If you’ve bought your first camera and lens and plan to take your growing passion for photography more seriously, chances are you’ve probably read that it’s not about the gear when it comes to making great images. There’s no denying that great photographers have a creative eye and vision, but let’s be clear: it is about the gear. Some images simply can’t be captured without certain types of gear, so in this guide we’ll round up the best accessories for beginner photography to get you started on your journey.
With photography accessories you can easily go down a rabbit hole. There are many clever gadgets and devices, bags and filters and much more that you can spend a pretty penny on and rarely use. But there are some fundamental pieces for every backpack. Such as a backpack!
The best accessories for beginner photography are the essential pieces of kit that allow you to realise your creative vision. They allow you to darken that bright sky when shooting a landscape or shoot at that slow shutter speed you need at twilight.
What should a beginner photographer buy?
In our view, the essential accessories for beginner photographers are a tripod, backpack, strap and memory card. These are the must-haves. With these in hand, you may also find a power bank, external hard drive, rechargeable batteries and memory card holder to be useful additions to your kit bag. These are smaller devices and should easily fit alongside your other essentials.
We’ve broken down our list of the best accessories for beginner photography by product type to help you more easily find the missing pieces for your kit. If you’re using something brilliant that’s not on our list, do let us and all the other readers know in the comments!
The best accessories for beginner photography
There is no shortage of camera accessories out there, but these are our picks for the most essential kit bag additions for those starting out in photography. For a more in-depth look at our recommendations for the wider field of accessories out there, check out our guide to the best camera accessories for photographers.
Best tripods for beginner photography
Beginner photographers probably don’t want to spend (yet) a small fortune on a carbon fibre tripod for long expeditions, but you do need something strong enough to keep your camera still during long exposures. From our tests, the options below are some of the best tripods for beginner photography.
3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0
- Max Height: 1.48m
- Max Height with Docz2: 1.56m
- Min Height: 440mm
- Min Height with Docz2: 500mm
- Folded Length with Docz2: 500mm
- Leg Sections : 5
- Load Capacity: 60kg
- Monopod Weight: 615kg
- Monopod Weight with Docz2: 1.1kg
3 Legged Thing’s Alan 2.0 builds on the design features of the original Alan monopod and provides a fully customisable support solution.
At its heart, Alan 2.0, as with Alan, is a solid monopod, lightweight and ready for action, just like any good monopod should be.
While Alan 2.0 is an all-new model, it can also be seen as a refinement of the original. Tweaks to the design and enhanced manufacturing technology update this already excellent model.
What’s more, with the addition of 3LT accessories such as the DOCZ2 tri foot and Airhed Cine head, you can customise this latest model to suit your needs.
The large rubber handle grip, oversize twist leg locks, and the unique tri-plate make Alan 2.0 a solid choice.
- Compatible with accessories
- Robust build
- It could be a few inches taller
Vanguard VEO 2 Pro
- Maximum payload: 4kg
- Maximum height: 1,460mm
- Minimum height: 17.5cm
- Length folded down: 56cm
- Weight: 1.7kg
- Material: Aluminium
Vanguard’s VEO 2 Pro is a mid-size aluminium tripod with a reversible central column and a low-angle adaptor. The VEO 2 Pro is a nice budget option that is suitable for many different types of photography and even videography.
It supports a max payload of 4kg despite weighing just 1.7kg, and it stretches to a height of 1,460mm with the central column extended and 1,160mm without. Its minimum height is just 17.5cm and can fold down to a length of just 56cm.
Included in the budget price tag is a two-way pan head. Other nice touches about the VEO 2 Pro are removable non-slip feet, an integrated hook for adding extra weight and three leg angles (20, 45 and 80 degrees).
The VEO 2 Pro is light, sturdy, versatile and reasonably priced. For the travelling photographer, this could seriously be the only tripod you’ll need.
