These bargain-priced photography essentials will help you grow and make your life as a photographer easier.
When we talk about photography and the gear we use, more often than not, we end up talking about the cameras and lenses we own, but for some reason, other accessories such as learning materials, flashes, tripods, and bags take a back seat in the conversation. To get the most of our cameras and lenses (and ourselves), we need accessories that can help us perform and grow to our fullest potential. After the break, we are going to take a quick look at some great items that we believe are photography essentials: the best part is that they all cost under $100.
These days, you really don’t have to drop a lot of cash to own high quality accessories. All the photography essentials we have listed below will help you create the images you have always wanted to produce, and some of the accessories will help you grow as a photographer too. Pull up a chair, grab a drink, and take a look at our list of photography essentials that cost less than $100.
Photography Essentials: Books and Tutorials Under $100
Honestly, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to invest in education. The minute we think we have reached the top of the pack and we let our guards down, we start falling behind the rest of the field. When it comes to photography essentials, tutorial books are right up there. Pick up one of these books, load it up on your Kindle or tablet, grab a coffee or your favorite beverage and soak up all the delicious photography knowledge out there.
One Flash!: Great Photography with Just One Light
Have you always wanted to be able to create gorgeous images with just one light? If so, this is the book you need to load up on your tablet. Tilo Gockel’s One Flash book will cover combining flash with ambient light, how to use shades, reflectors, and mirrors, TTL versus non-TTL flashes, light painting, and so much more.
Buy now: $17.99
Photography Demystified: Your Guide to Gaining Creative Control and Taking Amazing Photographs
Are you new to photography and are finding that you have more questions than answers? Are you ready to finally turn that dial from auto to manual? If so, David McKay’s Photography Demystified is one of the photography essentials to pick up. This book will guide you through the process of understanding the controls on your camera in an easy to understand manner. The best part is that if you use the Kindle Unlimited plan, you can grab it for free!
The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression
Do you struggle with being able to express yourself artistically because you feel bound to create images that are technically perfect? The Art of Photography is a book that will help you channel your inner creative. The book covers subjects such as personal photography philosophies, light, and color, black and white, exploding photographic myths, and a ton more. This is the perfect book to pick up and read while you are stuck indoors.
Buy now: $23.49
Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques
Creating quality black and white images is not an easy thing to do. Still, with this book from Harold Davis, you will be well on your way to figuring out how to see images in black and white before you shoot them, and you will learn how to process images during post so that they can look their very best.
Photography Essentials: Tripods Under $100
Tripods are one of the less glamorous accessories that we use, but boy do we put a lot of faith and trust in them when we are out in the field. They easily make our list of photography essentials. We ask our three-legged friends to hold and support our expensive cameras and lenses all the time. It used to be that you couldn’t get quality tripods for less than $200, but now you can find quality offerings for less than $100.
GEEKOTO AT24PRO Dreamer
This tripod from Geekoto folds down to just 19 inches in length when not in use and a whopping 77 inches when fully extended. It weighs 3.37lbs and can hold cameras and lenses that weigh up to 17.6lbs. One cool feature is that you can transform this into a monopod as well. If you use heavy gear, this is a tripod worth a closer look.
Buy now: $79.99
Zomei Z818 Tripod
This tripod from Zomei is another beast that costs less than $100. Like the Geekoto above, this Zomei tripod can be converted into a monopod when needed, and thanks to the quick release plate, attaching and removing your camera is as easy as pie. It can be configured to hold your camera in four different ways, has a center hook so you can help stabilize it even more, and it can support over 33lbs of gear. You can also get it in cool colors like red, orange, blue, and more.
Buy now: $96.99
Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head
This tripod from Dolica is one that I own and occasionally use myself. Not only is it very affordable, but it’s also lightweight, sturdy, the quick-release locks on the legs are a joy to use, and the ball head operates easily. If I know I am going to be doing a lot of hiking; this is the tripod that usually comes with me. The tripod can hold up to 13.2lbs of gear easily, it extends to a maximum height of 62-inches, and it weighs just 2.5lbs.
Buy now: $44.95
Photography Essentials: Camera Bags Under $100
Camera bags obviously cannot be overlooked as photography essentials. We trust our camera bags in the same way we trust our tripods. We ask them to carry our gear, we expect them to protect our investments, and we expect them to be comfortable to use. There are a ton of great camera bags on the market that cost well under $100. Don’t let the prices fool you: these camera bags are fantastic!
Vanguard Havana 48 Blue Backpack
The Havana 48 Blue backpack from Vanguard is an absolute steal. In our review, we called it the best backpack Vanguard has made to date. It’s weather-sealed, well padded, very comfortable to use for long periods, and has great build quality and lots of storage space. You’ can’t go wrong with this bag.
Buy now: $89.99
Portage Supply Kenora Backpack (4th Generation)
We fell in love with the Portage Supply Kenora backpack when we reviewed it, thanks to its rugged build, the quick access it provides on the side of the bag, and its weather sealing. Once you have the interior of the bag configured to your liking, you’ll never look back. This bag is a must-have.
Buy now: $69
The Tarion M-02 really surprised us. This ultra-affordable bag features weather sealing, some great security features, it has ample storage for your camera, lenses, and accessories, and it’s pretty darn comfortable to carry for a long time. Factor in the price (it’s under $60), and you have a genuine bargain on your hands.
Buy now: $59.89
Photography Essentials: Filters Under $100
Filters are another photography accessory that should be considered essential. While cameras have come a long way in regards to dynamic range, sometimes you will find yourself in situations that even the best cameras will struggle with. Filters can be used for all sorts of things. Polarizers can help cut down glare and reflections from surfaces, graduated and ND filters can help you deal with high contrast situations, and light pollution filters can help remove unwanted color casts from the night sky. If you strive to get your images right in camera, filters should be on your list of photography essentials.
Neewer Complete ND Filter Kit for Cokin P
If you like finding bargains, you’re going to love this set of Graduated and ND filters. This set of filters from Neewer left us gobsmacked when we tried them. At just $21.99, we weren’t expecting much, to be honest, but these filters just work. They produce no color casts, they come with a nice pouch and all of the step-up/down rings so that they work on lots of different lenses, and they come with the filter holder too. If you have never used filters before and you want to see what all the fuss is about, pick up a set of these filters.
Buy now: $21.99
Irix Light Pollution Filter
The IRIX light pollution filter is a must-have for any photographer who likes to shoot cityscapes at night or who loves astrophotography. Light pollution is a huge problem when you live close to a city. If the city you live in still uses sodium lamps, your images will have a nasty yellow glow in the sky no matter what you do. The light pollution filters from IRIX help cut out all of the color cast, which means you get images with better colors, and you’ll spend less time in post. The difference these filters made really opened up our eyes during our review.
Buy now: Starting at $73
Hoya Alpha Circular Polarizer
Circular polarizers are a landscape photographer’s best friend. These little gems do a number of things that can help make your images have a much bigger impact. Polarizers are known for intensifying the rich blue in the sky or bodies of water, making other colors pop, cutting down on reflections from glass, metal, and even things like leaves. These affordable Hoya polarizers come in a range of sizes from 49mm to 82mm, and they won’t break the bank either.
Buy now: Starting at 26.90