This is an older copy of a former post revisited. I hope you find the information helpful.
One of the most frustrating experiences for me was getting a new camera and then realizing I had everything I needed, but there were a couple of items I should have had after I got back home from my first photo outing.
If you purchase a point and shoot camera or quality D-SLR in a kit, not body only, it will probable come with a few accessories. These add-ons, or accessories are only meant for short-term and you will have to eventually upgrade or replace most of the accessories that come with your purchase.
Accessory item #1: A spare battery. One is good, two is ideal. I have had weekends where one battery lasted me the entire weekend, but when it’s dead… You’re finished shooting pictures.
Accessory item #2: A spare memory card or two. If you are leaving for an extended trip consider another backup device like a laptop or portable hard drive you can plug the card into without a laptop. They are available. The one thing you don’t want is for your only memory card to crash and lose all of your pictures from your two-week cruise in Alaska. Memory cards are durable and very reliable, bu like all devices, they will fail eventually.
Accessory item #3:: A camera bag. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be functional. Backpack camera bags are very comfortable for long walks, but very difficult to get to in most cases and will require time to get your camera out. So that deer that just walked in front of you on the trail ahead is probably out of the question. Some side-carry camera bags have easily accessible compartment so you can open them on the move. Remember, comfort and ease of access are very important.
Accessory item #4: A tripod. Someone will not always be there to help you and your significant other by taking the picture for you while you pose in the once-in-a-lifetime sunset at the scenic overlook of your dreams. Almost all cameras these days have an automatic timer function on the camera so you can press the button and move, move, move to get back into the picture. For point and shoot cameras these tripods do not have to be all that huge but they should be stable. A tripod for a D-SLR is probably going to run about $100 or better. Kit-tripods will usually self-destruct within 2 to 3 weeks of your purchase. (On a side note, if you leave your camera sitting on a tripod while it is taking a picture, make sure you are the fastest running person in the immediate area, should your camera decide to run off in a hurry with another potential aspiring photographer or salesperson.)
Accessory item #5: A small cleaning kit containing a lens brush, lens cleaning solvent, small wiping patches and even a small blower to blow the dust off of the face of the lens. When cleaning any type of optics, do not use fiber-type cloth, aka a t-shirt to wipe the dust off. Always try blowing it off first, then give the lens a couple of gentle strokes with the lens brush, if that doesn’t work then a moist wipe-down with the cleaning cloth, patches or swabs will be in order.
Accessory item #6: An ultraviolet filter for your precious lens!!! This last item applies specifically to D-SLR users. If you are going to pay upwards of $150 dollars to thousands of dollars for a nice lens to put on your camera, please, please, please take the time to buy a comparatively inexpensive Ultraviolet Filter to put on the front of the lens. These filters only cost about $10 to $15, don’t affect the picture at all, and most important, they take the beating if something should try and ruin your precious lens. I would much rather replace a $12 filter than have to buy another $200 lens just because I didn’t have a filter on there.
Accessory item #7: An adhesive plastic film cover for the screen on the back of the camera. I’m a huge fan of protecting the screens on cameras. People who wouldn’t ordinarily think of walking up and smearing their hands all over a high-def TV screen to wipe away a dirt spot, will lick their finger and rub it across the back of the camera. This is a very, very bad thing to do.