Best Photography Accessories for Beginners under $30

Here is my list for the best photography accessories for beginners under $30.  In the age of iPhone pictures, people are missing out on the creativity a good photographer can apply to a photograph using skill, light, and a few accessories.

Camera gear does not need to be expensive and this list of accessories will help you take great pictures and have more fun with your camera.

The type of photography you are into determines the accessories you need to carry.

If you shoot indoors, landscapes, or moving kids, the best camera accessories will matter based on your needs and type of camera.

For example, if you shoot landscapes, then a flash modifier will be of little use to you.

I am already assuming you have a camera and the basics like lens, batteries, and a memory card.  I will also assume you have the basics to move those pictures to your computer and can edit your pictures already.

If you still need these things, please check out my Best Budget DSLR for $100 or Getting Your Pictures Organized posts.

This list is in no particular order.

Best Photography Accessories for Beginners Under $30

Lens Pen

No matter what type of photography you do, having dirt on your lens will ruin your pictures.  Having a way to clean your lens quickly and often will be key to taking great pictures.  These lens cleaning kits are really cheap, very light to carry, and are a no brainier in most people’s books.

Camera Bag

You spent a lot of money on your camera and the pictures you take are priceless.  They are memories of your time with family, nature, and the incredible life you live everyday.  There are several types of camera bags you can buy under $30 but the one I recommend is the AmazonBasics Sling Backpack.  I reviewed the AmazonBasic Sling Backpack a few weeks ago and you cannot go wrong with it.  It is highly recommended.

Tabletop Tripod

I have several tripods of all different types but the best one is the one you have with you when you need it.  I do not often carry by full or compact tripod but I always carry a tabletop and can honestly say I have used it more then all my other tripods combines (not including studio work).  The two I use are very sturdy, compact, and adjustable to get a level shot.

Quick Release Plates

I love my quick release plates and have them on everything.  All my tripods, camera, and I even converted a few to use with my flash heads.  They can lock in my camera very securely and I never have to worry about accidentally releasing it.  These are a knock off of a very expensive brand and are probably backwards compatible but I never tested this (since I don’t own any of the expensive ones).

Shoulder Strap

All cameras come with a neck strap but I find carrying a camera around my neck very cumbersome and always in the way.  The shoulder strap holds the camera on your side and can quickly be moved up to your eye when you are ready to shoot.  It also makes changing lens while moving much easier and safer.  It even works great when you are using a full flash on top with a large modifier.  I customized the attachment slightly to allow me to have both a quick release connector and the shoulder strap bracket so now I never need to change anything.

Rechargeable Batteries

Camera’s use lots of batteries!  Using rechargeable ones will save you a lot of money in the long run and be much better for the environment.  The only ones I use are eveloop from Panasonic.  They tend to be slightly more expensive then the regular ones but I never want my batteries to die on me in the middle of shooting.  These have proven to be the best money can buy.

I have compared these to using regular batteries and I get just as much life from these then brand new non rechargeable ones.  This is why I will never go back to using regular batteries.

Battery Charger

Your camera probably came with a battery charger but mine was too bulky and wouldn’t charge in the car when I am mobile.  I ordered these chargers for each of my cameras and will never be stuck with a bead battery again.  Speaking of batteries, you should also buy spare batteries but do not expect the cheap ones to last or be as reliable as the original ones.

This one kit comes with a charger and 2 spare batteries.  For the price, it is a great deal.  Again, do not expect much form the extra batteries, you are paying for the charger, the extra batteries are in my mind just a free extra.

Filter Pack

The first thing everyone buys is a UV filter for their camera lens.  This serves the primary purpose of protecting your lens from scratches and dirt.  I usually recommend buying the standard 3 pack (UV, Florescent (FLD), and CPL).  The great thing about this kit is it also comes with the 3 standard ND filters which I love.  These are not quality glass filters that cost over $75 each so do not expect them to work like the high priced ones either.  These are great for the beginner and will allow you to experiment with using filters without the heavy costs of the high quality ones.

If you find you really love using filters, then you should invest in buying high quality filters but start off with these and see if you like the effect first.

Flash Attachments

The rest of the list is all about flash attachments.

Since picture taking is all about light, the quality of your light is critical to capturing good pictures.

Some of these items will be above the $30 limit but I consider them so good that I couldn’t honestly omit them from the list.

Neewer Speedlite 750II

This one is not under $30 but can be found for under $50 and is incredible.  I did a review of the Neewer Speedlite 750II and it is a fantastic flash and costs less than $50.  I have bought and use the more expensive NIkon SB flashes and love them but these are just as good and are WAY less expensive.

If you insist I stay within the $30 limit, then check out this Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite.  It is not iTTL but a quality manual flash.  I use to buy used manual flashes from eBay until I found these Neewer 750’s.  These 560’s are a million times better then the used ones I bought from ebay but no way as good as the Neewer Speedlite 750II.

Flash Filters

This is where fun meets photography.  There is no limit to how creative you can be with a set of color flash filters combined with some light shaping modifiers.  You can warm up a room when you sleep late and miss the sunrise light.  You can put one in a fireplace giving the look of a lit fireplace.  I also mix a filter with a snoot to add some drama to a simple portrait.  The best part, you can pick up a set for less than $10.

These are so small they come with me everywhere I go and can really improve the lighting from your harsh bare flashes.  Trust me, give flash filters a try and you will love the results.

Remote Flash

This is another one that doesn’t fit the best camera accessories for under $30 but aside from the flash, is the best accessory you can get to improve your photos.  The flash triggers cost about $40 each and I did a review of the Yongnuo YN-622 Flash Trigger for both Nikon and Canon camera.  I have listed the kit on here which is more money but you can easily get one separately for less money.

If you insist I stay in the $30 limit, then the iTTL remote flash cable is the way to go.  This is what I used before moving to Remote triggers and was very happy with my pictures.  The purpose is to hold your flash in your hand while holding you camera in the other hand.  This will allow your light to create slight shadows on your subject (which is what you want).  It is very hard to do and you can forget about using a zoom but I managed this way for a few years.  I often used a flash bracket to hold my flash for me but eventually gave up on the approach and moved to remote triggers.

Flash Modifier

There are too many different flash modifiers to list.  I will list just a few of my favorites and all cost less than $30.  I own every one and have tested it and they are fantastic.  Just about all light modifiers will lose light.  Please remember to add light if you are pushing the limits of your flash.  When I use light modifiers, I typically use 2+ flashes with triggers to keep things properly lit but I need to understand not everyone will have 3 flashes to use.

Lambency Flash Diffuser – (Review here)  The Lambency Flash Diffuser is my favorite of the 3 and I use it more then all the others combined.  It is a knock off of the Gary Fong Flash Diffuser which is better but out of my price range.  Its biggest fault is the light loss and that is is really large to put in your bag but I found a way to fit it in (along with the others).

Rogue Flash Bender – This is my default item when I want to be creative and use a snoot.  It is extremely well made and very easy to use.  The issue with it is it is too clumsy to keep on the camera and move around.  I prefer the Lambency even though it is larger.  This is my default when I want to be creative and use it on a remote flash.

Gray Card Softbox – I don’t use this one much because it is difficult to put on the flash.  I love the idea that it is both a soft-box and a gray card and will also double as a small deflector.  This one works well as a remote flash.  I only have issues with it being on the camera and too bulky to move around.  It takes great pictures, really great pictures.  I can compare it’s quality to my full studio softboxes.

Flash Stand

I have bought several different flash stands and the CowboyStudio Light Stand is my favorite.  This is not needed unless you will do a lot of portrait work.  Most of the time I use the flash stand (the little plastic one) that comes with most flashes and just set it on a table in a room.

When doing outside shoots, you not put your flashes and modifiers on these without also using sandbags or all your expensive gear will get trashed.  Trust me on this one!  Better yet, have someone hold it while you are shooting.  The session will go much faster as you can direct your assistant to move as needed.

Brolly Box Umbrellas

This last item is usually found at a better price on eBay.  I usually save about $5-10 from buying from eBay in the 2 pack but I need to wait longer and there is a small risk given the lack of a return policy.  Since the Amazon prices are coming down and I will probably order more from there from now on.

These come in 2 versions and I recommend both.  One will control the light like a soft box and the other spread it everywhere like an umbrella.  The key to these is they are sealed and will reflect light back to your subject with much less lost light.  This will make a huge difference when you need it.  I love these and prefer them over all my other umbrellas and softboxes.  I also pair these with this speedlite mounting bracket below.

Speedlite S-Type Bracket

This is not critical to your flash game but I love mine and wanted to share it with you.  I started buying these when they were twice the cost but now they are under $15 I will get some more.  These allow you to connect your flash to all the cool studio light modifiers like softboxes, umbrella’s, snoots, plus a whole lot more.  They are easy to adjust and provide great support to your flash.  These are used with your flash stands so do not get one without the other.


What do you think of by list of the best camera accessories under $30?

What would you add or or remove from the list?  Have you tried anything on the list and do you love it too?  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

I think I could have easily doubled the list and will likely create a new post with other items to try.

The prices are great and will make your photography more interesting and fun.

Why not try some of them and see for yourself!

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