
There are various brands and sizes available, but some of the best options are offered by companies like Fujifilm and Sony.
When considering a memory card, here are a few key factors:
- Format: Different cameras use different memory card formats. Make sure to check your camera’s compatibility with formats like SD/SDXC, CF, or XQD cards.
- Speed: The speed at which the memory card can write data is essential, especially when shooting in high-resolution formats or recording video. Look for a card with a high-speed class rating (UHS-I, UHS-II, or UHS-III) for faster performance.
- Capacity: Depending on your shooting needs, the capacity of your memory card will also play a significant role. For example, larger capacity cards (64GB or higher) are beneficial for extended shooting sessions, while lower capacity cards (16GB or 32GB) may be sufficient for casual photography.
Some recommended memory cards include:
- Fujifilm Elite II: A high-speed SDXC card with capacities up to 256GB, ideal for high-resolution photography and 4K video recording.
- Sony Tough G: A rugged, high-speed SDXC card with capacities up to 256GB, designed to withstand harsh environments and provide reliable performance.
SD Card Reader
Having an SD card reader is essential for transferring your images from your memory card to your computer for editing and storage.
When choosing an SD card reader, consider the following factors:
- Compatibility: Ensure that the card reader is compatible with the memory card format used by your camera (SD, SDHC, SDXC, CF, or XQD).
- Speed: Look for a card reader that supports high-speed transfer rates (USB 3.0 or higher) for faster data transfer, especially when dealing with large files.
- Portability: If you’re always on the go, consider a compact and lightweight card reader that’s easy to carry with you.
Here are some recommended SD card readers to consider:
- Anker USB 3.0 Card Reader: A compact, high-speed USB 3.0 card reader that supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards.
- Sandisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Card Reader: A high-speed USB 3.1 card reader designed specifically for CFexpress Type B cards, ideal for professional photographers using the latest cameras.
Lenses and Filters
Photography accessories can take your photography game to the next level.
One significant aspect of this is lenses and filters. In this section, we’ll discuss lens hoods, filters, lens filters, and the nifty fifty.
A lens hood is an essential accessory for any photographer.
Its primary purpose is to prevent lens flare and provide better contrast in your photos.
It also helps to protect your lens from accidental damage, such as scratches or impacts.
Some benefits of using a lens hood include:
- Reduction of lens flare and glare
- Enhanced contrast and color saturation
- Extra protection for your lens
Filters are attachments that you put on the front of your lens to enhance or alter the appearance of your photos.
There are various types of filters, each with a specific purpose. For instance:
- UV filters protect your lens against dust, fingerprints, and scratches.
- Polarizing filters reduce reflections on non-metallic surfaces and increase color saturation.
- Neutral Density (ND) filters allow for longer exposures in bright light without overexposing your images.
When looking to invest in lens filters, consider purchasing circular screw-on filters. These filters are easy to attach and swap out.
They screw directly onto the threads at the edge of your lens barrel.
Some screw-on filters can even be stacked, allowing for more creative control in your photography.
The following are essential lens filters to consider:
- UV filters: for lens protection and clarity
- Polarizing filters: for increased color saturation and reduced glare
- ND filters: for long exposures and balanced exposure in bright light conditions
The “Nifty Fifty” refers to a 50mm prime lens, which is a must-have in every photographer’s kit.
This lens is known for its versatility, affordability, and ability to produce stunning portraits.
With a fixed focal length of 50mm, it mimics the human eye’s perspective, making it suitable for various photography styles.
Advantages of a nifty fifty lens include:
- Excellent image quality and sharpness
- Wide aperture, perfect for low-light conditions and creating beautiful background blur (bokeh)
- Lightweight and compact design
- Budget-friendly compared to other lenses with similar capabilities
Lighting and Flash
A flashgun is an essential accessory to have in your photography toolkit.
It allows you to control the amount of light, which is crucial for capturing well-exposed images in a variety of lighting situations.
Some popular flashgun options include the Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT and Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight.
- Provides additional light for balanced exposures
- Can be used off-camera for creative effects
- Multiple flashguns can be combined for advanced lighting setups
Speedlights are a specific type of flash that is compact, portable, and often can be mounted on your camera’s hot shoe.
They offer fast recycling times and versatility for both indoor and outdoor shoots.
