Must have accessories for photographers is a list that varies, depending on who’s putting it together, but this is ours. A, WTSDN, tried and tested selection of gifts for photographers to suit every budget:
Bits For The Camera Accessory Bag | by Darrin Henry
Buying gifts for photography lovers can be worrying, for a few reasons – camera equipment and accessories for photography are often expensive and different brands aren’t always compatible. Canon camera accessories are obviously very different to Nikon accessories and not something you want to get wrong. Photographers are also ‘particular’ over what kit they need (or think they need).
But worry no more, help is here! Presents for photographers as birthday or Christmas gifts or just cool gift ideas for any occasion in the year, are actually quite easy. Photography accessories are plentiful and cover the full range of prices.
Why We Have Confidence In These Gadgets
The biggest photography shop we use is Amazon UK, online.
All of the camera gadgets and photography gear we’ve listed and recommended here, is equipment or accessories we own and use ourselves, so we have working knowledge and confidence in these suggestions.
Best thing about most of these gift ideas is they work just as well for the professional photographer as the hobby enthusiast.
Good camera accessories are also something for the long-term. Our Pod bean bag, for instance, bought in 2008 has lived in our camera bag ever since and is still in perfect condition. It works on virtually all cameras, including compacts, Canon or Nikon (or any other brand) and it’s tough and lightweight. It’s quite simply one of the best value photography gadgets we’ve ever bought.
Gift Ideas For Every Budget
Good value, or low cost creative gift ideas is the theme of the items listed here, although, there are one or two higher value, slightly more professional photography equipment recommendations. The Gitzo GT1545T carbon fibre travel tripod, is aimed at very serious shutter-bugs. But again, it’s photography kit we own and use and can confidently recommend.
Each recommendation is linked to the actual product on Amazon UK and shows the current, live price. Click to reveal descriptions and availability.
Hoya 77mm Pro-1 Digital UV Screw in Filter
Reasons People Buy UV Filters
An Ultra Violet or UV filter is one the most useful camera attachments you can buy.
Hoya filters we can confidently recommend as they’ve been our Canon lens filters of choice for UV since the beginning. Of course, the Hoya UV filter is designed to fit all lenses as long as the screw thread matches, so they are as much Nikon filters as they are Canon, or any other brand.
A Hoya Pro1 Digital Filter screws onto the front of the camera lens. Originally, in the days of film cameras, this piece of photo equipment helped improve picture quality.
The digital camera handles UV light much better so the filter is no longer as necessary for that purpose.
However, the UV lens filter is now priceless as a first line of defence against dust or scratches on much more expensive camera lenses. We use them on all our lenses and yes, they have prevented damage to our precious glass.
How Much Do You Value Your Lens?
Think of UV filters for DSLR cameras as low cost shields for expensive lenses.
We’ve always used Hoya lens filters which we’ve found to be high quality and do not cause any noticeable degradation of the pictures. I’ve actually seen other people’s lenses that have suffered damage which might well have been prevented if a UV filter had been fitted.
For me, a UV filter is a permanent member of my camera filter kit bag. I only take them off the lens if I need to use a different filter, such as a polariser or ND filter.
77mm HOYA PRO1 Digital Filter Circular Polarizer PL DMC Filter
The polarizing filter is one of the must have accessories for photographers taking pictures near the sea, lakes or large bodies of water.
A circular polarizer filter that screws onto the front of a lens is the most common, also referred to as a cpl filter sometimes.
For us at WTSDN, the best polarizing filter is the HOYA PRO1 Digital Filter Circular Polarizer which we’ve used for years. Great build quality and reliable, what more do we need?
Why Photographers Use Polarizing Filters
Camera lens filters alter light as it enters the lens, normally to compensate for particular conditions, or to introduce a creative effect. Photographing reflective surfaces such as glass or water, the Hoya polarizing filter reduces glare and reflections while enhancing contrast. This helps to overcome washed out looking images.
When shooting coastal scenes, our Hoya 77mm polarizing filter helps the camera see the rocks, sand and the rich colours beneath the surface of the sea. It’s one of the creative camera lens accessories that can transform ordinary pictures, when used right.
Transform The Sky
The polarized lens filter can also be effective for injecting interesting contrast into an otherwise ordinary sky, bringing quite a moody feel to landscape photography.
Our own Hoya circular polarizer lives permanently in the camera bag. You just never know when it’s going to come in handy.
