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If you’ve just purchased your first camera, then you’re likely dying to actually start using it. But, before you head out on your first photoshoot, it’s really important to get some basic camera accessories to make your shoot as easy and painless as possible.
Thankfully, there are only a few basic camera accessories that you absolutely need for your first shoot, since you can buy most camera accessories as you get better at your craft and, perhaps, as you start making money shooting photos.
The problem is deciphering which gear is essential photography gear, and which gear will be pretty useless to you at this stage.
In order to help you out a little bit, I created this article which is filled with camera accessories for beginners.
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There are going to be a lot of people telling you that a tripod shouldn’t be in your beginner photography gear because of how excellent cameras are nowadays. These people think about the fact that they’ve been taking photos with their phones for years and they’ve never used a tripod, so why bother?
These people are so, so wrong. A tripod is one of the most essential camera accessories because it will help you to keep your camera as stable as possible, so all of your shots are as crisp as possible. Think about it. You didn’t get a better camera to get slightly better photos than you were already getting with your phone. You got a better camera to get way better photos than you were already getting. A tripod helps you get there.
Plus, there’s really no reason to not add a tripod to your camera accessories because there are so many of them available for so cheap. You can easily find a tripod for under $20. Then, you can always upgrade later.
A Prime Lens
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If you have a camera that features an interchangeable lens system, then the first lens that you need to add to your camera accessories kit is a prime lens.
A prime lens is considered the most basic lens. They typically come in either 50mm or 35mm, which means that they can be used for all types of photography, from portraiture to event photography. And since they are so versatile, you should absolutely have one because it will let you learn everything you need to know about the way your camera operates so that you can figure out what other, more niche types of lenses you need to add to your camera accessories.
It is also helpful that, since prime lenses are so basic, they are also among the cheapest lenses available for beginner photographers. Plus, you have about a million options to choose from. I personally believe that the best lens for beginners is Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 lens, which only costs $125 on Amazon.
SD Memory Cards
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One mistake I see a lot of new photographers make is that they only buy one SD card. This, honestly, hurts to watch. Given the number of SD cards I’ve lost over my lifetime, I know just how simple it is to wreck a day of shooting when you find yourself without an SD card to record your photos to.
You should buy a minimum of 10 SD cards, right off the bat. This way you will have a backup if you lose one or if one becomes corrupted.
And again, SD cards are one of the cheapest camera accessories out there. So you really don’t have any excuses.
However, I also recommend that you come up with a good carrying system for your SD cards. As frustrating as it is to lose a card and not be able to shoot for the day, it is way, way more frustrating to lose a card with a ton of photos on it.
To prevent this from happening, I recommend that you pick up an SD Memory Card Wallet. It’s essentially a small leather wallet that can hold up to 6 SD cards at once. It’s really tiny, so you can carry it in your front pocket easily. But, it also comes with a strap so that you can attach it to your belt or your camera strap or your camera bag. It’s versatile, which I love.
The SD Memory Card Wallet from Holdfast costs $95. The first time it saves you from losing all of your photos, you’ll see just how worth it it is.
A Cleaning Kit
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If you ignore all of the advice on this list, make sure that you pick up a cleaning kit for your camera. A cleaning kit is one of the most important camera accessories because it can actually save you from needing to buy a new camera, which would be incredibly costly.
A good cleaning kit should include a bottle of lens cleaner, so that you never accidentally end up with fingerprints or dust on your lens, an air blower so that you can keep your sensor free from dust (which could end up scratching your sensor if you get lazy about cleaning it), and some microfiber cloths.
You can build your own cleaning kit, if you would like. Otherwise, you can find pre-packaged cleaning kits on Amazon for around $15.
A Comfortable Camera Strap
The last item that you should be adding to your camera accessories kit is a comfortable, budget-friendly camera strap.
A camera strap does a few things. Primarily, it prevents you from accidentally dropping your camera, which is a cardinal sin in photography. It is especially important for you to get a camera strap if you’re planning on doing a lot of adventuring while you’re shooting.
But, a camera strap also helps to keep you comfortable on longer shoots. It helps you to keep your hands free for doing other things, like traveling, working with clients, or reviewing a shot list.
You will want a comfortable camera strap, like the MoneyMaker Solo. The MoneyMaker Solo is made out of leather, so it only gets better with age and you don’t have to worry about taking it out in the rain. The MoneyMaker Solo is also supremely comfortable. It’s a relatively thin, cross-body strap, so you can swing your camera to your side when you aren’t using it, but it’s always within reach.
Importantly, the MoneyMaker Solo also looks good, which is important if you’re planning on ever making money from photography. It comes in an array of colors, like tan, burgundy, and black, and is relatively cheap at $175.