Recommended speedlights include the Godox Ving V860II and Yongnuo YN560 IV.
- Portable and easy to set up
- Compatible with many camera systems
- Adjustable output and zoom settings
Reflectors are used to bounce and redirect light, providing even illumination and reducing harsh shadows.
They come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, such as collapsible discs, umbrella-like structures, or even built-in panels for a softbox.
A popular choice is the Westcott 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector.
|12″||Ideal for small product shots|
|22″||Great for headshots|
|42″ or larger||Perfect for full-body portraits|
Drones have become a game-changing accessory for photographers and videographers alike.
They provide unique aerial perspectives and add dynamic movement to your content.
Some popular drone models for photography include the DJI Mini 2 and Autel EVO Lite+.
- Capture stunning aerial shots and panoramas
- GPS tracking and obstacle avoidance for safe flights
- High-resolution cameras with gimbal stabilization
Incorporating these lighting and flash accessories into your photography sessions will enhance your creative possibilities and help you achieve professional-quality results.
Experiment with different setups to find the perfect balance of light and shadow for your unique artistic style.
Power and Batteries
Photography sessions can consume a lot of battery power, especially during long shoots or when using advanced camera features.
Having a good-quality battery in your camera is essential for providing consistent performance and minimizing interruptions during your work.
It is important to choose batteries that are compatible with your camera and have a high capacity.
- Consider investing in a top-notch rechargeable battery with lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology. These batteries are lightweight, compact, and have a long lifespan.
- Keep an eye on the capacity of the batteries, measured in milliamp-hours (mAh). A higher capacity ensures more shots per charge and longer shooting times.
- Make sure to choose the appropriate battery model for your specific camera. Check your camera’s user manual or consult the manufacturer’s website for compatibility information.
While having a powerful battery is crucial, it’s equally important to carry extra batteries with you.
You never know when your primary battery may run out of juice or fail unexpectedly, so having backup batteries can be a lifesaver during crucial moments.
Follow these tips for maintaining a ready supply of power for your photography sessions:
- Carry at least one extra battery, or even two, depending on the anticipated duration and demands of your shoot.
- Keep all batteries fully charged before heading out to a session. Charge them the night before and store them securely in your camera bag.
- Periodically check the overall health and charge levels of your extra batteries. Inactivity and age can cause them to lose charging capacity or fail altogether, affecting their performance when you need them most.
- Invest in a quality multi-slot battery charger, so you can charge multiple batteries at once. This will save time and make it easier to keep all your batteries in good working condition.
Remote and Tethering
Photography accessories can enhance your shooting experience and improve the quality of your images.
In this section, we’ll discuss two essential accessories: Remote Shutter Release and Tethering Cable.
Remote Shutter Release
A remote shutter release is an indispensable tool for photographers who want to capture sharp images without camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button.
They’re particularly useful for:
- Long exposure photography
- Night photography
- Macro photography
- Situations where you don’t want to touch the camera, like wildlife photography or capturing group shots with yourself in the photo
There are different types of remote shutter releases, such as infrared and wired options.
One popular wired option is the Nikon MC-30A, which features a two-stage trigger button.
With a half-press, you can activate autofocus and exposure metering, and a full press takes the shot when you’re ready.
Some key factors to consider when choosing a remote shutter release include:
- Compatibility with your camera model
- Range of the remote (especially for infrared options)
- Wired or wireless connection options
- Ease of use and ergonomics
A tethering cable connects your camera directly to a computer or a tablet, allowing real-time communication between the two devices.
Tethering can be beneficial for studio and professional photographers who need to review and edit photos instantly.
Some advantages of tethering include:
- Instant preview of images on a larger screen
- Real-time adjustments to camera settings and composition
- Simplified image file management and organization
- Faster collaboration with clients or team members during the shoot
While wireless tethering options are available, a tethering cable ensures a stable and speedy connection between your camera and computer.
When selecting a tethering cable, consider the following factors:
- Compatibility with your camera and computer ports
- Cable length (consider a longer cable for more flexibility)
- Cable quality and durability (a poorly made cable can cause connection issues)
Audio and Microphones
When it comes to photography and videography, audio plays a significant role in enhancing the overall quality of the content.
A good microphone can drastically improve the sound quality in your videos, making them more professional and enjoyable to watch.