Of course, when buying circular polarizers or photography filters of any kind, make sure choose the correct thread to fit your lens. You can usually find this information printed on the circular casing around the front of the lens.
CamKix Professional Camera Cleaning kit
Basic photography supplies that work on all brands or camera types are extremely useful.
However, I’m always surprised at how many photography enthusiasts who don’t carry lens cleaning kits. It’s one of the most useful and easiest gift ideas for photographers everywhere, and generally low cost.
A dirty lens will ruin pictures when the sun is low and you’re shooting into the light. It can make focusing difficult in poor conditions. And of course, a build-up of dirt particles could cause tiny scratches on the lens. And to think, all of this is so easily avoided.
Think of cleaning camera lenses like washing your hands. It should be routine for keeping your expensive equipment healthy.
You can’t go wrong with this CamKix Professional Camera Cleaning kit; its suitable whether you use a compact, a GoPro or a DSLR with a bag full of lenses. You can even use this on your camera phone lens. This little package is brilliant. It includes the following:
- 5 x microfiber cleaning cloths
- 1 x air blower
- 1 x booklet of 50 sheets of lens tissue
- 1 x bottle alcohol free optical lens cleaning fluid
- 1 x double sided lens cleaning pen
- 1 x lens brush
I particularly like the powerful air blower in this kit, an upgrade from the little puffers of old. It is useful for removing particles of dust/dirt from the lens, camera or sensor, delivering a strong jet of clean air.
Great Gift Ideas For Photographers – POD bean bag
Another great photography gift idea for any enthusiast, the Pod Bean Bag, which works on virtually all cameras.
This is one of those must have gadgets for me.
Attach the bean bag in 5 seconds, then perch the camera on all sorts of places; open car windows, tops of railings, fence posts, against lamp posts… endless possibilities. Honestly, this is one of the best photography accessories you can have.
The standard 1/4” screw fits the standard tripod attachment under virtually all cameras, from small compacts to large DSLRs.
We use our own bean bag regularly on both cameras.
A Quick Way To Keep The Camera Steady
The Pod bean bag helps keep your camera steady on any surface so you can shoot with a slow shutter speed. Incredibly useful when you don’t have a tripod or you’re not allowed to use one (e.g. in museums) but you still need that camera really steady.
With the DSLR we use it mostly to help stabilise the shot when hand-holding, by bracing it on a solid surface or object. Using it with the compact we often set it up for timer selfies, as the bean bag becomes a little platform that works on uneven surfaces.
Below is our own bean bag in the pictures, more than 10 years old now, but it is always, always in our camera backpack. We never leave home without it.
Neewer Camera Wired Timer Remote Control
Creative photography options are the name of the game when it comes to the Neewer Wired Timer.
These DSLR camera gadgets allow amazing time-lapse photographs or videos to be created, using still images.
Examples of What The Neewer Timer Can Do
One of the many occasions we used ours was shooting a lightning storm on St Helena. The Neewer Wired Timer allowed us to take a continuous series of 30 sec exposures, over an hour time period.
Basically you set the Neewer timer for the number of images you want to capture, set the interval time between each shot, press the start button and away you go. Easy-peasy.
Note, if purchasing this item make sure you select the version listed for your camera model.
Working in one second increments, delays, exposure times and intervals up to 99 hours, 59 mins, 59 secs can be easily set from the LCD menus. The control this device offers is superb.
Neewer Remote Control for Canon Cameras
A short cable connects to the camera. This Neewer model works with Canon EOS 7D, 5D Series, 1D 6D 50D 40D 30D 20D 10D.
Neewer Remote Control for Nikon Cameras
There is a different Neewer Remote Control for Nikon cameras: D7100 D7000 D5300 D5100 D5000 D3300 D3200 D3100 D610 D600 D90 DF DSLR Cameras.
Time-Lapse Video & Stills with the Neewer Remote Control
Check out our behind the scenes time-lapse video segment in Jodi Wade’s beauty shoot, which was created using a series of still images taken via the Neewer Remote Control.
This time-lapse, still image, below, is another example of what the Neewer timer can do.
Must Have Accessories For Photographers
Canon RC-06 Infra-red remote control
I think of this as the DSLR equivalent of a selfie stick, only better! Low-cost photography gift ideas and DSLR gadgets don’t get much better.
Canon DSLR accessories like the RC-06 Infra-red remote control are great because they are so light and small yet very, very useful.
This tiny device falls under the category of fun camera accessories for sure. It allows you to set up your camera on a tripod, move into position in front, then press the button remotely when you’re ready.
