Best Camera Accessories for Beginners - Digital Photography School
Close
Close

Best Camera Accessories for Beginners

Looking for some advice on the best digital camera accessories for beginners? Today guest poster Clark Griffiths examines this topic.

So you have the camera you have the lens/lenses but for some reason you are still not satisfied with your work. Many beginning photographers have this problem at one point or another. For me this took place very early on.

There are several accessories out there that will greatly improve your photography if used right.

Tripods

Perhaps the most important accessory for the beginner is the tripod. A tripod will give you extra stability as you seek the perfect shot. By using a tripod, especially when shooting landscapes, night shots, and portraits, you allow yourself to create sharper and far better looking images then if you were not using a tripod. Additionally tripods allow you to place your camera at angles you the photographer would not be able to achieve unless you have training as a contortionist. Finally, by adding a tripod to your photography arsenal you will be able to practice your photography on yourself any time you want, assuming you have a remote.

Tripods come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. My first tripod was a cheaper model I got at my local Best Buy; and needless to say it was out of commission two months after I bought it. Seeking something a little more reliable I turned to Bogen Manfrotto. Bogen Manfrotto is perhaps the best tripod manufacturer out there. They offer a wide range of tripods starting at around $100 U.S. for aluminum models all the way up $700 U.S. for their carbon fiber models. Gitzo is another popular brand with prices similar to those of .

When purchasing your first tripod think of it as a long term investment towards better photographic results.

Read more about Tripods in our Introduction to Tripods series of posts here at DPS.

Remote Shutter Releases

Another important camera accessory every beginner should have is a remote shutter release. Remotes are very handy when shooting night and landscape shots when longer exposures are required as it will reduce camera shake thereby reducing blur. They are also essential for self portraits, and group shots.

There are two types of camera remote controls: cable or wireless systems. Most camera manufacturers make their own so depending on your camera system price and/or type may vary. However most remotes will not put much of a dent in your pocket book. Based on my personal experience I can not recommend the purchase of a remote enough. It is one of those must have accessories.

Read more about using Shutter Release Cables

Filters

Lens filters are another camera accessory some beginners may find useful. Lens filters essentially act as sunglasses for your lenses. They offer protection from such things as UV light, dust, water, scratches, finger prints, etc. etc. In addition to protecting your lenses they also help photographers create better images by reducing flare, and reflections. Some even add color and contrast to your photos.

There are many types of lens filters however, I am only going to list those most useful to the beginner. The most useful is the polarizing filter. Polarizing filters help reduce reflections, they minimize blown out areas in your photos and they also add more vivid color and better contrast to your photos. The second type of filter useful to the beginner is a nuetral density or ND filter. ND filters reduce the amount of light entering your camera without effecting the overall color.

Overall lens filters are a good accessory to have if you find yourself shooting a lot of landscape shots or if you just want something to help protect those expensive lenses of yours.

Read our Introduction to Filters for DSLRs

Camera Bags

Now what are you going to carry all of these accessories in? Most likely a camera bag, and if you are anything like me choosing the right camera bag is very very big deal. Given the sheer volume of camera bags on the market today, choosing the right one becomes more trial and error. You will most likely go through two or three before you find the one right for you.

Camera bags come in many different forms. The most popular seem to be over the shoulder bags, sling bags, and backpacks. If your gear collection is minimal like mine a shoulder or sling bag will fit your needs well. If you have a large amount of gear a backpack would be better for you.

The most popular brands include LowePro, Crumpler and Tamrac. I currently use a LowePro Slingshot 100 AW camera bag (pictured left) and love it. And if my memory serves me well this was one of the most popular camera bags used by DPS readers.

Read our Guide to Choosing a Day Bag for Your Camera.

I hope this post has helped I blog about my own experiences at www.clarkgriffithsphotography.com.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Homy

    I totally agree with the options. I just bought my first DSLR and also bought a tripod, filters, bag; I didn’t get the remote though, but now I wish I had. I definitely see the need for it in low light pix. Great post!

  • http://chanraymond.net Raymond Chan

    Will definitely need to get myself some filters for my D60 =) Thanks for the simple and quick tips!

    Raymond Chan
    http://chanraymond.net

  • http://www.fotografarvenderviajar.com/ Marcio Eugenio

    I need a new tripod, new bag, some filters… :)

  • http://www.tylerrobbins.net tyler

    One thing i would add, when you go buy stuff is a simple squeezable air duster for when you are changing filters and lenses. This is especially important when you are changing a lens, if you have time, a burst of air can get rid of dust that might ruin your day.

  • Odyn

    As for cable shutter releases I recommend checking ebay for chinese made ones. Often they have additional features over the original ones (timelaps photography, preset number of images, countdown timer, delay) while being cheaper than originals.
    Or you can try a Do It Yourself project (Canon/Pentax shutter release is easy and cheap to make).

  • http://www.zoom-in.com/blogs/author/rasmussen/ Rasmus

    I would also suggest the 50mm f/1.8 as a beginner’s lens. It’s sharp and cheap, no matter which brand of camera you use (or at least for Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras).