Find great deals on the Vanguard VEO 2 Pro at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
- Very light
- Great on uneven ground
- Attractive price tag
- Operating handles on the head feel delicate
Benro Rhino FRHN05CVX20
- Max height: 139.5cm
- Minimum height: 35cm
- Pack down length: 35cm
- Max payload: 10kg
- 360 pan: Yes Dual
- Monopod leg: Yes
- Monopod height: 181.4
- Leg lock type: Twist
- Weight: 1.24kg
- Leg sections: 5
- Materials: Carbon fibre, magnesium alloy
The FRHN06CVX20 is the smallest of the Benro Rhino range of tripods, making it a great choice for travel. The carbon fibre 5-section legs feel well made and extend quickly following a twist of the rubber-coated leg locks.
Sold as a kit, the legs come with Benro’s VX20 ball head which has simple dual-action controls with built-in friction control and a separate pan lock. The head is lightweight and comes with an Arca Swiss compatible release plate.
A sprung hook is provided at the bottom of the centre column to hang a weight to give extra downward force and stability. However, this can be removed to enable to column to be inverted for low-level shooting.
Conveniently, the leg with a short foam covering unscrews and can be attached to the centre column to create a monopod.
- Elegant design
- CNC machined
- Low weight
- No accessory ports
- Spindly lower legs
Vanguard Veo 2s CM-264TBP
- Product type: Monopod
- Leg sections: 4
- Lock type: 1/2 turn twist
- Folded length: 62cm
- Max Length: 172cm
- Max Load: 6kg
- Interchangable head: Yes
- Interchangeable Feet: No
- Weight: 1.3kg
Essentially a monopod with feet, the Vanguard VEO 2s CM-264TBP offers a slimline, high-quality support option for everyday use. It features carbon fibre leg sections and comes as a complete kit.
It’s all solid enough, with a small ball head at the base that gives a little side-to-side movement that can be locked in and out as required.
On top is the compact pan ball head which makes this monopod ideally suited to the usual wildlife and sports genres, as well as being perfectly adaptable for shooting basic video.
The VEO 2s CM-264TBP is a complete product there’s no modular approach which might not suit all, but then this is a product that sets out to provide high quality, easy to use support at a decent price, and that’s exactly what it does.
- Feet offer additional support
- High quality panhandle head
- Arca Swiss base plate
- Limited side-to-side movement from base ball head
- Quite weighty for carbon fibre
Best camera bags for beginner photography
Every photographer needs a camera bag. Even if you keep a limited kit of accessories, you’ll need something to keep your camera and lens safe on your travels. Thankfully there are a number of options according to your needs. Below we’ve selected some of the best camera backpacks and shoulder bags for beginner photographers.
Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack
- Weight: 1.36kg
- Outside Dimensions (cm): 28W x 51H x 20D cm
- Inside Dimensions (cm): 25W x 23H x 13D cm
- Laptop Compartment Dimensions (cm): 25W x 37H x 3D cm
- Capacity: Mirrorless or DSLR camera with 4-6 lenses (up to attached 70-200mm 2.8)
Tenba really knows how to make dedicated camera backpacks, with the company’s DNA range being the perfect fit for the city dweller. The Tenba DNA 16 DSLR style is stylish, functional, and far removed from traditional camera backpacks.
The main camera storage area features an innovative tilt design, ideal for accessing your kit while the bag is perched on a window ledge or wall. Inside there’s space enough for a DSLR or mirrorless with an additional lens and flash.
The upper roll top section features plenty of room for kit or personal belongings and is secured with an innovative magnetic catch that works without fault.
On the back is the laptop slot that offers room for a 16-inch MacBook, although the fit is snug. Despite the Air Flow back design that offers comfort there isn’t much structure so, it’s worth ensuring your laptop is in its protective case.
Comfort-wise it’s best to travel relatively light, the shoulder straps are wide and padded, but the back while padded doesn’t offer a rigid structure and the chest and waist straps are only there for occasional use.
The Tenba DNA 16 DSLR backpack is very well designed and an ideal solution for the urban photographer.
- Great looks
- Protective materials
- Room for a laptop
- Not a huge amount of shoulder strap padding
Vanguard VEO RANGE T 45M
- Product: Camera backpack
- Suitable for: DSLR/larger mirrorless camera, 4-5 lenses (up to 200mm f/2.8), a flash unit, and accessories
- Laptop: 13-inch laptop
- Camer access: Rear and side but can also be set up for top access
- External dimensions: 30 x 19 x 49cm
- Internal dimensions: 28 x 13 x 45cm
- Weight: 1880g
The Vanguard VEO Range T 45M’s style is distinctly military with exterior webbing showing that this backpack means business.
The bag’s design keeps it reassuringly slim, making our medium-sized sample ideal for compact systems cameras and DSLRs alike, alongside a few lenses and accessories of course.
The bag looks on the small side of medium, but that’s just a visual illusion as there’s plenty of space inside for your kit.
Its material quality is the real winner here, the webbing is tough, and matched by a quality choice of fabrics and finish.
- High quality materials
- Plenty of space
- Exterior webbing
- No bottle pocket
Manfrotto Pro Light FastTrack
- Product type: Sling bag and camera strap combined
- External dimension: 24.5 x 14 x 42cm
- Camera insert dimensions: 20 x 10 x 20cm
- Laptop compartment: Yes
- Weight: 0.73Kg
The Pro Light FastTrack is a bit of an oddity on our list of best camera straps, but something so unique we felt compelled to include it.
The Manfrotto Pro Light FastTrack sling bag is, first and foremost, a camera sling bag but it’s the first on the market to feature an integrated camera strap. How it works is, photographers remove their camera from the sling’s main compartment, then pull the sling strap and the camera rises to their hands.
The Pro Light FastTrack sling’s strap features lockable buckles that attach to the strap rings on the sides of your camera. These buckles then clip to the integrated strap on the Pro Light FastTrack sling to prevent the camera from slipping, as well as tangling up with the shoulder strap.
Where the Pro Light FastTrack shines is for travel and city breaks, allowing you to always have your camera at the ready without having to compromise on quality or safety.
- Lightweight but well-made
- Cabin-luggage size (check airline limits)
- A bag that gives very quick access to your camera
- Only holds a camera and a couple of lenses
Tenba Skyline 13 Shoulder Bag
- Outer Dimensions: 13 in. W x 9.25 in. H x 6.75 in.D ( 33 X 23 X 17 cm )
- Interior Dimensions: 11.5 in. W x 8.5 in. H x 5.75 in. D ( 29 X 22 X 15 cm )
- Weight: 2.25 lbs ( 1 kg )
- Real capacity: 1-2 DSLR / Mirrorless / 4-5 Lenses
For light travelling or urban adventures, the Tenba Skyline certainly has appeal. And with its £59 price tag, you really can’t go wrong.
Storage is plentiful for this type of bag, and It’s good looking and feels well put together. The exterior of the bag features water repellent fabrics which in my opinion look fantastic. On the top you will find a carry handle and a long and thin zipped compartment. To the front, there is another zipped compartment, perfect for bigger items – ipad, wallet or filters etc.
Overall, the build quality is fantastic. The Skyline 13 is durable and really well put together. It’s a great camera bag for a beginner that will certainly do the job.
- Good storage capacity
- Great style
- Interior material quality
- Limited velcro on inner dividers
- Limited configuration options
MindShift Gear UltraLight Dual 25L
- Exterior Dimensions: 26 x 49.5 x 17cm / 10.2 x 19.5 x 6.7-inches
- Camera Compartment Dimensions: 23 x 19 x 13cm / 9.1 x 7.5 x 5.1-inches
- Weight: 1.3Kg / 2.8Lbs
- Volume: 25L
If you like the sound of the MindShift Gear UltraLight Dual 36L but you’re looking for something a little smaller, take a look at the MindShift Gear UltraLight Dual 25L which is identical apart from the size. We were able to use it to carry a Sony A7 III with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens mounted along with a 24-70mm f/2.8. Alternatively, it can house a large DSLR like the Canon 5D Mark IV or Nikon D850 with a 24-70mm f/2.8 mounted and a second smaller lens.
It’s a 25L backpack with a removable insert that can be worn as a shoulder bag or belt pack. This insert is padded and fits at the bottom of the backpack. It’s accessed via a zip in the left side of the pack and has dividers that can be arranged to accommodate your camera gear.
- Versatile two-bags-in-one design
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Doesn't look like a camera bag
- Camera compartment only opens on one side
- Lightweight fabric doesn't feel especially robust
- Wasit strap needs to go shorter
Peak Design Everyday Totepack
- Internal Dimensions: 41.9cm x 33cm x 8.9cm
- External Dimensions: 49cm x 39.5cm x 16cm
- Exterior: 400D double poly-coated DWR-impregnated nylon canvas shell
- Capacity: 20L min, 25L max
- Materials: 100% recycled post-consumer material
Aimed at street, travel and everyday photographers, the Peak Design Everyday Totepack is a sleek bag with a slew of interesting features. Let’s start at the top.
The Everyday Totepack takes a roll-top design and it’s top access features magnets in the clasp to keep it flush. There are also dual side access points, which you can open via zippers that run from the base to about three-quarters up the bag’s length.
These zips are also anti-theft in design. The toggle feeds through a loop and hooks around a metal stud. This prevents pickpockets from quickly opening the Totepack and taking your gear without your knowledge.
Inside the Everyday Totepack is a padded laptop sleeve that can accommodate notebooks up to 15 inches. There’s also a tablet sleeve.
The main compartment offers two of Peak Design’s FlexFold dividers, which you can bend in different direction or fold in half to accommodate the shape of your kit. These FlexFold dividers can mount horizontally or vertically according to your needs.
There’s no shoulder strap like you’ll find on the Everyday Tote, but the Everyday Totepack has padded backpack straps, which you can tuck inside the bag and hide for when you want to carry the bag as a tote.
Other features include padded carry handles and two Cord Hook external carry straps.
It’s also worth noting that though the Everyday Totepack is 20L in capacity, it’s roll-top design allows it to expand to 25L.
The Everyday Totepack has a waterproof exterior, as well as a waterproof bottom liner, and its zippers are sewn with an anti-abrasion thread.
- Lightweight and portable
- Rugged and durable
- Timeless, fashionable design
- Anti-theft design
- Space is limited if you need more than a basic kit
Best camera strap for beginner photography
Often you’ll receive a branded camera strap when you buy a new camera, but sometimes these can feel thin and flimsy. Below are some more robust straps that we prefer to use when out in the field.
Peak Design Slide Lite
- Product Type: Camera strap
- Length: Adjustable 99-145cm
- Material: Nylon webbing
Until the Wandrd Sling Strap arrived, the Peak Design Slide Lite was my go-to strap from the moment it first came out in 2017. I love its smart appearance, its soft but strong webbing, and the ease with which it can be extended or shortened so I can wear it across my body or over my shoulder.
My favourite feature, however, is its attachment method. Peak Design supplies it with two pairs of Anchor Links for attaching it to a couple of cameras. These Links loop through and over themselves in the camera strap lugs and then snap securely into the strap.
This means that when you want to take the strap off, you just need to press on the pad of the Anchor Loop to release it and then slide it out of the strap clip. It takes a second at most – it’s even faster to attached and detach than the Wandrd straps.
The downside is that you want Anchor Loops on every camera. You can transfer the Links between cameras, but it’s a bit like trying to undo a tight shoelace. It’s doesn’t take long, but you need decent nails.
- High-quality look and feel
- Adjustable length
- Anchor mounts make it fast and easy to detach and reattatch
- Heavy cameras can make the strap extend
- We'd prefer the grippy coating to be on the other side of the strap
- If you have several cameras, you'll need more Anchor Links
Wandrd Sling Strap
- Construction: Recycled soft-touch nylon webbing, metal clips, Hypalon loops
- Strength: Up to 45Kg / 100lb force
- Length: 73.6 - 118.7cm / 29 - 46.75inches
- Width: 3.2cm / 1.25inches
Like the Wandrd Wrist Strap, the Wandrd Sling Strap has a thin but strong Hypalon loop that passes through the camera’s strap lug and then secures in a metal slip. It’s very quick and easy to attach to lots of cameras, and when you want to mount the camera on a tripod, you can remove it in seconds so it won’t flap in the breeze.
This adjustable strap is long enough to be worn across your body or it can be shortened for wearing around your neck or over a shoulder.
The adjustment mechanism is very easy to use but the strap doesn’t extend in length as you carry the camera. It’s part of what makes this my current favourite strap.
Wandrd has hit the sweet spot for the width of a camera strap with its Sling Strap. It’s wide enough to be comfortable when carrying all but the biggest, heaviest cameras but not so wide that it gets in the way or makes you feel hot.
Also, one side has a series of silicone bands to give some extra grip when you’re carrying the camera on your shoulder.
- Easily adjustable length
- Quick and easy to fit
- Rather thin for heavy cameras
- The flat-head tool is too wide for attaching many tripod quick release plates
BlackRapid Wrist Strap Breathe
- Material: 100% nylon webbing
- Length: 20.5cm / 8.1inches
- Width: 2.5cm / 1inch
- Weight: 2.12oz
When you don’t want a shoulder or neck strap and need something a little more discreet, the BlackRapid Breathe is an excellent choice. Lightweight, but solid, the BlackRapid Breathe is 100% Nylon like a car seat belt and secures to your wrist, yet offering a 20.5cm adjustable length.
Like the other BlackRapid straps in this list, the BlackRapid Wrist Strap attaches via a camera’s tripod bush. It screws in securely and the swivelling carabiner prevents it from unscrewing or getting tangled around your hand or wrist.
A wrist strap has a simple job, and the Breathe does it well. Street photographers will love it, but so will wildlife and sports photographers who want minimal clutter and simply want to quickly bring their camera up to their eye.
Best SD card for beginner photography
Most beginner cameras will use SD cards, so we’ve only focused on this memory type here. If you’re using a more advanced camera, you might want to check out our guides to which cameras use CFexpress cards or the best XQD cards. Ideally, you’ll want an SD card with a fast read and write speed and with a Class 10 rating and V30 specification.
Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Cards
- Max Read Speed: 300MB/s
- Max Write Speed: 260MB/s
- Standard Classes: Class 10, UHS-II, U3, V90
- Operating temperature: 0°C - 70ºC
- Storage temperature: -25ºC - 85ºC
The Lexar® Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Cards SD is at the top end of the SD card format and is rated as UHS-II, Class 10, U3 and V90. This essentially means that it can, at present, cope with pretty much any camera data you throw at it.
In this respect, the Lexar® Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II card shows there’s plenty of life left in the UHS-II SD format and SD is far from obsolete. The card features transfer speeds that are more than capable of keeping up with the latest image and video capture demands. The card also offers a relatively affordable choice per GB compared with the newer CFExpress and CFast options.
In use, the card performs well with no warnings from either the Sony A7 III or Blackmagic Designs Pocket Cinema 6K Pro. Back in the studio, download times were equally impressive.
If you need a top performance SD card for your 40MP+ stills or 4K+ video capture, then the Lexar® Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Card won’t let you down.
- Fast read/write times
- High Capacity
- No label to write info
- Fast, but not as fast as CFast and CFExpress
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-II
- Product type: SD-type (SDXC) memory card
- Write Speed: 260MB/s (1733x)
- Read Speed: 300MB/s (2000)
- Classes: UHS-II, U3
- Protection: Shock, water, temperature, X-Ray Proof
- Capacities: 32GB (SDHC), 64GB, 128GB
The SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-II has the SD-type card form factor which means it fits in the memory card slot of a wide range of cameras. It’s a UHS-II card, which makes it compatible with the latest cameras with SD cards slots, but it can also be used in cameras with UHS-I card slots.
According to the manufacturer, the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-II has a maximum write speed of 260MB/s and a maximum read speed of up to 300MB/s. That makes it suitable for use when recording 4K video as well as shooting long sequences of stills at high frame rates.
There are more affordable cards than the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-II, but it works flawlessly and isn’t fussy about which camera or card slot you pop it in. It’s as robust and as reliable as they come.
£103$99 / £201.99 / $199.99
- Large Capacity
- Robust memory
- Fast read write speeds
- Not quite fast enough for latest action cameras and drones