To make a living in photography, you’ll need a spread of skills and equipment to satisfy the precise needs of your clients.
Beyond investing in cameras, lenses, lights, tripods, and accessories, a photographer must know the proper gear to use in each situation and the way to adjust settings and equipment to your advantage.
Some of the items will protect your gear, and some will make you feel more comfortable while taking photos. Others will make sure you don’t have to worry about camera shake and blurry results.
We have hand-picked and curated a list of essential items for every photography enthusiast due to their ability to fit different photography situations and genres.
This is the most common camera accessory and the absolute first thing you should be looking for after you buy your DSLR camera.
An SD (Secure Disk) card is a small memory chip that goes into your camera that will store all your photos and videos. Every DSLR or even a point-and-shoot camera on the market needs one of these cards to work. But if you’re looking to shoot 4K cinematics or to go for wildlife photography, you can always choose a CF memory card instead of the regular SD cards for better speed and performance.
If you’re just beginning your photography career, we’d recommend going for at least a 32 GB or 64 GB SD card. Any lower than that will leave you wanting more storage space on multiple occasions. Also, it is necessary to do your research about the camera you’re operating and check if it can support a memory card larger than 64 GB. If yes, you can always set your eyes on a 128 GB or 256 GB SD/CF memory card.
Our recommendation for the best in class and performance SD card is the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card – C10. For professionals looking for CF memory cards, we’ll recommend this SanDisk SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB Compact Flash Memory Card.
The next accessory that you will absolutely need more of will be spare batteries. More often than not, every photographer faces the issue of a battery dying out while on a shoot which is disheartening, to say the least. Battery grips and extra batteries help overcome this obstacle as having spares keeps your mind free of tedious tasks like finding charging points etc during the shoot.
When it comes to buying extra batteries there are two options you need to consider – buying originals or 3rd party batteries. There are pros and cons to both.
Deciding to go for original batteries from your camera manufacturer is a foolproof choice as they are of the highest quality and more importantly you won’t have your warranty voided if for some reason they damage your camera. Keep in mind though they are expensive
Here’s a recommendation for some extra power that you can rely upon during your photoshoots.
On the other hand, if you choose to go for 3rd party batteries, you can often get two spare batteries at the price of one original but it is necessary to do proper research on the quality and standards of the battery manufacturer before investing in them.
Our recommendation for the best 3rd party batteries is the Homesuit LP-E6 LP-E6N Battery and LED Charger Set which gives you 2 extra Canon batteries with a charger included in almost half the price of an original.
If you’re getting serious about photography and need an important camera accessory, then you’ll need to buy a tripod to eliminate camera shake.
Tripods are honestly among the foremost essential camera accessories any photographer can own, whether you’re trying to click photos in low light, take long exposure shots, create time lapses, do some steady filming, or maybe just take a photograph of yourself at a cool location, a tripod is going to be the best friend your camera has in all these situations.
A lot of photographers are often confused about buying a travel tripod, commonly known as a Gorilla pod, or a full-size tripod.
If you travel a lot and like portability, then you should definitely get the Joby 3K Gorillapod. The bendy legs allow you to place it on any type of surface and even wrap it around poles or trees. It’s strong enough to hold up to 3kg which is sufficient for most DSLRs.
If you’re looking for a full-size tripod for maybe astrophotography or landscape photography purposes we would recommend going for Vanguard Alta Pro due to its versatile shooting angles and the ease of use paired with durability.
Having a LED light can help you add a huge amount of creativity to your photos.
You can use the portable lights to mount on top of your camera while vlogging to light up your faces (also useful when taking photos of people/ subjects in dark or at night), to illuminate a backdrop, and even to add depth to scenes in low light.
The Lume Cube 2.0 Professional Lighting Kit is the best portable light kit available out there as it is waterproof, has adjustable brightness and Bluetooth control, comes with a 20-Piece LED Lighting Kit including Diffusion and Gels, and best of all, it can be used as a flash if you don’t have one.
Having a remote shutter release or an intervalometer is a must-have camera accessory for a whole range of different photography situations.
The main reason we use a remote is not for selfies, but because we don’t want a camera shake during the shot. A remote is one of the best DSLR accessories for ensuring the best quality images.
For people who love doing night photography, which requires spending a lot of time with the camera on a tripod. When you’re taking a long exposure, even the slightest movement will make your image less sharp.
Intervalometers do the same thing but with a few additional features. The most important of these is the ability to set the camera to continuously take photos, which is great for taking time-lapse photography.
There are different remotes for different cameras — wireless and wired. Be sure to do your research and find a remote or intervalometer that is compatible with your DSLR camera.
We would recommend the Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6 with Shutter Release or any intervalometer; just make sure it fits your camera.
One of the most important, if not THE most important camera accessory is the bag you carry your pieces of equipment around in.
Depending on whether you have a series of mirrorless cameras or an ensemble of different bodies and lenses, you’ll need to get a camera bag to match whatever you’re carrying around.
A camera bag needs to be very durable, water-resistant, and have lots of padding both inside and out to protect against falls and inadvertent damages.
We recommend the Lowepro Whistler Backpack 350 AW II for all your camera carrying needs. Lowepro is the leading camera bag company and you can find a variety of shapes and sizes depending upon your budget and necessity.
Whenever you go out for shoots, bits of dust and dirt particles will without fail cover the camera, and if you use interchangeable lenses, you’ll probably end up with dust on the camera sensors as well which is never ideal.
Keeping your camera clean with the right accessories is very important to have it perform at its best.
You will need to carry a micro-fiber cloth and Sensor blower at the very least with you at all times.
We recommend the Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit. It has everything you need, is easy to use, and comes at a very nominal price.
External Hard Drive
Once you get into photography professionally, you will need a device to store all of your jpegs and RAW images. Images pile up very quickly during shoots, and it is an absolute necessity to create at least 2 copies of your work to counter any misgivings like the camera or the memory card being stolen, lost or damaged.
We recommend the WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive initially as it has enough storage to last you about a couple of years with light to moderate shoot storage capacities.
Memory Card Reader
Nobody realizes how slow transferring photos through your camera often is. This all changes once you start using a memory card reader to transfer files. It gives you an enormous speed boost and saves you a lot more time. A card reader isn’t only a requirement; it is a must-have camera accessory for every photography enthusiast.
You can even use it alongside your camera if you like to create backups of images to your computer as soon as the shoot is wrapped up.
We recommend the Transcend USB 3.1 Multifunctional Card Reader as it is one of the best memory card readers on the market. Moreover, it gives you access to SD cards, Micro SD cards, and CF cards so you don’t need to look for various devices for different cards that you might use.
External flashes are extremely useful in various shoot settings like weddings or indoor shoots as they can make a photograph look professional. If used properly, it may give your photos a natural semblance as the technique entails a process and placement which will make it look like the flash wasn’t even fired.
Most of the external flashes are compatible with all camera brands. Although it is advisable to research before buying one and use it in combination with a flash transmitter for the best possible outcome.
We recommend the Altura Photo Camera Flash KIT W/LCD Display for DSLR & Mirrorless Camerasas it does the job perfectly and is compatible with all the major cameras that you might use.
When it comes to buying camera accessories, the sky is the limit. It is always smarter to start with the essential accessories that will help you out in all photography scenes.
Last but not the least, the most important thing for any photographer, regardless of any equipment, is to just get out there and taking a lot of photos. The more you practice, the better your images will get.
Have some questions?
Feel free to ask them below in the comments or give us your ideas on more essential pieces of equipment that we might have missed.