- A Comfortable Camera Strap
- Memory Cards
- Portable Camera Support
- External Flash
- Remote Release
- LED Light
- Gimbal Stabilizer
- Durable Bag
- Your Next Lens
- 5 Photographer Tools for Beginners
- Get Better at Landscape Photography
- Versatile Camera Gear You Need In Your Bag
Photo by Djavan Rodrigues via iStock
You just purchased a high-quality camera and lens kit, either DSLR style or mirrorless, so now you are likely wondering what camera accessories are essential.
Your kit may have included several accessory items, but the essential camera accessories that make serious photography can be somewhat different than what the store offers as a package.
Below is a list of what a lot of experienced photographers consider as essential camera accessories for beginners. Just so you know, there is almost a complete overlap between essential mirrorless camera accessories and essential DSLR camera accessories.
You might want to note that some accessories are more essential than others depending on what type of photography or video making you want to do. The first three on this list could get you started right away, while some of the others can be picked up soon enough.
Table of Contents
A Comfortable Camera Strap
A number one priority of mine when setting up a new camera (whether brand new or used but new to me) is to change out that dang strap the camera maker put in the box. Ugh, I hate those skinny, uncomfortable camera brand advertising banners!
My preferred style of strap is the sling type that you wear across your body. It is more secure, allows rapid access to all controls, and is much more comfortable with how it distributes weight.
Holdfast Gear is a premier maker of high-quality leather straps, bags, and other accessories for photographers wanting useful and extremely durable gear. As a couple of plusses, they make everything right here in the USA, and their straps and bags are as gorgeous as they are usable.
If you want to invest in a strap that will outlast your camera, head over to Holdfast to check out the Moneymaker Solo!
The digital sensor in your camera is what we think of as the film capturing the image, but that’s actually only half of the job. The information from the sensor needs to be stored somewhere, which is what the memory cards are for.
Back when everyone shot film, the saying was “film is cheap.” Meaning that your expensive camera gear wasn’t doing you much good if you ran out of film. For digital photographers, memory cards are cheap. Here’s a set of 4 with 32GB capacity each as an idea of how little it costs to have several cards.
You always want enough room to store more pics, plus you want a backup for any possible failure of the cards. That doesn’t happen very often, but the one time it happens to you, it can pretty much ruin your photo day if you don’t have another card to capture images.
Portable Camera Support
Your new camera and lens have good image stabilization, but that can only go so far. Sometimes you just need a way to prop your camera up somewhere, whether for low-light photography such as sunsets, Blue Hour, or shooting the moon.
A portable camera support such as the OctoPad is also wonderful for shooting videos, especially those self-shot vlogs you know you’re going to keep doing now that you have a more capable camera.
The OctoPad is unique among essential camera accessories in that it functions similarly to a tripod without all the fuss of lugging around a full-size tripod. It is a compact, weighted, semi-rigid disk with a non-slip pad underneath and a ball head on top.
You can put your camera rig almost anywhere - on many types of surfaces indoors and out - including surfaces angled up to 45 degrees. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use two or more when you want to add lights and a mic to your video shoots.
Most entry-level cameras have a built-in flash, but they aren’t very powerful. So any flash needs beyond about 10 or 12 feet or taking flash pictures with either a wide angle lens or telephoto lens will have you wanting a more powerful external flash.
As you shop around for one, you might see some fairly high prices on some, but you won’t need the super flash units that cost multiple hundreds of dollars. As an example, Canon users can choose the Canon Speedlite 430EX II as a very capable external flash. It gives you all the power you need for most flash photography and has lots of useful features.
For other brands of cameras, be sure to get a flash that matches up properly or is dedicated to your particular camera.
Besides saving money by buying a modest flash unit instead of a top-of-the-line pro model, you can also save money by shopping on an online platform such as MPB, which specializes in high-quality used photography gear.
You can find all manner of gear at MPB, from flash units to mirrorless camera bodies to cinema cameras and much more.
Even with all that the OctoPad camera support can do for you, sometimes you simply need a tripod. You want it to be sturdy and stable, versatile, and easy to set up. Something like the Neewer 200cm Multifunctional Aluminum tripod is a great option. This tripod has lots of useful features for many types of photographic endeavors.
A remote release comes in very handy when you take photos on a tripod or other camera support. The Pixel TW-283 DC2 wireless release frees you from cords and adds some nifty functions such as interval timer and long exposure timer.
These next two items are essential camera accessories you will use if you shoot a lot of videos. A battery-powered portable LED light is easy to use and adds high-quality lighting for your videos. As an example, check out the KobraTech LED light kit.
When recording video, essential camera accessories like a handheld gimbal stabilizer frees you from a static tripod but still smooths out your videos so the viewers don’t have to endure an unintentional shaky cam effect. Some of these may cost a little more than an external flash, but you can save money by shopping for used equipment on an online platform like MPB.
One I found that won’t break a budget is the Zhiyun-Tech Weebil 2 gimbal stabilizer. It is an active dynamic stabilizer and is very intuitive to use. As far as essential camera accessories for video recording, it’s hard to beat a good gimbal!
And, as I mentioned above, shopping at MPB allows you to save money by buying used gear. You can put your savings toward buying additional accessories or keep that money in the bank to save for something else.
Additionally, you can trade your old gear in at MPB and use the money you get for your unused or unwanted gear to pay for new-to-you stuff. It really is a fantastic way to outfit your kit with the gear you need!
A bag to put everything in is often neglected in lists of essential camera accessories, but I find a good bag to be a vital piece of photography equipment. Holdfast makes a variety of excellent bags, including the small and efficient Sightseer 2 modular system bag.
As with the Moneymaker Solo sling strap, the Sightseer 2 is beautifully made and also provides lots of room with great protection from bumps and bangs that inevitably happen when engaging in serious photography.
Your Next Lens
As you figure out just what your photographic style is and what your needs are, you’ll be searching for your next item of essential camera accessories, another lens or two. Regardless of your needs - ultra-wide-angle, super telephoto, fast multipurpose zoom, macro prime - you’ll find a huge selection of lenses for current cameras at the online platform MPB.
MPB carefully inspects all items that come to them and rates them clearly in the description of individual items, has a generous return or exchange policy on most items, and also offers warranties on the gear, so you can save money by buying used photography gear while enjoying the peace of mind of dealing with a reputable dealer.
There are more than ten items you could include as your personal essential camera accessories, polarizer filters, neutral density filters, backdrops, light stands, reflectors, rain shields, and so on. This list of 10 essential camera accessories should get you going in the right direction.