    Besides image quality and price, the lack of a zoom function makes you think more about composition. If you want to get closer, you need to actually move closer. That alone actually teaches you more about photography, than you might think.

  • Randy

    I agree with Rasmus that the “nifty fifty” is an indispensable lens to have. You can’t beat it for the money.

    On a side note, I was just wondering if anyone knew where I might be able to find a leather messenger bag for my camera gear? Not sure if this is a very marketable item since most people probably want a more durable, weather-friendly option.

  • Anouk

    I do have a leather camera bag, but it is a really old one.
    Maybe you should look for it in stores where they sell second hand photography material? I already saw similar bags in a photography shop.

  • colin

    For my photography, I’ve found a remote shutter release to be un-necessary. In low light situations, you can just use a self-timer on the camera set to 2 seconds or 10 seconds for self-portraits. My camera (a D-SLR-like model, the Sony Cybershot DSC H9) comes with a remote, but I find myself not using it that frequently :)
    But great post, and those accesories can be very useful and nice gifts….
    thanks!!
    colin

  • http://shutter.antisoc.net D. T. North

    I typically recommend that you get a UV filter for every single one of your lenses and keep them on the face at all times (unless you want to replace it with a different filter for a specific shot). A UV filter is dirt cheap (some of mine were only $10 USD). But it will do a great job of protecting the glass in your lens, which is going to be incredibly more expensive.

    It won’t protect your lens from a fall, but it will protect it from dirt, small bumps and anything that could potentially scratch your glass.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhumroo/ anamika

    I don’t have a DSLR, but I have one of the early super-zooms from Nikon (5700); and it still takes great pictures (outdoors). I already had a tripod, but over the years I added a UV filter, a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens to my bag.

    Couple other thing I would add as must haves are extra batteries and memory cards, never know when you’ll need those.

    Didn’t know about the Chinese made cable shutter releases on Ebay; there were times when I wish I had one; I need to check them out — Thanks.

  • http://macworkshop.co.uk Cub

    I really don’t understand why I don’t see more people out and about with a Gorilla Pod. I never used to carry a tri-pod around for the regular reasons, and ended up missing a lot of potentially fantastic shots.

    Then, I discovered these ( http://www.joby.com/products/gorillapod/ ) and my camera has not stopped thanking me! It takes up no space to carry around – I just wrap it around my camera case if I have my point’n’shoot or the case strap if I’ve got my larger camera – it weighs nothing and gives your camera instant support anywhere you need it… I really can’t sing it’s praises enough!

  • sam

    Good suggestions. Those are my top things too.

  • Ray

    All excellent suggestions but check out EBay for good deals.

  • Nancy

    I didn’t think the Gorilla pod would support a Nikon D-40 with a 300mm lens. Recently bought a Manfrotto tripod with a great head and am actually starting to use it! Sure saves my arms.

  • Nancy

    I have read articles pro and con about keeping a UV filter on to proect your lens. I always do but one author said if you use the lens hood you shouldn’t need the filter for protection. However, in my bag I rarely keep the hood on and sometimes forget to put the lens cap on so I use the UV ALWAYS.

  • Nick

    They make a larger gorilla pod that will support a full blow DSLR. At the local camera shop where a buddy works, he said they had a 5d with a 70-200 F2.8L on it and it was fine.

  • Christina

    light meter?

  • http://foodientravelbug.blogspot.com MeiTeng

    I am going to purchase a tripod and wireless remote shutter release soon. Good list!

  • http://www.zikulapro.com/index.php?module=Profile&func=view&uname=bartekdamek Pozycjonowanie

    One of the most typical problem of writers nowadays is their disability to engage their readers. This article is definitely one of a kind.

  • http://sanibelblondie@yahoo.com Sanibelblondie

    OK, here’s a real stupid question I’m sure, but I’m a beginner so bear with me….I want to get a polarizing filter for my new Canon T1i. What size do I need? I have two lens… EFS 18-55 and EF75-300mm.

  • Josh

    It depends what thread size your camera lens is e.g. normally will be a 52 or 58 and the filter just screws on at the front ( the thread size will be on the front of your lens)

Some older comments

  • Josh

    June 29, 2011 04:20 am

    It depends what thread size your camera lens is e.g. normally will be a 52 or 58 and the filter just screws on at the front ( the thread size will be on the front of your lens)

  • Sanibelblondie

    January 25, 2011 06:36 am

    OK, here's a real stupid question I'm sure, but I'm a beginner so bear with me....I want to get a polarizing filter for my new Canon T1i. What size do I need? I have two lens... EFS 18-55 and EF75-300mm.

  • Pozycjonowanie

    December 7, 2010 09:01 pm

    One of the most typical problem of writers nowadays is their disability to engage their readers. This article is definitely one of a kind.

  • MeiTeng

    April 14, 2009 01:22 pm

    I am going to purchase a tripod and wireless remote shutter release soon. Good list!

