When you're just beginning in photography, it can be a little overwhelming.
Aside from having to learn about lighting and exposure and composition and all that, you also have to figure out what gear is essential to your success.
Sure, you need a camera and a lens or two, but beyond that, what are the best camera accessories for beginners?
Essential Photography Gear: A Nifty Fifty Lens
Most beginner photographers rely on the kit zoom lens that comes with their cameras.
And while it's a fine enough lens to start out with, do yourself a favor and pick up a 50mm lens to add to your camera bag.
As a prime lens - one with a fixed focal length - it will challenge you to be more creative in the way you approach taking photos.
That is, without the benefit of flicking your wrist to adjust the zoom, a prime lens forces you to "zoom with your feet," which makes you more active in the process of framing the shot. That will only help you be more successful as a photographer!
Additionally, prime lenses are known for being super sharp and having fewer aberrations and distortion issues than zoom lenses.
With the improved optics, you can get tack-sharp photos with less worry about things like barrel distortion or vignetting.
And as if all that isn't good enough, 50mm lenses can be found on the cheap. That's particularly true of 50mm f/1.8 lenses which can be found for around $125 brand new.
Get the scoop on why 50mm lenses are so great in the video above by Shutterbug.
Beginner Photography Accessories: A High-Quality Tripod
One of the primary enemies of a good photograph is camera shake. Camera shake occurs when you simply cannot hold the camera still enough with your hands to get a sharp image.
Using a tripod will get you around this problem, in addition to providing a number of other benefits.
The Vanguard VEO 2 240AB tripod shown above has tons of features that make taking photos so much easier.
For starters, this rig is extremely lightweight, so you can more easily carry it around with you as you go from one photography spot to the next.
It also has a compact ball head, which enables you to make fine adjustments to the positioning and direction of the camera.
Better still, this tripod has a unique central column that rotates for easy setup and takedown. That means that you can get yourself ready for the shot in a matter of a few seconds.
That's important because you don't want to miss any shots while you're setting up your tripod.
And at the same time, those few seconds that it takes to setup the tripod allows you to slow things down a little and examine the scene. With that time, you can more closely observe the scene and compose a better photo. It's a win-win!
This tripod also has a suspension loop that's handy for shooting outdoors.
Just hang weight from the loop - like your camera bag - and it'll act as counterbalance for those occasions when the wind kicks up and give your camera even more stability.
The legs on the VEO 2 240AB are handy as well. With three different independent leg angles, you can adapt how the tripod is used to accommodate uneven terrain. The angled rubber feet ensure that the tripod stays put, too.
In other words, having a good tripod doesn't just give your camera tons of stability, but it also enables you to be more precise and creative with your photography.
What's not to like about that?!
Must-Have for Beginners: An Editing Program
By now, you have probably at the very least explored editing your images on your phone.
But to maximize your post-processing efforts, you should invest in something more robust that you can use to edit your photos on a computer.
Of course, the big boys like Photoshop and Lightroom are the go-to programs for many photographers for their photo-editing needs.
But if you don't want to spend a lot of money on Adobe products, there are other alternatives.
Pixlr is an online editor that allows you to make basic edits to your images, like cropping and resizing, adding layer effects, and fine-tuning contrast, color, and so forth.
GIMP is another third-party editing program that many photographers like, especially because it's layout is similar to Photoshop and it has many of the same powerful tools.
There are plenty of other free Photoshop alternatives to try as well.
Whatever program you choose, be sure to spend time practicing your editing skills. Not only will that make editing a faster and smoother process, but you'll also be able to identify your personal photography style while you're at it.
There are many other photography accessories you'll need on your photography journey, but when you're just starting out, the items on this list will prove hugely beneficial.