Camera accessories are equally as important as the camera itself. In many ways, they are the secret to great photos, simplifying the process and making life easier for the photographer.
With so many different camera accessories available, you can quickly fall down a rabbit hole. A quick search leaves you inundated with options and it can feel overwhelming, especially for beginners. Photography gear can also be expensive. Luckily, there are affordable options on the market that don’t sacrifice quality.
Here are a few essential camera accessories and gadgets to get you started on the right track.
This is one of the most valuable camera accessories in the photographer’s arsenal. From night photography to macro, tripods play a key role in stabilizing your camera and assisting you in getting “the shot.”
When looking for a tripod, consider the following: the weight rating (how much weight can it support), height, legs and feet, and tripod head. It seems like a lot to consider, but like anything else it mostly comes down to personal preference.
An example of a tripod that checks off all the basics is the Vanguard VEO 235AB. Best of all, it’s compact and perfect for travel.
Remote Shutter Release
Remote shutter release, when paired with a tripod, is an especially important camera gadget for landscape photographers. It allows the photographer to capture an image without physically touching the camera, eliminating camera shake and resulting in tack sharp images. Shutter releases are also great for increased exposure times, which are perfect for night photography.
You can choose from cable or wireless releases. I have used both types, but personally prefer the cable release.
Circular Polarizers and Neutral Density Filters
A circular polarizer is an underrated accessory for landscape photographers. When attached to your lens, circular polarizers can boost color, intensify skies, improve contrasts and control haze and reflections.
When shopping for a circular polarizer be sure you purchase a filter that is the same size as the lens you’re using. While there are a multitude of options, a quality yet affordable polarizer is the Hoya PRO1.
Neutral density filters control the amount of light that enters the camera. By controlling the light and adjusting shutter speeds, you can create motion and blurred effects in your images. These filters are used quite often by landscape photographers and prove to be valuable camera accessories. It is important to select a quality filter as cheaper products can cause an unwanted vignette (darkening along the edges) and color distortion.
One of the most important camera accessories by far is a good camera bag. It’s not only a place to keep your camera, lenses and other gadgets, but it’s how they get safely transported as well. Camera bag options are infinite. When shopping, consider the following:
Capacity and Compartments
The capacity and the number of compartments in your camera bag are two important factors, as it must be able to fit all the necessary gear. There is nothing worse than not having the equipment you need when you’re out on a shoot.
Look for thick padded walls in the bag and the compartments, as the padding will protect your camera from damage.
There are many different styles of camera bags. There’s no right or wrong style – it’s more about personal preference. I’m currently using a backpack-style camera bag; however, I have used a crossbody bag in the past.
A camera strap is one of the most underestimated yet essential camera accessories. While most cameras come with a standard – and frankly boring – strap, there are many options that allow you to express your personality and style.
I like to shoot with either a wrist strap or a quick release. When making your selection, keep material, camera compatibility and ease of use in mind. Remember that while looks are important, your camera must always feel secure.
Clean camera lenses and sensors are incredibly important when it comes to photography, that’s a no-brainer. Cleaning your equipment thoroughly and frequently is imperative, so a cleaning kit is a must. No one likes an image with dust spots. A clean camera sensor saves so much editing time, trust me.
Microfiber cloths, a blower and dusters are important components to a kit. One of the top-rated cleaning kits (which I also happen to own) is the Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit.
Camera accessories and gadgets can be a fun and easy way to improve your photography. I always recommend thoroughly researching and product and a brand before making your final decision.
Kayla Mandeville is a Massachusetts-based photographer. You can follow her on Instagram at @k__elizabeth.
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Views expressed are the opinion of the writer and do not reflect the views of AAA Northeast.