What Are the Best Accessories to Get for DSLR Photography?

Contrary to what you might hear from dedicated smartphone photographers, DSLR photography is far from dead. In fact, more DSLRs are being sold now than in recent history. This surge may be due to a combination of elements including interest in photography spawned from the smartphone market and dropping prices on entry-level DSLRs.

No matter what your reason for checking out this article, the benefits of having the right accessories at your side are clear. You can add a little something to your images, or at the very least set yourself up to make the most out of your camera.

Camera Bag/Case

I recently had an exchange with Richard Cummings, a self-proclaimed adventurer with 30 years of photographic experience, including shooting in war zones. He shared his thoughts on recommended accessories: “One thing anybody needs is a good case for your equipment,” he continued, “I used to use a hard case all the time, but the soft cases have gotten so much better over the years. Today’s cameras are really pretty tough; you can find YouTube videos of people abusing cameras on purpose and they still take pictures after some amazing abuse.”

A good bag can indeed make the difference between a working and broken camera during a trip. I’ve written before about my personal favorite choice in camera bags, and believe that the most important thing in which you could invest to improve your long-term DSLR experience is a bag that offers protection. Find one that meets your needs and suits your taste. It’ll probably be with you every time you head out on an adventure.

Lights / Flash

Best DSLR AccessoriesBuying some good external lighting can be a worthwhile investment for almost any photographer. Whether you’re investing in umbrella lights for a controlled studio environment or a flash that attaches by way of the camera’s hot shoe, it’s never a bad idea to put yourself in the position to have the best lighting possible for your shot. DSLRs usually have their own flash, but these are often terribly underpowered and can give your subject an uneven tone at various angles.

A good, diffused flash that covers your subject in even light will make a big difference in the quality of your photos. Set lighting such as umbrellas and light boxes can reduce the presence of shadows and give you the best shot out of the camera.

Tripod / Monopod

Never underestimate the value of a good tripod. Not every lens has built-in image stabilization, and that feature does little to improve long-exposure night shots. You want your photos to be as free of motion blur as possible, unless your subject is moving rapidly and you intend to convey that in the picture. Motion blur can ruin an otherwise incredible shot, and doing something as simple as putting your camera on a monopod can reduce this issue significantly.

A good tripod will cost money. Cheap tripods are notorious for being difficult to handle, prone to breaking in the field, and heavy. You would ideally want a tripod with a smooth camera arm, rugged design, and a weight that won’t give you a backache early into the day. Carbon fiber tripods may be a pricey, but the strength and light weight will more than make up for the initial cost.

Lenses / Filters

Kit lenses (lenses included with the camera) are typically made to give you a well-rounded shooting experience to help you get the most out of your camera body. Unfortunately, these lenses lack in a number of areas. You might want a 50 mm lens for more natural shots or a telephoto lens that lets you get up close to your subject without having to physically step into their personal space.

Some lenses are faster than others, and image quality varies widely between standard and professional-grade options. You can find some decent lenses for around $100 that will dramatically change how your images look. A good fixed lens will make you think a little more about your shots, and add a little extra depth to a photo that might otherwise be lost in a zoomed kit lens.

Polarizing filters can reduce glare and give your photos more vivid color straight from the camera. They can also protect your lens from accidental damage.

No matter what accessories you decide to pick up for your DSLR camera, remember that the most important tool is your own imagination. Take a look at a scene and think about how you can tell a story with an image. Experiment with your camera and break all the rules of photography as often as possible.

Digital Camera And Flash by Petr Kratochvil

5 comments On What Are the Best Accessories to Get for DSLR Photography?

  • You have to have a battery grip, this gives you better handling on the camera.

    • That’s a good one, albeit a bit more practical for the professional photographer. Amateurs rarely burn through enough battery power in a typical outing to warrant such a beefy addition. Unfortunately, not everything could fit the list. I could also have included: lens hoods, camera straps, light sensors, remotes, steadicam, etc.

    • I love my battery grip. The extra battery power always come in handed. I also like the weight it adds. Some photographer prefer a DSLR without the grip because of the weight. A more expensive option is a DSLR with a full size body (grip included).

  • Nice list. You didn’t cover a remote release, its a cheap little accessory that is worth its weight in gold.

  • Nice post!
    I can talk photography and photography gear for days. Everything you’ve listed above, I’ve had my own personal learning experiences with. Each of these component are valuable to making great photographs. Keep the discussion going? If you like I can talk more about what I’ve experienced.

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