  • Christina

    August 15, 2008 02:36 am

    light meter?

  • Nick

    August 2, 2008 03:17 am

    They make a larger gorilla pod that will support a full blow DSLR. At the local camera shop where a buddy works, he said they had a 5d with a 70-200 F2.8L on it and it was fine.

  • Nancy

    June 14, 2008 02:32 am

    I have read articles pro and con about keeping a UV filter on to proect your lens. I always do but one author said if you use the lens hood you shouldn't need the filter for protection. However, in my bag I rarely keep the hood on and sometimes forget to put the lens cap on so I use the UV ALWAYS.

  • Nancy

    June 14, 2008 02:30 am

    I didn't think the Gorilla pod would support a Nikon D-40 with a 300mm lens. Recently bought a Manfrotto tripod with a great head and am actually starting to use it! Sure saves my arms.

  • Ray

    June 13, 2008 05:05 pm

    All excellent suggestions but check out EBay for good deals.

  • sam

    June 13, 2008 07:34 am

    Good suggestions. Those are my top things too.

  • Cub

    June 12, 2008 10:27 pm

    I really don't understand why I don't see more people out and about with a Gorilla Pod. I never used to carry a tri-pod around for the regular reasons, and ended up missing a lot of potentially fantastic shots.

    Then, I discovered these ( http://www.joby.com/products/gorillapod/ ) and my camera has not stopped thanking me! It takes up no space to carry around - I just wrap it around my camera case if I have my point'n'shoot or the case strap if I've got my larger camera - it weighs nothing and gives your camera instant support anywhere you need it... I really can't sing it's praises enough!

  • anamika

    June 11, 2008 05:31 am

    I don't have a DSLR, but I have one of the early super-zooms from Nikon (5700); and it still takes great pictures (outdoors). I already had a tripod, but over the years I added a UV filter, a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens to my bag.

    Couple other thing I would add as must haves are extra batteries and memory cards, never know when you'll need those.

    Didn't know about the Chinese made cable shutter releases on Ebay; there were times when I wish I had one; I need to check them out -- Thanks.

  • D. T. North

    June 11, 2008 03:11 am

    I typically recommend that you get a UV filter for every single one of your lenses and keep them on the face at all times (unless you want to replace it with a different filter for a specific shot). A UV filter is dirt cheap (some of mine were only $10 USD). But it will do a great job of protecting the glass in your lens, which is going to be incredibly more expensive.

    It won't protect your lens from a fall, but it will protect it from dirt, small bumps and anything that could potentially scratch your glass.

  • colin

    June 11, 2008 12:44 am

    For my photography, I've found a remote shutter release to be un-necessary. In low light situations, you can just use a self-timer on the camera set to 2 seconds or 10 seconds for self-portraits. My camera (a D-SLR-like model, the Sony Cybershot DSC H9) comes with a remote, but I find myself not using it that frequently :)
    But great post, and those accesories can be very useful and nice gifts....
    thanks!!
    colin

  • Anouk

    June 10, 2008 11:44 pm

    I do have a leather camera bag, but it is a really old one.
    Maybe you should look for it in stores where they sell second hand photography material? I already saw similar bags in a photography shop.

  • Randy

    June 10, 2008 09:18 am

    I agree with Rasmus that the "nifty fifty" is an indispensable lens to have. You can't beat it for the money.

    On a side note, I was just wondering if anyone knew where I might be able to find a leather messenger bag for my camera gear? Not sure if this is a very marketable item since most people probably want a more durable, weather-friendly option.

  • Rasmus

    June 10, 2008 09:01 am

    I would also suggest the 50mm f/1.8 as a beginner's lens. It's sharp and cheap, no matter which brand of camera you use (or at least for Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras).

    Besides image quality and price, the lack of a zoom function makes you think more about composition. If you want to get closer, you need to actually move closer. That alone actually teaches you more about photography, than you might think.

  • Odyn

    June 10, 2008 04:26 am

    As for cable shutter releases I recommend checking ebay for chinese made ones. Often they have additional features over the original ones (timelaps photography, preset number of images, countdown timer, delay) while being cheaper than originals.
    Or you can try a Do It Yourself project (Canon/Pentax shutter release is easy and cheap to make).

  • tyler

    June 10, 2008 02:50 am

    One thing i would add, when you go buy stuff is a simple squeezable air duster for when you are changing filters and lenses. This is especially important when you are changing a lens, if you have time, a burst of air can get rid of dust that might ruin your day.

  • Marcio Eugenio

    June 10, 2008 02:38 am

    I need a new tripod, new bag, some filters... :)

  • Raymond Chan

    June 10, 2008 02:07 am

    Will definitely need to get myself some filters for my D60 =) Thanks for the simple and quick tips!

    Raymond Chan
    http://chanraymond.net

  • Homy

    June 10, 2008 01:12 am

    I totally agree with the options. I just bought my first DSLR and also bought a tripod, filters, bag; I didn't get the remote though, but now I wish I had. I definitely see the need for it in low light pix. Great post!

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed