There has never been such a range of options for those interested in photography: we now have powerful cameras with multiple lenses embedded in our smartphones; mirrorless cameras; an extensive market of entry to premium DSLRs; action cameras; compact cameras, and we've even seen the reemergence of Polaroids with modern designs.
Also: Best cameras
This massive market has also prompted another: camera accessories. Professionals often invest in bags, secure straps, lens modifiers, and tripods for their work, but hobbyists, too, can take advantage of them to improve their photography.
Below, we've compiled our top picks for camera accessories in 2021.
The Green Pod camera platform
Creates the perfect angle
The Green Pod camera platform is an adjustable, small bean bag made up of nylon that is malleable enough to allow users to adjust it before placing their camera down to take a shot -- keeping their valuable kit away from dirt and creating the perfect angle. The stuffing can also be changed out for materials other than plastic pellets.
- Could be useful for long exposures
- Wide range of camera compatibility
- You may need to add a counterbalance -- or even use two bags -- when larger lenses are in play
HoldFast Gear Money Maker two-camera harness
A crucial accessory
Professional photographers can count a stable, secure harness as a crucial accessory. One worth considering is the HoldFast Gear Money Maker harness, made of bridle leather and four ring attachments in a cross pattern. This harness is able to handle two cameras or lenses.
- Secure and strong enough for DSLRs
- Attractive design
- Some users may find it heavy to wear
Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader
With the variety of memory cards for both smartphones and cameras today, it's useful to have one compact reader able to tackle different types. The Anker 2-in-1 SD card reader, available on Amazon, is a USB 3.0 dongle able to read MicroSD, SD, SDXC, UHS-I cards, and more.
- High versatility
- Some users report technical issues over time
Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack
Protect your gear
A backpack or case able to protect cameras and lenses is a must for both professional and hobbyist photographers alike. One to consider, available at B&H, is the Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack, a model containing a number of padded compartments and dividers for a DSLR, battery grip, and up to four lenses -- as well as a tablet.
- Protection for a camera and lenses
- Could be considered bulky
- Overkill for smaller setups
Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 printer
Bring your photos to life
Once you've taken a photo or two you would then like to print, you're going to need a decent printer able to do your images justice. The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is a wireless inkjet printer that can print from a PC, tablet, or smartphone at a rate of 15.8 ISO ppm (black) and up to 11 ISO ppm (color) at a resolution of up to 5760 x 1440 dpi.
- Users report Epson's software can be buggy or difficult to install
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer
For larger prints
If you would prefer a premium printer able to manage larger print sizes, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is worthy of consideration. Canon's wide-format inkjet printer can produce A3+ borderless prints and has been optimized for professional quality at a resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dpi.
- High-quality prints
- Easy setup
- Expensive for an inkjet
- Ink can be difficult to obtain
Photojojo smartphone lens series for Android, iPhone
If you're interested in exploring what mobile photography can offer you but do not want to break the bank, Photojojo has magnetic lenses suitable for iPhone and Android cameras at an affordable price. Starting at $20, you can select from fisheye, telephoto, macro, and wide-angle lenses that snap on to transform your smartphone camera's capabilities.
- Aluminum casing
- Purchasing a full kit adds up
JOBY GorillaPod 1K tripod
If you're looking for a versatile, portable tripod, the JOBY GorillaPod 1K plus could be the product for you. This tripod has grip, wrap, and traditional stand modes and is suitable for a variety of smartphones, cameras, and camcorders. There is also a built-in spirit level.
- The style won't appeal to everyone
LensPen lens cleaner
Avoid dirty, scratched lenses
A dirty lens can severely impact the quality of your images and using a standard cloth or towel may leave scratches in the fragile glass. Instead, a lens pen is a cheap and effective way to maintain lenses, as well as binoculars or scopes. LensPen's model contains a non-liquid carbon cleaning compound and a retractable, soft brush.
- The cleaner will not dry out
- Plastic, cheap feel
Neewer 50-In-1 action camera accessory kit
For GoPro enthusiasts
This is a budget-friendly kit for action camera users, such as a GoPro, available over at Amazon. This 50-piece kit contains a variety of handy accessories including head and wrist straps, a selfie stick, a handlebar grip, helmet mount, and adhesive pads.
- Great value for money
- Some users report quality issues with the mounts
5-in-1 reflector kit
Getting the lighting right
This is a useful and affordable reflector kit for improving the lighting of images. This kit contains translucent, silver, gold, white, and black 43-inch discs that are lightweight and can be packed away in an included bag after use.
- Build quality could be improved
EZ Dupe media mirror plus duplicator
Back up everything
An accessory for professional photographers and videographers who cannot risk the loss of their data, the EZ Dupe media mirror plus duplicator is a gadget for making multiple copies of information contained in USB flash storage, DVD media, and memory cards. The duplicator is able to make up to two copies at a time and write them to DVD or CDs.
- A useful addition for professionals
- Versatile duplication options
Other camera accessories to consider
- Ring light clip on, Amazon, $16.99
- Sony shooting grip with wireless remote commander, Best Buy, $139.99
- HP Sprocket Studio photo printer, Amazon, $129.99
- Sharper Image smartphone photo printer, Sharper Image, $159.99
- Canon IVY Mini photo printer, Best Buy, $89.99
- Flash diffuser two-pack, Amazon, $12.90
- Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System (62-82mm), B&H, $84.95
- Ruth & Boaz leather camera wrist strap, Amazon, $19.99
- Peak Design Everyday Sling (5L) camera bag, B&H, $99.95
- Ruggard Leda memory card case, B&H, $16.95
- Benro tabletop tripod & selfie stick for smartphones, B&H, $31.95
- Portable tripod, budget-friendly, Amazon, $28.99
- Photojojo smartphone keyprop, Photojojo, $13
- Energizer Multi-Fit LCD timer remote shutter release, B&H, $39.99
What are the must-have accessories for new photographers?
Once you become hooked on photography, there will always be an accessory, lens, or camera body on your wishlist. If you're just starting out, however, you do not immediately need everything. To begin with, I would recommend a suitable carry case or backpack, a lens cleaner, a strap, and in the case of DSLRs, a replacement battery. Spare memory cards can be extremely useful, too.
Oh, and don't forget insurance if you've purchased a high-end camera. Speaking from experience, it can be worth every penny if your camera needs repair due to accidents or is stolen.
What accessories should you not leave home without?
If you're taking your camera out for a job or just for fun, I would recommend that you pack it away safely in a suitable bag and consider taking, at the least, a wrist strap or harness. Polarizing filters can be useful to mitigate problems with reflections when you take photos during strong daylight, and a remote shutter can be useful in settings ranging from wildlife photography to events.
What's the best camera on the market today?
To decide on your next camera, you can check out our top picks for DSLRs, compact models, mirrorless designs and more here: Best camera: Professional shoots to street photography, compared