One top pick for microphones is the Sennheiser MKE 200.
This compact and lightweight microphone is perfect for on-the-go photographers and vloggers.
It offers excellent sound quality, with a built-in windscreen and shock mount to reduce unwanted vibrations and wind noise.
The microphone easily mounts on your camera’s hot shoe and connects to your camera via a 3.5mm jack.
Some other popular microphone options for photographers and videographers include:
- Rode VideoMic Pro+: This high-quality shotgun microphone offers a versatile range of audio recording settings, making it ideal for various shooting environments. It features a built-in rechargeable battery, which can last up to 100 hours on a single charge.
- Shure MV88+ Video Kit: This kit includes a digital stereo condenser microphone and a variety of accessories, like a windscreen, Manfrotto PIXI tripod, and a phone mount. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices and provides high-quality audio for your videos.
Cleaning and Maintenance
A cleaning kit is an essential accessory for photographers to keep their gear clean and well-maintained.
Having a cleaning kit on hand ensures the best possible image quality, as dirty lenses and sensors can negatively impact your photos.
- Microfiber cloths: Used for wiping down your camera body and lenses. These cloths help to remove dust, fingerprints, and smudges without scratching surfaces.
- Air blower: A simple yet effective tool to remove dust and debris from your camera’s sensor, lenses and other delicate areas without causing damage.
- Lens brushes: Soft-bristled brushes that are specifically designed to clean camera lenses safely and efficiently.
Lens Cleaning Kit
In addition to the general cleaning kit, a dedicated lens cleaning kit is crucial for maintaining the optimal performance of your lenses.
A proper lens cleaning kit should include:
- Lens cleaning solution: A specially formulated liquid that is safe to use on delicate lens coatings, effectively removing smudges and grime.
- Lens cleaning tissues: Soft, lint-free tissues designed for use with the lens cleaning solution to clean your lenses without leaving residue or damaging the surface.
- Lens pen: A compact tool with a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning pad on the other to gently remove fingerprints and smudges from your lens.
Keeping your camera’s sensor clean is vital for achieving the best image quality.
A sensor cleaner is an essential accessory for maintaining your camera’s performance.
There are two main types of sensor cleaners:
- Wet cleaning kits: These kits include a sensor cleaning solution and sensor swabs. This method is highly effective in removing stubborn dust and debris from the camera sensor but requires precise and careful handling to avoid causing any damage.
- Dry cleaning kits: These kits employ a brush or static-charged cleaning tip to remove dust from the sensor. While less effective for removing oily or sticky debris, dry cleaning kits are safer and easier to use, especially for beginners.
There are several other photography accessories that can enhance your experience and improve your results as a photographer.
In this section, we’ll discuss a few such accessories, including bubble levels, grips, selfie sticks, and software.
A bubble level is a small but useful accessory for those seeking to maintain perfect alignment and balance in their shots.
This tool can be especially beneficial for landscape and architectural photography, where precise leveling is crucial.
Many DSLR and mirrorless system cameras have built-in bubble levels, but if your camera doesn’t, you can easily find an external one to attach to your camera’s hot shoe.
Camera grips provide additional comfort, stability, and control when shooting, making it easier to hold your camera for extended periods.
Grips are available for various camera models and can be especially helpful for those with larger hands or for those who often shoot in vertical orientation.
In addition to enabling a more secure grip, some grips also have extra functionalities, such as space for an additional battery or remote shutter control.
Selfie sticks may be associated with the casual smartphone photography of social media, but they have found a place in the world of professional photography as well.
These handy accessories enable photographers to capture unique perspectives and angles, as well as allowing for self-portraits or group shots in tight spaces.
When choosing a selfie stick, be sure to look for one that is compatible with your DSLR or mirrorless system and is sturdy enough to support your camera’s weight.
Investing in good photo-editing software is essential for any photographer, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional.
Proper editing software can help you enhance your images, correct imperfections, and experiment with different looks and styles.
Popular options include Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Capture One, and Affinity Photo.
Taking the time to learn how to use these tools effectively can elevate your photography to new levels.
Keep an open mind when considering new accessories for your photography kit.
Each of these miscellaneous items can play a small but important role in improving your final images and ensuring a better overall experience behind the lens.