For photographers, compiling a list of absolute must-haves to go with their cameras can prove an overwhelming task. The market’s of little help either, since even a surface-level search for ‘accessories for photography’ brings up too many results to possibly narrow down. This is where we come in. To avoid the feeling of shooting in the dark, we’ve compiled a list of camera accessories you or the photographer in your life cannot possibly go without.
Essential Accessories for Photography to Buy in 2022
Photo by Kushagra Kevat
White Balancing Tools
While most digital cameras have an ‘Auto White Balance’ function already, many pros and serious hobbyists prefer to customize WB on the spot. That’s why you can get a gray/neutral white palette that, when placed in the same lighting as the subject, helps photographers adjust their settings accordingly. You can also use it as a base point for accurate post-processing later on. The same idea applies to color-checker cards that feature multiple colors mimicking things they might be shooting (skin tones, sky, foliage, etc.) as well as neutral grays.
Rubber Lens Cap
No matter your photography genre, it’s an absolute must to keep a camera lens protected—especially when you invested in an expensive lens kit. Get a rubber lens cap that protects your lens from dust, dirt, and water (trust us, this photography tool is going to be a life-saver). If you have a DSLR opt for a universal lens cap to fit your camera perfectly; about 99% of universal lens caps go with DSLRs already, so that should not be a problem.
Photo by Abishkek Rai
Clean optics aren’t just important for getting quality images, they are also key to the longevity of the equipment you’re probably investing a significant amount of money in. Plus, cleaning lenses with a paper towel or a T-shirt is never advised. You need something that’s going to clean your camera safely, gently, and professionally. That’s why you should invest in specialty cleaning wipes and kits that include a microfiber cloth and a proper lens cleaning solution (safe to use on any kind of lens coating).
If you’re aiming for your work to look as professional as it possibly can be, then investing in external flashes is something you cannot go without. When used properly, these camera accessories are not even going to show a trace of a flash fired. Instead, you’ll get the natural scene you were hoping for thanks to a little behind-the-scenes magic. Plus, if you want to experiment with different kinds of photography (if not now then maybe in the future), chances are you’re going to need one of these.
Memory Card Holder
Even the world’s most organized person can misplace things. If that person’s a photographer, they better hope it’s not one of their memory cards. These hold most (if not all) your work, so they’re going to need a special holder or case to keep them safe. Memory card holders typically hold anything you throw at them— CF cards, SD cards, micro SD cards, they’re all fair game. There are even types of holders that protect the cards from shock and water, making them one of the most vital accessories for photography.
Photo by iMattSmart
Every photographer needs a tripod; plain and simple. Whether you want to shell out a lot or a little does not really matter. Having something to safely stabilize a camera is a must-have for certain kinds of shots. If you’re photography’s versatile then it’s best to go with an all-purpose aluminum tripod with enough support for your camera systems. Alternatively, if you travel a lot you can go for a more compact, a jack-of-all-trades kind of tool that doubles as a monopod with the removal of the central column.
However you try to spin it, having a good camera bag is a necessity. It will be used frequently (even roughed up a bit), so it’s best to put some thought into what’ll serve you most. A Lowepro bag is a good place to start typically, since the company’s notorious for delivering just about any size of bag you need. They have sleek black shoulder bags, similarly-built backpacks, as well as water-resistant canvas bags that can be worn across the shoulder or on the hip; all of these in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
A BFF to still-shot photographers, reflectors are heavily used in product shots and portrait photography. Since these fields require a variety of shots, styles, and metrics, it is best to go with the most flexible accessory you can get your hands on. And what’s more flexible than a collapsible. These reflectors are easy to transport when you’re moving in and out of location, they collapse to a third of their size, and tuck neatly away into their storage bag. Some even allow you to go hands-free.
Photo by Jakob Owens
Filters can seem somewhat obsolete these days, but they definitely serve a purpose, even if we live in the age of digital photography. Warming or cooling filters can be used for adjusting color temperatures, and a multitude of specialty creative effects. If you’re a landscape photographer, for instance, two of the filters you’re going to be married to are neutral density and circular polarizers. ND filters come solid, graduated, or center-weighted, and cut the light entering a lens by several stops; meanwhile, circular polarizers work by changing the way lenses take light.
