When choosing gear, it’s important to consider how and what you shoot. Are you a landscape photographer, or do you prefer sports photography? One will need a steady, rugged tripod while the other might benefit from investing in a good camera strap.
Evaluating your needs as a photographer will not only help you choose the best photo accessories for you, it’ll keep you from spending money on stuff you’ll never use.
Though your needs will vary, there are a few items just about every photographer can benefit from including in their kit. A good sturdy camera bag, for example, and a strong tripod. Let’s not forget a rock-solid memory card that you know will keep your images safe until you can get home to back them up. These are the small but essential items you may not consider when getting into photography but will end up needing.
Here we’ll go over the broader categories of camera accessories, from backpacks to memory cards, to help you choose some solid options to build out your kit. Because there are so many great options out there, we stuck to the ones we thought would make the best all-around or introductory pieces of kit.
Keep them for years or use them as a stepping stone—either way, you’ll find something in our list of top photography gear you can use.
- ✓ Durable design to stand up to everyday use
- ✓ Weatherproofing to keep gear dry
- ✓ Moderate price point makes it more affordable than other bags like this
- ✓ Sleek, minimal design
- ✗ Doesn’t fit quite as much as other camera bags
W With so many different camera bags out there—sling, messenger, backpack, holster—choosing the best one can be difficult. Which one you need will largely come down to personal preference.
That said, the Peak Design Everyday Totepack is an excellent all-rounder if you’re looking for a simple go-to camera pack for your everyday carry.
This backpack can be arranged into multiple configurations to fit your gear, so whether you shoot mirrorless or DSLR, you’ll be able to carry a body plus a few lenses. It’s designed with external cords you can fasten a cover to if you’re trekking through brutal weather, is made from sturdy recycled canvas, and has a weatherproof top closure.
Peak Design’s pack is also one of the few camera bags that doesn’t look like a camera bag, so it can easily double as a commuter companion or day pack. And all of this comes at a very reasonable price point, which is just icing on the cake.
- ✓ Good all-around tripod
- ✓ Sturdy design and smooth function
- ✓ Configurable center column opens up a variety of shots
- ✗ Not the smallest or lightest
- ✗ Not the most expensive, but still a bit pricey
A good, sturdy tripod is an essential part of any photographer’s kit, especially if you shoot landscapes, astrophotography, or video. But great tripods can be hard to find. Vanguard’s Veo 3+ 263AB stands out because it provides a lot of pro features in a well-built package at a reasonable price point.
The center column on this tripod can be extended 90 degrees, helping you get overhead shots with ease. You can even mount the center column across the tripod legs and mount two pieces of gear—say your camera on one side and a small light on the other.
There are other tripods that do some things better than this one, but the Veo 3+ one meets multiple needs pretty well. It folds down a bit larger and heavier than dedicated travel tripods, but you can still take it with you and there’s a more lightweight carbon fiber option available for a bit more cash.
- ✓ Works with most major camera manufacturers
- ✓ Simple to use once you get the controls down
- ✗ Expensive for what you get
The Hahnel Captur Transmitter is simple to set up, with a receiver that attaches to your camera’s hot shoe and a remote. This kit also works with most major camera manufacturers like Canon, Sony, and Nikon.
That can be beneficial if you’re working with multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers or need something that multiple people can use. A photo studio might grab a couple of these to rent out to people using their space that don’t have their own wireless camera trigger, for example.
This wireless camera remote can be programmed for timelapse photography with the included interval timer module, a feature that sets this kit apart from other similar offerings. Timelapses are perfect for astrophotography, night photography, or epic landscape shots.
This remote is a bit pricey at around $80, so if you don’t need something universal try going with a remote trigger specific to your camera brand, as they’re cheaper. Nikon’s basic wireless remote, for example, is less than twenty bucks.
If you’ve got a Nikon or Canon model and don’t mind dropping some extra cash, the CamRanger Mini wireless remote gives you an impressive amount of control over your shot using a smartphone or tablet for $200.
Best Remote Shutter Release
Hahnel Captur Kit
Hahnel has a wireless shutter release kit that’s compatible with most major manufacturers and allows for timelapses.
- ✓ Rugged design
- ✓ High read/write speed during real-world use
- ✗ High price point
- ✗ Lower capacity type B cards might not be as fast
For those with mirrorless cameras that take CFexpress cards, ProGrade Digital’s Cobalt line performs with the best of them. If you’re the kind of person who worries about snapping memory cards in the field, ProGrade’s cards are built with a metal enclosure for extra durability. They’re also resistant to moisture, shocks, x-rays, and temperature changes.
In a real-world performance test by photography website PetaPixel, the Cobalt cards tied for first in a number of benchmark tests, making them a solid all-around choice.
ProGrade makes both type A and type B cards, with the type B cards available in up to 660 GB capacity. If you’re buying type B cards, go for higher-capacity options—the smaller cards are cheaper, but they have slower write speeds.
Best CFexpress Card
- ✓ Great value for the price
- ✓ Among the faster SD cards you can buy
- ✓ 64GB lets you fit a lot on the card without putting all your eggs in one basket
- ✗ Not as fast as newer formats like CFexpress
If you’re shooting one of the myriad cameras that still only takes SD cards but you still need speed, not to worry. SanDisk’s Extreme Pro ultra high speed (UHS) cards have an average write speed of around 60 MB/s, which is perfectly serviceable for burst stills and HD video. Even higher-end DSLRs like Canon’s 5D Mk IV and Nikon’s D850 won’t have a problem with these cards.
64 GB offers a good amount of storage space without cramming your entire shoot onto one card, though you could mitigate that risk by getting two higher-capacity cards and setting your camera to use one as a backup.
SanDisk’s SD cards are also super inexpensive and come from a reliable manufacturer, so both you and your wallet will be happy.
Best SD Card
- ✓ Configurable design lets you wear the strap multiple ways
- ✓ Comfortable and quick-adjusting
- ✓ Not very expensive at around $65
- ✗ Might not be right for someone who wants a leather strap or a bolder aesthetic
Peak Design gets another spot on our list for their Slide camera strap. You can wear it over the neck, or reconfigure it into a sling strap if that’s your preference. Peak Design’s proprietary connectors also make it pretty easy to get the strap on and off your camera body.
The Slide is designed with non-slip grips and cushioning for comfort and comes in a few different neutral colors, so it’ll go with just about anything you’re wearing to that wedding gig or event shoot.
Mirrorless or DSLR, you’ll be able to lug your gear around with one of these—their website says the Slide is capable of supporting up to 200lbs. We really don’t recommend walking around with a whole person on your neck, but hey, you could if you wanted to.