Camera accessories. They come in big, small, expensive, cheap, complicated, simple, and everything in between. It seems like photographers are bombarded with a variety of different gizmos and gadgets, all implied to improve the quality of their experience as a photographer.
And this is, to some extent, true. Even simple accessories can serve as a way to spruce up your photos and streamline your workflow. That being said, the most important part of purchasing accessories is ensuring you’re buying items that actually work for you.
For your convenience, we’ve assembled some of the most recommended, and reliable, accessories a photographer can own. These 10 must-have camera accessories are essential additions to any photographer’s arsenal of equipment.
Even weather sealed photography equipment should be treated as fragile, and camera bags are a must-have for the safe protection and transportation of your equipment.
The minimum requirements of a good camera bag are a sufficiently cushioned, lined interior, meant to protect your camera from impact damage, arrangeable dividers, and reliable weatherproofing. Good bags should be able to withstand the rugged conditions of hiking while keeping your equipment clean, dry, and unharmed.
Neewer’s shockproof and waterproof camera case ticks all these boxes. The bag allows photographers to store up to two camera bodies, several lenses, multiple flashes, and other minor camera accessories like remote shutters and lens filters.
Its shockproof exterior shields stored equipment from minor falls and external damage. Additionally, Newer produces a version of the bag equipped with removable straps for holding a tripod in place while stored in the bag’s mesh side pocket.
Aside from everything listed here, SD cards are one of the photographer’s most valuable accessories. Storing hundreds of photos at a time, these small and sometimes pricey pieces of plastic are precious commodities to the avid photographer. Losing or damaging a card before, during, or after a shoot can prove devastating.
SD card cases and wallets are essential to organizing and preserving your memory cards and are invaluable to the photographer who is always on the go, and always filling up memory cards.
Think Tank’s soft-sided SD card wallet stores up to nine SD cards, folds into a pocket-sized wallet, and attaches to clothing and bags with an included lanyard. The wallet is a perfect organizational device for photographers on the go who want a secure way to keep their memory cards organized and safe.
Anyone who wears glasses can tell you lenses collect dust and fingerprints better than a seasoned detective. Unfortunately, camera lenses are just as prone to the collection of greasy finger smudges and motes of dust as your average pair of spectacles.
As a result, microfiber cloths are a must for lens cleaning. As with glasses, microfiber cloths are gentle enough and efficient enough to remove unwanted marks from camera lenses without damaging the glass themselves.
MagicFiber sells two to 30 pack bundles of microfiber cleaning cloths, alongside an extra-large option for people who need to clean wider surfaces. The “ultra-fine,” material cleans various surfaces efficiently and is safe to use on the delicate glass of camera lenses.
It is important to note that microfiber cloths cannot be substituted with just any kind of cloth. Harsher materials can result in your lens’ glass becoming further smudged and scratched, and in worst-case scenarios, permanently damaged.
Another important cleaning product for photography equipment, rocket blasters are perfect for clearing out dust off both the surfaces and delicate insides of your equipment.
Blasters are safe alternatives to canned air. Canned airs are essentially liquids, using them runs the risk of spilling or condensing moisture into the sensitive nooks and crannies of your equipment.
There’s not much more to say about Giottos AA1900 air blaster; a powerful little tool, it blasts pure air into your equipment and can clean the surfaces of lenses, bodies, and camera sensors.
Most cameras come with a basic, branded neck strap. While convenient, and often times well made, these straps can put unnecessary stress on a photographer’s neck, leading to sore muscles and aches. Additionally, limited adjustability often leaves cameras hanging loosely at uncomfortable angles.
BlackRapid’s sling-like camera strap’s crossbody style alleviates pressure off the neck and instead places the weight of the camera on the photographer’s shoulder. It holds the camera tightly and comfortably against the waist when not in use, and allows for easy and quick access when necessary.
Peak Design is known for its useful variety of anchors and straps. Its quick-release anchor links are especially great for photographers who want speedy-to-use alternatives to cumbersome camera strap loops.
The slim cords of the anchor links can fit through almost any DSLR or mirrorless ring, and its heavyweight limit of 200lbs means your camera will remain securely attached to whatever strap you’ve connected it too.
Sticking with Peak Design, the company also manufactures holsters that tightly secure cameras to backpack straps and belts so that photographers can do rigorous, hands-free traveling, with continuous easy access to their camera. The clip eliminates the anxiety-inducing possibility of banging and damaging a loose hanging camera against hard surfaces.
Peak Design’s capture clip has two parts; a clip, that attaches to your backpack or belt strap, and another attachment meant to screw into the threaded hole located underneath your camera’s body. This secondary attachment can be quickly mounted and released onto the camera clip, and holds your device steady during hiking and running.
No photographer’s arsenal of equipment is complete without a trusty tripod by their side.
The unfortunate side effect of purchasing high-quality, durable tripods is having to lug a few extra pounds of weight around with you on all your adventures. The inconvenience of bulky, lengthy tripods have ushered in an age of new, compact minipods, meant to lighten the avid photographer’s usual load of equipment.
Joby’s GorillaPod, in particular, is a popular alternative to the average tripod. Light and compact, their 3K tripod, capable of lifting up to just a little over six pounds, comes equipped with three, strong, flexible legs. This travel-sized tripod’s adjustable, gripping legs allow photographers to explore their creative side with an endless ability to compose shots from unique angles and odd vantage points.
While memory cards and computers are convenient and already expensive methods of storing photos, a photographer should always have several backpacks in case of emergencies. These can come in the form of digital cloud storage, or physical hard drives like Toshiba’s one terabyte portable external hard drive.
Toshiba’s light, slim portable hard drive is a perfect device for photographers to store backups of their photos, and its compact size makes it great for travel. Ideally, photographers are going to have to pick up multiple hard drives throughout the course of their photography, and Toshiba’s provides decent read speeds, lots of storage, and portability all at an affordable price.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked accessories of them all, rain covers are often the afterthought to an already wet camera. While you can always opt for an ultra-expensive camera cover, lower priced ones do just fine, and Altura’s professional rain cover makes it in at a perfect price with great quality.
The cover comes with three openings. Two arm sleeves give you protected access to your camera; the lens sleeve, equipped with an internal rubber mouth ring, grips snugly to your lens, and guarantees a water-free experience in light and moderate rain. For a more secure attachment, photographers can use a lens hood in addition to the the cover’s lens sleeve.
The back of the cover has a translucent plastic cover, allowing you to make adjustments accurately, and view your composure through your camera’s LCD. Finally, the bottom of Altura’s cover has an additionally zippered section for attaching your camera to a tripod. All-in-all, Altura’s rain cover is a solid product for photographers looking for a low-priced method for accurately protecting their cameras and lenses during rainfall.
Buying the Best for Your Buck
Briefly scouring the internet quickly reveals hundreds of accessories available to eager photographers. Picking and choosing the right products for you can be a difficult task, and without careful consideration, it’s easy to become consumed by the want to check-out every sparkly, new gadget that catches your eyes.
But not all accessories are created equally. Your best bet (and what’s best for your wallet) is to invest in a few quality products that will serve you for a long time to come. And we hope you’ll consider adding these 10 must-have camera accessories to your permanent photographer’s kit.