Its fair to say that these days many of us are feeling the pinch when it comes to our wallets. Rail fairs are going up, inflation is going up and sadly for most of us this means less money lying around to spend on our favourite hobbies.
For many of us, photography has always been a bit of a black hole for cash. Lenses can cost upwards of £1000 for a moment, tripods can easily hit £300+ and filters can be over £100 a pop, its fair to say its a fairly pricey hobby. I know that I need to be careful when walking into photography shops as my money has a tendency to evaporate!
So if you are just starting out this can all be a bit daunting especially when trying to work out what you actually need. If you have just opened your brand new camera and want to know the absolute essentials presented here is my top 5 list. Oh and each of these items can be purchased for under £50 each!
1. Cable Release
These little suckers are absolutely essential for landscape photography. Having a remote control means that you dont have to hold your camera or press the shutter button when taking a photo, which means that you reduce camera shake.... Which means you get sharper images. Great!!
You know what makes it even better, you can pick one up on Ebay for under £10!!! I prefer cable release remotes to wireless personally as it just means less batteries.
A tripod is one of the most important items that any photographer can have, especially if you are thinking of getting into products, architecture, interiors or Landscapes. Tripods allow you to not have to worry about shutter speeds as your camera will be perfectly stable when taking an image. Its good to look out for a tripod with an adjustable head that allows for both portrait and landscape shots, that also has an adjustable arm to help you frame your shots.
Tripods can be a little bit like bikes, in that often the price related to how light they are. A really good quality carbon fibre tripod can set you back well over £300 with the head mount being extra on top. Alternatively there are plenty of perfectly good tripods such as the one below that can be found on amazon for under £50.
3. Spare Battery
You would think that after 5 years I would remember to charge my camera battery before going on location, but you would be wrong. Its almost embarrassing to say how many times this has happened. Its also been the case that I've been doing a photo shoot and simply run a full battery flat.
Either way a spare camera battery is an essential purchase. You will find that if you are shooting long exposures, burst shooting or using your cameras in-built flash, the battery will typically drain much faster than usual as well. Prices can vary, more expensive cameras usually have more expensive batteries.
4. Spare Memory Cards
If you don't have memory cards, you cant take pictures!!! I have been on holidays where I have taken well over 2000 photos over the course of the trip, and the last thing you need to be doing is trying to go back through your photos tuing to free up space by deleting old ones. If you shoot in RAW you will fill up a memory card much faster than if you shoot in JPEG, and modern day DSLRs with large 24+ megapixel cameras can have very large RAW files.
A 32GB SanDisk memory card should cost you about £14, picking up a couple of these and keeping them in your camera bag is a very good idea! On the Subject of camera bags.....
5. Camera Bag
I take my camera bag with me everywhere and every single photographer should have their trusty camera bag. Ideally it should be made of a nice tough outer material, with plenty of padding for your lenses and loads of little pockets for your accessories. There are plenty of good brands out there and Lowepro is often a good place to start.
This one below is the Vanguard Havana 33 which is the camera bag I use. These can be bought for around £50 on Amazon, but camera bags come in ever possible shape and size including satchels, backpacks and slings.
Whatever you decide to spend your money on, just remember to always do your research beforehand, and buy quality products wherever you can.