Photography can be a really expensive hobby. So I thought I'd try and counter that a little with a list of 15 super useful photography accessories that you can get for under $25 a piece!
Regardless of the kind of photography you do, these are all handy little gadgets. If you want to skip the list and head right over to grab a few right now, I've put them all in one place for you here.
15 photography accessories under $25
Okay, in no particular order here is my list of the most useful photography accessories you can get for less than $25.
#1 – Lens and camera cleaning kit
Keeping your gear clean is important. It's not just the lens that gets dirty or covered in dust and fingerprints, it's your camera body and lenses themselves too.
So get a cleaning kit that includes a bulb blower, lens clothes, lens wipes, and something to clean the camera as well.
VSGO makes a few different kits like the one above. It even included a few swabs to clean the sensor inside your camera. Another option is one by Altura that includes a lens pen and an all-natural cleaning solution with a refillable bottle.
#2 – Bubble level
If your camera or tripod doesn't have a level you can get one that fits onto the hot shoe (where the flash usually goes) on top of the camera. Get one that has a 3-axis level or gives you a few options.
This set that comes in a pack of four so you can put one on each camera if you have more than one, or share with a friend.
#3 – Step-down rings
These are simply rings that adapt a filter to fit on a smaller diameter lens.
You just need to buy ONE filter to fit onto your largest lens (the one with the biggest filter size, 67mm for example). Then using a step-down ring or rings you can also mount that same filter onto all of your smaller lenses as well.
Some filters can be quite expensive, $200 or more. So being able to just buy one good Neutral Density filter or just one really good polarizer will save you money in the long run.
You can then afford better quality filters, which means better quality images.
#4 – Silica gel packets for your bag
If you live or travel to destinations with high humidity these are a must!
The ones made by Dry & Dry actually change color when they are at saturation so you know when to reactivate (you can do so using the microwave) or replace them.
Throw a couple of silica gel packs into your camera back, or one in each major compartment and they will absorb the moisture.
#5 – Grey cards
I have written about how and when to use a grey card in this article; How to Use a Gray Card for Custom White Balance and Metering
If you already know how to use one, but need to pick one up you have a few choices.
- You can get little tiny pocket-sized grey cards that sometimes even come with a lanyard so you can wear them around your neck. They may be hard to use if you're new to it.
- Or you can get larger ones on card stock in 8×10″ size that are a bit easier to use.
- Lastly, there are handy collapsible ones (they fold up just like a reflector). They usually come in a little pouch with a hook to hang on your camera bag or tripod (see below).
#6 – Rain protection
Unless your camera is waterproof or weather resistant (many in the Fuji line are, which is why I love my Fujis!) you will need something to protect your camera gear and your bag from the elements.
Again you have choices. You can get a fancy one with holes for your arms and a clear area so you can still read the camera controls like the one below. I tried one like this but I found that it was too crunchy and stiff and I found it hard to use. If you've found one you like please let me know in the comments below.
Or you can get one that's like a cape that goes over your camera and tripod.
Honestly, though, I just use the simple throw-away plastic ones (below). I'm not big on single-use plastic, so I may need to rethink that, but they last quite a long time and I can't remember buying a replacement in over five years.
You can even get them for larger lenses or to cover a flash on the hot shoe as well. For the price, they can't be beaten.
#7 – Battery holder
This is an item I didn't know I needed until I had one! My batteries were always all over my bag and I could never remember which pocket they were in, or which ones were charged and which were already used.
Now with the Think Tank DSLR Battery Holder, I put them in face down (contacts down) to indicate they are fully charged and ready to go. Then the expired or empty ones go back in with the contacts facing up.
So when I open the holder I can easily see which are full versus the empty ones, and all my batteries are in one place and not banging around against one another either.
#8 – Memory card holder
If you have more than one memory card, it's a good idea to have a safe place to store them and a system to know which ones are full.
You can go with a hard shell case, or possibly even one that's waterproof (although I can't think of when I'd personally need that feature if you kayak or do adventure photography perhaps it's a good idea). They come in different sizes and capacities, find one that works for you.
