food photography, travel photography & cinemagraphs

All Blog Posts

3 Photography Accessories under $100 

Some product links are affiliate links but all are where I make my gear purchases. You can also find all of my photography gear recommendations here.

Over the last year or two, I have become the go to gift consultant for all things photography. Friends, family, random folks on the internet ask me what to get the budding photographers in their life all the time. Often, I find myself extremely hesitant to provide suggestions because it’s hard to know what gear a photographer may already own and like. Also, a lot of photography gear is really expensive. It's a bit unrealistic most of the time to suggest lenses and camera bodies that cost several hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Still, I've gotten some variation of the “what should I get my……?” enough times that I dug through all of my gear and picked out 3 things that I feel confident recommending for most photographers. These are small things that are surprisingly useful but also very reasonably priced. 

Lightning to sd card reader

This is my favorite piece of gear that I have purchased this year. It’s really inexpensive, very useful and has significantly simplified my work flow when I’m in a hurry. I’ve shot music festivals for the last 3 summers and it’s usually a mess of me running around, getting sweaty with a ton of gear and then rushing like a maniac in the evening to edit everything. This summer, I was photographing some brand work at Lollapalooza that needed to be approved on site and edited within an hour or two. This lightning to sd card reader made that possible (everything was edited on my phone). 

I also feel fairly confident recommending this because most photographers I’ve talked to have been struggling with wifi cards or the wifi on their cameras. In my experience, wifi sd cards suck. Sometimes they don’t connect. Sometimes images get corrupted. Sometimes the transfer takes forever. So far, the lightning to SD Card has been considerably more consistent.


My one tip to share if you get this as a gift would be to keep the SD card pretty clean and to delete photos after an import. The image preview gets really slow if you have a ton of images on the card and that can become a bit frustrating. Also, I have had my lighting to SD Card Reader glitch a few times so I'd bring some back up options if I was using this for production.

Camera wrap

Personally, I hate camera bags. I feel that they’re a giant, neon sign that screams “hey! I’m carrying a few grand worth of gear on my back!”. Usually, I stuff everything in a regular backpack and go about my day. Things get a bit complicated when I have to pack my laptop, camera and a few extra lenses. All my stuff ends up jostling around and bumping into each other. Camera wraps have solved that for me. I can still run around with my favorite backpack but all my stuff has a soft layer around it so I don’t end up with a ton of unnecessary scratched on my gear.  Currently, I use the 19 inch wrap for my DSLR and the 15 inch wrap for my drone. 

ND filter

In general, filters are a fun and useful additions to any photography kit. A lot of filters are pretty standard and most photographers already have a polarized glass filter. The ND filter is a tad less common so it makes for a better gift. 

ndfilter_sandynoto (1 of 1).jpg

ND filters allow you to set shutter speed low enough for a long exposure

even during the daytime.

The one issue with purchase a filter is that you have to make sure you're getting the appropriate size, which will require some research. 

A Few Additional Ideas

There are several programs that I regularly spend money on such as editing apps, dropbox storage and Adobe Creative Cloud. These aren't expensive, all under $100, and extremely useful. 

Sandy NotoGiftsComment