Sharon and I find this infra-red remote very useful, especially photographing hiking blog posts when we both need to be in the shot. It’s definitely one of the must have accessories for photographers who document themselves in this way.
It’s also perfect for night photography and other long exposure work when you don’t want to risk shaking the camera when pressing the shutter button – just use the remote.
Remote Controls for Canon and Nikon
Unsurprisingly, the range of Nikon camera accessories include an infra-red remote control.
As Canon users, we’ve not used the Nikon version ourselves, but it seems to have good reviews on Amazon which you can see after clicking the link.
Digital Photographer’s Handbook: 6th Edition
Despite the glut of information online, one of the best gifts for photographers you could ever give, is a good digital photography book.
The Digital Photographer’s Handbook by Tom Ang is another of our must have photography accessories that gets a top recommendation.
We currently own the 6th edition, but we’ve bought different releases of this book as it’s been updated over the years, as it is that good. Seriously.
What’s Inside The Book?
Superbly written and illustrated to be useful to all levels of photographers. The explanations and guides are jargon-free and very effective. There are inspirational project ideas and tips on taking your photography to another level.
The book’s 400 plus pages are divided into comprehensive sections:
- Photography Core Skills
- Photography Projects
- Image Development
- Showing and Sharing
- Photography Buying Guide
- Going Further
I’m always reading this book and every time I open it I seem to find new inspiration.
A rock solid addition to this must have accessories for photographers list.
Camera Lens Mug with Stainless Steel Insert
Gift ideas for friends who love photography don’t come much cooler than a camera lens mug. I know, I have two and use them all the time.
The surprising thing with these mugs is the replica detail.
Modern day photographers spend hours and hours at the computer, editing pictures, and for most of us that means a mug of tea or coffee is often the fuel that keeps us going. A photography lens mug is perfect for this.
Canon photographers especially (like me) will appreciate this camera lens mug. I should stress, it’s not actually a Canon product, but the black and red look ties in very closely with our kit.
Camera Lens Cup Stainless Steel Insulated Desk Mug
Another style of the photographers’ camera lens coffee mug.
Again, not an actual brand product, but this design much more likely to be appreciated by Nikon users as the colour scheme and design is similar to that equipment.
I love these fun gifts for photographers as they work for everyone, from the absolute beginner to the absolute professional. It’s very hard not to appreciate one of these mugs.
Gitzo GT1545T Series 1, 4 Sections Carbon Traveler Tripod
One of the most important travel accessories for photography is a good tripod, and for me this is the ultimate.
Ok, so this Gitzo isn’t exactly a low-cost item, but, if you have the budget or have long-term plans for travel photography, I really recommend considering one of these.
We’ve used a carbon fibre, Gitzo since 2015, and it’s simply the bee’s knees of travel tripods, far as I’m concerned.
Stable, lightweight and a high quality finish, it looks great. Folds up nice and compact for packing, extends and locks quickly when needed.
Bailsy Camera Strap Bohemia for All DSLRs
Two main reasons I use this camera strap – security and comfort.
When travelling, or just out and about, I really like the ‘low-profile’ element of this Bailsy Camera Strap. When I have the camera hanging low off my neck, the strap doesn’t advertise what I’m carrying. It’s a small detail, but it makes a big difference for me.
And it’s a lot more comfortable, I’ve found, than the leather straps. The high-quality pure cotton webbing doesn’t rub on the skin or make me sweaty when it’s hot.
This strap is another of those cheap gift ideas for photographers which is very practical and works with virtually all cameras.
SanDisk Ultra SDHC Memory Card Up to 80 MB/s, 32 GB
DSLR camera accessories like the SD memory storage card, is a vital piece of kit. Having spare or extra storage capacity for big events or travel trips is important.
You can’t go wrong with this SanDisk Ultra SDHC Memory Card. Lightweight, tough and reliable.
It also makes a perfect stocking-filler that will please any photographer with an SD memory camera.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – 10 Colorful Cloths and 2 White ECO-FUSED Cloths
For any camera accessory kit this little pack of 10 cleaning cloths is a great-value, maintenance item.
We tend to use the same cloth for 1-3 months (depending on what we’re up to) and then replace it for a new one. (The old cloth comes in handy as a general cleaning rag afterwards.)
These microfiber cloths can also be used for glasses, computer/laptop screens and the full range of mobile phones and devices.
Lee Filters Big Stopper Glass Filter Neutral-Density
One of the best camera accessories for landscape photography are the Lee series of Neutral Density Filters (ND). The Lee Big Stopper is probably one of most popular in use today.
Lee filters are aimed at professional photographers or those passionate about making the best pictures possible.
The Long Exposure Tool
Smooth waterfalls and dreamy cloudscapes are possible with a good ND filter.
We use the Lee Big Stopper Neutral Density Filter for its ability to increase exposure times by 10 stops.
This Lee 10 stop ND filter means a shutter speed of, say, 1/125 second can be reduced to 8 seconds. It gives the creative photographer a whole new set of possibilities.
After frustrating experience with certain other brands, we invested in a Lee filter kit and instantly the results were fantastic. The Lee 100mm filters (the square system) is superb. The quality is excellent, it’s quick and easy to use and is now one of the photography items we seldom leave home without.
Note: you will need an adapter ring to fit your lens thread, plus the holder (see below) to complete your Lee Big Stopper kit which is sold separately, but is a one-time purchase. The ring and holder then work for other filters.
LEE Filters 100mm System Foundation Kit
Very important – if you’re buying your first Lee filter set and it’s the Lee 100mm square filter system, you will need the Lee filter holder or the Foundation Kit. This is not optional. You need it to mount the filters onto the lens.
The Foundation Kit attaches quickly and easily to the lens via the Lee filter adapter ring (see below) which is sold separately. Once the Lee 100mm filter holder is attached to the lens, the square filters can be slid in and out as required.
The Foundation Kit is designed to be one of those DSLR attachments that is compatible with virtually all camera lenses. The main holder has a dual-slot to accept one or two filters. A third slot can be added if required, this is included in the Kit, along with a fixing screwdriver.
Just remember, this is a one-off purchase. It works with all Lee 100mm filters including the Lee Little Stopper, the Lee Big Stopper filter and the Lee Super Stopper.
The Foundation Kit comes with a Lee filter pouch which is helpful.
Lee Filters Wide-Angle Adapter Ring 77 mm Diameter
This is the 77mm Lee filter holder adapter ring required for the 100mm Lee Foundation kit, listed above. Of course, you would choose the thread size to match your lens, the 77mm is only listed here as it’s the size we have.
This is one of the camera items with a specific fit detail. Make sure you choose the correct ring thread size to fit your lens.
Lee Super Stopper for 100mm System
The Lee Super Stopper Filter offers increased exposure by an incredible 15 stops.
It’s one of the best DSLR accessories for creative photography, in my opinion and also the best ND filter for bright conditions.
Super Long Times with the Super Stopper
The Lee 100mm super stopper is aimed at the professional photographer or those passionate about capturing creative landscape pictures. It’s the smooth water filter.
Soft waterfalls and wonderful cloudscapes with this 15 stop ND filter are a piece of cake. As one example, a 1/500 sec shutter speed is reduced to 1 minute with the Lee Super Stopper in place.
Make no mistake, this Lee ND filter is very different to the 10 stop filter that is the Lee Big Stopper. Those five extra stops on the Lee Super Stopper offer some serious exposure times.
I tried certain other brands before Lee and was always frustrated with colour casts. Once we made the plunge to invest in a Lee ND filter kit the improvement in results were instant. The Lee 100mm filters (the square system) is superb. The build quality is excellent, it’s quick and easy to use and is now one of the photography items we seldom leave home without.
Note: you will need an adapter ring to fit your lens thread, plus the holder (both listed above) to complete your Lee Super Stopper kit which is sold separately, but is a one-time purchase. The ring and holder then work for other filters.
59ml Photographic Solutions Eclipse Lens and CCD Optic Cleaning Fluid
We’ve been using this product for about five years now. It’s simply one of the highest quality lens cleaning fluids you can buy from the photo equipment store.
Photographic Solutions Eclipse Lens and CCD Optic Cleaning Fluid dries quickly leaving absolutely no residue. It is also suitable for cleaning DSLR sensors if used with PEC PAD wipes, although this is not something you should attempt unless you’re confident you know what you’re doing.
Take Our 7-Day Photography Challenge
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found a few useful accessories to think about purchasing.
As a fellow photographer, you may also enjoy having a go at our 7-Day Challenge, a no-pressure set of 7 exercises to do at home to improve your own photography. We designed this series after completing three Project 365 Challenges and realised how setting a daily target can really improve a photographer’s skills.
Our 7-Day Challenge is a Free Download which you can then save to your laptop or phone for later reference. Good luck, let us know how you get on.