The one I use is the Pocket Rocket by Think Tank. They make really great products and it's easy to see why they are so popular – because they are so useful and well thought-out. They come with a belt mount strip and a hook to clip it into your bag or a belt loop so you can't lose it easily.
This is the secure version of the Pocket Rocket and it can hold either 6 CF cards or 12 SD cards or a combination of both. When I have a card that is full I put it back into the pouch with the label face-down. So I know which are the empty ones at a glance.
#9 – UV filters for all your lenses
This one can cause heated debates among photographers, but it is my recommendation that you put a UV filter on each of your lenses. It will protect it from dust, fingerprints and even impact. I can personally attest to that!
My Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (before I was a Fuji photographer I shot Canon) tried to fly one day and failed miserably. It landed on concrete pavement and I heard and saw glass break, and my heart sank. But as checked it over, I realized that only the filter had broken and it had taken most of the impact and saved my $1600 lens!
So to those who argue that adding a $20 filter ruins image quality I have two things to say.
- If you're that concerned about it then spend more on your UV filter like $100 or more and get a high-quality multi-coated one!
- Take it off if you're shooting at f/8 or smaller aperture. Otherwise, if the lens is fairly wide opened any flaws on the filter will NOT appear in the image nor will it corrupt the image quality. BUT a busted up front lens element will! OR one that's been literally sandblasted full of divets (just go to the beach anywhere and that will happen). I don't know about you, but I'd rather replace the filter than the whole lens!
To find the filter size for your lens just look inside the back the lens cap and get that size for that lens. Rinse and repeat for all of them. B+W is a good well-made brand and ProMaster makes some reasonably priced ones as well (get their multi-coated ones if you can swing it)
#10 – Bulb blower or air blaster
A bulb blower is handy for blowing dust and sand off the front of your lens, and off of the camera body. Keep that dust from going inside your camera when you change lenses!
If you didn't already get one of these in your cleaning kit, get one.
Giottos is the go-to brand for this item.
And in a pinch, you can use it to give yourself a little air if it's hot outside (think India hot!) so it's doubly useful!
#11 – Filter wrench
Here's another item that you may not need until you really need it! If you've got a filter that is on so tight you can't get it off, a filter wrench is the answer!
One filter wrench will help get one filter off your lens, two wrenches will help you separate two filters that are stuck together.
#12 – Lens cap keeper of clip
If you're prone to losing lens caps, this is another must-have item for you. You can get straps that have an elastic loop to hang the cap from your lens. Or there are more sophisticated options that clip the lens cap to your camera or backpack strap.
Either way, they'll save you from losing your lens cap.
Me, I just leave my cap in my bag and it's off most of the time (because I know my UV filter is protecting the front element!).
#13 – A zoomable, rechargeable LED flashlight
You may argue that a flashlight is not a photography accessory, but I will wholeheartedly disagree.
Photography is all about light, right? So wouldn't it be handy to have a small portable light source in your bag or pocket? I can't count the number of times I have used a flashlight to either find something in my bag, do light painting at night, or just add a little bit of light to my scene.
I recently picked up two inexpensive LED flashlights when I was in Hong Kong. They are USB rechargeable, have several brightness settings, and are also zoomable. Those are some features to look for when you buy a flashlight, see the one below that is no bigger than a cell phone.
#14 – Colored gels for your speedlight (flash) or flashlight
If you are doing any light painting or just want to play around with colors and light, colored gels are a fun accessory to have in your bag.
Put the color of your choice over the speedlight or flashlight and experiment!
#15 – A reflector
Every photographer should have a reflector! They are not just for doing portraits you can use a reflector to add light to a floral photo, macro shot, and more. You can even use it as a background in a pinch.
Get a foldable one that offers 5-in-1, in the biggest size you can afford – 42″ is great. That means it has a cover that's reversible and has white, silver, gold, and black surfaces as well as a translucent option if you remove the cover.
You can also find triangular-shaped reflectors with a handle which are very handy if you're trying to hold it yourself and shoot!
Time to go shopping?
So how was my list? Find any goodies you're going to rush out and get right away?
If so, you can find ALL of the items mentioned in this article compiled for you all together in one place – just click here or on the image below.
Or did I miss your favorite accessory? Tell me in the comments below if you have one that I missed. Why do you love it?