7 Must-Have DSLR Camera Accessories to Buy to Improve Your Photos
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Woohoo! You purchased your very own DSLR camera. *High five!* Now that you have your camera, it's time to consider what accessories you need to make that camera work for you. Of course, there are a million different DSLR accessories out there (can you say overwhelming?). Nothing like making it easy for you, right? It can be so confusing trying to determine what is a “must-have” vs. what may be fun to have, but is not vital.
So let's narrow it down! Below are 7 items that I believe are essential to getting the most out of your new DSLR:
Memory cards are vital to using your camera, but having extra is also important. As much as we would love to think that our memory cards will a.) never fill up and cause us to miss a moment trying to delete old photos quickly, or b.) fail on us, both things are possible and happen all the time. Oftentimes you can find memory cards in packs, which can help you save some money when purchasing multiple. Having a few cards will be very beneficial as you take tons of photos practicing with your new camera.
The size of your memory card is based on use and personal preference. I choose 64 GB so I can fit more images on one card, but some choose to buy smaller cards so as to not risk losing a larger quantity of photos if the card fails. There is no right or wrong answer to the size that you prefer to use, but regardless of size, I recommend making sure your SD card is fast. Look for a circled "10" on your memory card. That means that card records fast so you can shoot and store multiple images quickly.
Memory Card Case
Once you have your memory cards (plural, because you are prepared!), it is important to keep them safe and protected. While memory cards themselves are not all that expensive, their contents are priceless. A good memory card case is essential. I personally have always gone for the hard cases, such as the one below. They are waterproof and I am just more comfortable with a hard case. However, there are many soft cases that work just as well.
I can't emphasize enough the importance of taking care of your memory cards. While you want to have a case to keep all of your cards protected, try to keep them in camera as much as possible. When transferring images to your computer, it is best to plug your camera directly into your computer. This will reduce the amount of friction to which your memory cards are exposed.
A good-quality camera bag is crucial to keeping your camera safe and keeping you stylish (okay, maybe not the second one, but there are plenty of stylish bag options available if that’s your thing!). You want to make sure you have a place to carry and store your camera that will protect your gear and make it easier for you to bring it with you.
There are a lot of things to think about when browsing for a camera bag: how much equipment do you plan on carrying? Where will you be taking your equipment? Do you want to have room to store a laptop or tablet? How comfortable will carrying the bag be after 8-hours of travelling? Think about what your plans are with your DSLR and that should help your decision. Whether it be a backpack or cross-body or any of the other options available for bag types, make sure it will work for what you plan to use it for most.
It’s always great to carry a spare battery for your camera so that you never miss a beat. When I first started practicing with my DSLR, I would shoot a lot, which is great! That’s exactly what you should do when practicing. But all of that shooting would tend to drain my battery pretty quick. It’s nice to have an extra for when you are out and can’t a.) find an outlet or b.) stop in general to charge your battery back up.
Lens Cleaning Tool
A spot on your lens? The worst! And bad news for your photos. It is very important to keep that lens squeaky clean at all times. As much as we'd like to believe that kids have clean little hands that will never touch your camera's lens, or that you won’t accidentally swipe your own hand across it, that's just not real life. In my case, we’ve learned that our dog isn’t afraid of licking a lens either (*eye roll*). I personally love the LensPen as a compact cleaning option that fits easily into your camera bag. A good microfiber cloth is another great item to have on your end to quickly wipe down your lens.
A tripod is important to have on hand for many reasons. First, if you are wanting to take a particular photo and your setting won’t allow for a fast enough shutter speed, a tripod will help keep your camera steady. You don’t have to worry about “camera shake” while holding your camera in your hands. Second, a tripod is essential for getting yourself in the frame! You can set up your camera, get all of your settings and focus programmed, and actually be in the photo! Your kids are going to want photos of you with them, so take advantage and jump in the photo. You will not regret it, I promise.
Remote Shutter Release
A remote shutter release is also essential to get yourself in the frame! This tool allows you to get in your photos without having to set up a timer and rush before the shutter releases. This tool allows you to “push the shutter button” while being in front of the camera. There are many different versions and price points for these, but a basic one like below will be perfect when taking pictures with your family. Make sure when you pick a remote shutter release that it is compatible with your camera type. Many, such as the below, are specific to a particular camera brand.
You’ve got your camera in hand and your accessories in tow: you are ready to start documenting your real life through photography! Comment below if you have another DSLR camera accessory that you think should be on the “must-have” list!
Haven’t purchased your DSLR camera yet and not sure where to start? Check out my guide to purchasing your first DSLR camera here.