When it comes to sensor cleaning, it is best to leave it to a professional. Unless you can visually tell that the problem is only dust-related, it is important to get the best possible cleaning you can for your camera. Opt for something that removes dust, blows away any pesky particles your device might have, and does not break the bank— there are a lot of sensor cleaners that meet all these criteria.
Photo by Joni Rajala
Depending on the kind of photography you do, you’re likely to find yourself working long hours before going back to the studio where you can change the batteries of your camera; this means extra batteries are more a necessity than a regular photography accessory. Even if you work in the studio and have long photoshoots, you might want at least one extra battery to use while you recharge the first one. If you shoot in these conditions often, you can also look into getting a battery grip that holds your extras attached to the camera.
Memory Card Reader
High-volume photographers need a way to quickly and efficiently get their digital images uploaded onto a computer. The most optimal way of doing this is through a memory card reader, preferably one that is portable and compatible with CF, SDXC/ SDHC UHS-I, and SD cards. Opt to get one that is also fully capable of simultaneous transfer; it’ll save your life in the long run.
External Hard/ Solid-State Drive
A reliable external solid-state or hard drive becomes a critical photography tool when you start amassing a large collection of digital photos. These drives become vital when you need a way to transfer large folders, backup image catalogs, or simply clear up some room on your computer. And luckily, these accessories come in a range of shapes and sizes, ranging from 500GB to 2TB, with compatibility for both USB 3.0 and 2.0. If you travel around a lot with your camera, you could also opt for a drive that holds against drops, moisture, and dust contamination.
Want to get better photos with fewer shots? Get a tethering cable. By connecting your camera to your computer, this incredibly useful camera accessory lets you see your photos straight on the screen. This way, you can immediately spot any issues with lighting, composition, or focusing you wouldn’t have seen otherwise on the smaller screen of your camera. Tethering cables save you time in the editing chair, and allow you to back up your images immediately to avoid any loss of work; it happens more often than you think.
You want to take your camera while going somewhere but you can’t really bring a dedicated camera bag because it’s too bulky and will grab too much attention— a tale as old as time. In these instances, a regular backpack is going to have to do, but not without any extra protection; cue the protective wrap. A perfect solution for photographers-on-the-go, a protective wrap will keep your camera from getting scratched while not taking up any extra space at all.
Photo by Jason Leung
Lens hoods are primarily used to prevent glare; a tool you’ll find very useful in day-to-day photography. Simply attach the hood to the front of the lens and it will block the glare from a nearby light source by not letting it come in from the side. These accessories come in many shapes and sizes (three petals and cylindrical being the most popular and sought out for). Plus, they protect your lens from any potential knocks— we smell a must-have!
Remote Shutter Release
One of the best ways to ensure quality in the images you shoot is to eliminate the possibility of your camera shaking. This is done via remotes and remote shutter releases, tools that are a literal godsend for those spending a lot of time with their cameras placed on a tripod. Long exposure shots are especially at risk of losing sharpness with the slightest movement, and that happens very often.
To give your photos that extra professional touch, you can look into getting a flash transmitter. A wonderful way to experiment with a flashlight, a transmitter typically functions as a fill flash; creating top-notch effects and professional-looking results. One thing to note about this photography tool is that anything that changes in the transmitter is going to affect the external flash; do keep that in mind. If you are looking to create memorable effects but do not want it to necessarily break the bank, a simple sync lead or cord can also do the trick just as well.
Whether you shoot with your mobile or use it occasionally, you will surely benefit from having some external power on-hand. A great option would be a power bank that boosts anything that requires a USB connection, meaning GoPros, tablets, and even some point-and-shoot cameras are fair game. Get one that’s durable, has a high-speed charging rate, and weighs less than a pound; there’s plenty around.
Camera Rig Case
As a photographer, you might find yourself in situations where you need to protect your camera body either during the shoot itself, before, or after. A camera rig case is the solution to all your problems, whether they be damage or dust related. Many photographers would opt for a camera clip but a camera rig case offers better protection. Plus, they come in handy while video-making.