Have you bought a new DSLR camera, you know that you should be investing in some accessories but you’re just not sure where to start? In my recent blog I shared with you 4 essential camera accessories that you simply can’t live without. If you’ve just bought your first DSLR these are the 4 things that you absolutely need in your life so you can take photos, protect your camera and ensure it stays in tip-top condition. I recommend you buy them right away.
There are another 5 accessories that will really make your photography journey a whole lot easier. Whether you want to take photos of your kids or fancy trying your hand at landscape photography, there is at least one thing on this list suitable for any type of photographer that will help you right now. Read on and I’ll share with you what they are and why they’ll make a big difference to your photography life.
5 camera accessories that will transform your photography life
1. Spare camera battery
Picture the scene…… the sun is setting, on the spur of the moment you grab your camera and run out of your house, there’s beautiful golden light in the air, you’re taking photos of your kids, a boat going out to sea or your dogs playing on the beach, you press the shutter button and nothing happens. Your battery is dead, you can’t take any more photos, that chance is gone. Or is it?
You reach into your camera bag, find a new battery charged up ready to go, put it in your camera and suddenly the world becomes a much happier place. As much as you have good intentions, sometimes you will forget to charge up your camera battery and there’s nothing worse than being in a beautiful place and not being able to take photos. It really does pay to buy a spare camera battery that you can keep in your camera bag. When one runs out of charge you simply swap it for the spare and charge up the empty one as soon as you’re home. Make sure that you buy a battery that is suitable for your camera model. Some batteries will fit many camera models in the same brand but it’s always best to check.
I use the Canon LP E6N Rechargeable Battery for my Canon 6D and Canon 60D cameras.
Buy the Canon LP E6N Rechargeable Battery on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2x4r5aD
2. Camera Strap
Do you like to take photos outside? Do you find yourself out taking photos for hours at a time? Or perhaps street photography is your thing and you want to have easier access to your camera? If so, a camera strap may be just the thing you’re looking for to keep your camera nice and snug right next to your body. Sure, the camera strap that is bundled in with your camera is great for a bit of security around your neck, but if you’re often outdoors for long periods of time, you might want to buy a quick-draw sling strap that you can wear across your body giving you fast access to your camera.
Here’s a couple of camera straps I recommend:
Joby UltraFit Sling Camera Strap
I use the Joby UltraFit Sling Camera Strap for Women when I’m hill-walking. It screws into the tripod thread on the bottom of the camera and it just feels so much more secure than the standard strap. I can use my camera quickly without it getting caught on my clothes and you could too.
Buy the Joby UltraFit Sling Camera Strap for Women on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2yvOLq5
Buy the Joby UltraFit Sling Camera Strap for Men on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2yxYBI5
Black Rapid Yeti Dual Camera Sling Strap
When I’m shooting weddings and need to carry two cameras the Black Rapid Yeti Dual Camera Sling Strap works a treat!
Buy the Black Rapid Yeti Dual Camera Sling Strap on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2gtqgVZ
In my Photography for Beginners tuition I teach my clients all they need to know to make sure their photos are sharp and one thing you need to do is make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze movement.
But what about those times you deliberately want to have movement blurred in your photos? Perhaps you’re photographing the sunset and want to capture the movement of the water or maybe you’re photographing the stars at night and know that you need to have a long exposure of several seconds? Try to hold your camera steady and take a photo for a couple of seconds and I can guarantee you, your photo won’t be sharp. If you have to use any shutter speed longer than 1/60th of a second I’d recommend you invest in a tripod.
Each tripod will have a guide which indicates the maximum weight it can handle so as a first step it’s a good idea to note the weight of your heaviest camera and lens combination when looking for a tripod. If you do a lot of walking you might want to opt for a carbon fibre tripod as it’s far lighter than traditional materials while still being able to keep your camera steady. Foam legs really help stop your hands getting cold if you’re carrying your tripod for any length of time in the winter, as do gloves!
You can also buy tripod legs and heads separately or buy them both together. Some will have spirit levels built into the legs and heads so you can make sure your camera is level with the horizon. Some tripods can be altered so they can be used as a monopod too. There are lots of options out there from weight to height to material and price so do your research and find one that works for you.
Here’s a couple of tripods I recommend:
Benro IT15 Tripod Kit
Buy the Benro IT15 Tripod Kit on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2x5vTMS
Manfrotto Befree Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod with Ball Head
Buy the Manfrotto Befree Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod with Ball Head on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2giVgUH
4. Wireless remote control
If you decide to invest in a tripod the next natural stop is to also buy a wireless remote control. If you want to take a selfie or also be in a group photo then this will stop you having to put the timer on and count to ten but better than that, it’s an amazing tool for when you’re doing landscape photography or photographing the night sky.
I use a Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Remote Control but there are others available too. The transmitter is attached to the flash hot shoe on the camera and plugged in to the camera via a lead. You can then use the remote control to trigger the shutter.
What I love about this device is it helps keep my photos as sharp as possible and I can take long exposures without having to touch the camera. Once I have my aperture selected and my manual focus spot on, I set a 2 second delay and can then expose as long as I want without risking any unwanted movement in my shot that might be caused by me touching the camera. You can also set it to do a timed shooting sequence so if you want to shoot a time-lapse of the night sky you could set the camera up in your garden and watch from the comfort of your lovely warm living room (although it’s best to keep away from light pollution for photography at night but you get the idea).
There are different options available for various camera brands so be sure to buy the right one for your camera. If you buy any other model, be sure to check out the range of the transmitter as in my view it defeats the purpose of using one if you have to stand right next to it.
Buy the Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Remote Control on Amazon (for Canon): https://amzn.to/2giXnb5
Buy the Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Remote Control on Amazon (for Nikon): https://amzn.to/2gkOvC0
Buy the Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Remote Control on Amazon (for Sony): https://amzn.to/2gOhyP0
5. Photo editing software
Once you’ve taken your photos the story doesn’t stop there, that’s just half the fun! You’ll hear many people say that they have no interest in editing photos and if you’ve mumbled those words too there’s no shame in it. Editing isn’t for everyone. But for those that are willing to embrace it you can really unleash your creative side. You’ll usually find free editing software included when you buy DSLR cameras now but if you want to step things up a gear there are paid options too.
Personally I use Lightroom CC as part of Adobe Creative Cloud and have used Lightroom for over 5 years. This is ideal for people that want a complete work-flow for their editing system as with Lightroom you can change the names of your files when you import them into the catalogue and onto your computer in one fell swoop. You can then add keywords to make your photos so easy to find in the catalogue and you can use the develop made to really enhance your images.
Photoshop is also available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and allows you to do more complex editing, such as combining features from multiple images. It’s really a personal choice which one is right for you.
Over to you
What’s the one thing that’s made a big difference to your photography life? I’d love to hear from you and sure this will help my readers too!
Once you’ve bought your new camera you might want to learn how to go from auto to manual in just half a day. Please read 7 reasons why you should book one-to-one Photography for Beginners tuition.
Do you feel like your camera's not giving you the amazing photos it's supposed to?
Sign up for Start Shooting on Manual, my free 5 part weekly course that will break down the jargon and help you take back control over your camera.