An Amateur’s Guide to Camera Bag Essentials

So you’re thinking of finally investing in a nice camera?  That’s awesome!  Trust me when I say that it will be love at first picture the second you use your new camera for the very first time.

Before I bought my first camera, I did a ton of research as to what equipment I wanted/would need.  It was all so overwhelming and I honestly didn’t know what I should buy vs. what could wait.  I came across this post from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney Tourist Blog, and found so much helpful information there!  While their list of things to buy is directly related to how you’d use it at the Disney parks, I found that their list was so helpful in deciding what to buy and what to wait on.

My list of ‘What I Love’ below is everything I carry around with me when we travel.  Most of the items we bought either right away or a few months after we initially bought my camera. But I use and love it all.

Beginner Photographer's Camera Bag Essentials

  1. Travel Camera Bag.  I love the Lowepro Flipside 200 Backpack because it is lightweight, has a rear zipper, is water resistant, can carry my tripod, and has both a sternum and waist strap for stability.  It also has padded shoulder straps which means I can carry it for hours comfortably without a lot of pressure on my shoulders.
  2. Camera.  I own the Nikon D3200 and love it.  I’m a Nikon girl all the way so I’m a little biased when I say that this is the best starter camera I could have ever asked for.  It also comes with the 18-55mm kit lens which is great to play around with, learn different settings, and how to find your photography “style“.
  3. Lenses. Besides my kit lens that came with the camera, I also own two others.  I love my 55-200mm Zoom Lens and use it mainly for portraits and blurred backgrounds.  I also recently bought my first wide angle lens (20mm) and it is by far my favorite lens that I own.  I use it to get up close to a subject to fill the lens and I also use it for landscapes.
  4. Camera Strap. I’ve gone through so many different camera straps in the short eight months I’ve had my camera.  After reading a lot of reviews and trying to figure out which strap would work best for me, I finally settled on the OP/TECH Utility Strap.  All the other straps I used or made put a lot of pressure on my neck, but this strap is a sling that goes across your shoulder so it’s much more comfortable.  I highly suggest it!  Especially if you use a lot of heavy lenses (like a 55-200mm).
  5. Tripod.  This accessory is a MUST if you do a lot of night photography.  I own the Mefoto Backpacker Tripod and use it for everything from night shots, to indoor blog pictures, to self portraits.  It definitely comes in handy!  The Mefoto Travel Tripod weights 2.6 pounds, holds up to 8.8 pounds, folds up to 12.6 inches, and gives you a height range of 16.5-51.2 inches.  It’s a great travel tripod!
  6. Filters.  I mainly use a UV Protection Filter and a Polarizing Filter.  For every lens I own, I bought a UV filter to protect it from scratches, moisture, and dust. It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to replace a scratched UV filter than your lens. A polarizing filter filters out polarized light, dramatically reducing reflections, enhancing colors and increasing contrast. Both types of filters can be kept on your lenses at all times!  Just remember, when using filters you have to make sure they are the correct sizes for your lenses.  You don’t want to buy a filter and not be able to use it!

page break I know that my husband subscribes to my blog, so here’s my early birthday wish list babe! Just kidding…sort of!

I swear, once you get into photography and figure out how much you love it you really start thinking of the many other things you want that will enhance your pictures.  Here’s mine!

Camera Essentials: What I'd Love to Have

  1. Camera Bag – I already have a large bag from JoTotes that fits my camera and laptop but I’d like something smaller, like this Bowery camera bag from Ona, for a day outing.
  2. Shutter Release – I want this specifically for fireworks shots.  A remote release cord takes your hands off the camera to prevent movement from messing up your pictures.
  3. Lenses – a 50mm for close-up portraits and a 35-70mm zoom lens to replace my kit lens.
  4. External Flash – Great for day pictures where you need to cast light in certain areas or nighttime family photographs, I think this Nikon Speedlight Flash would be a great asset!

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What are your thoughts?

What camera accessories do you love and don’t leave your house without?  Is there something that I should have in my bag that I don’t?

*Full Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however, this post contains affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase using my code or link I receive a small commission.  Please note that I only recommend products that I use and love!


  1. Absolutely love this post! I’m going to have to check out that camera bag you have, Teresa. It looks like it would be great for travel. I’ve also been on the hunt for a tripod. I’m hoping to get a new lens within the next week. I was looking at the Sigma 70-300mm (for Canon) since I seem to like taking photos of nature. I figured it’d be good to have for the animals that run away when I try to get close to them, haha.

    1. Thank you, Felicia! The camera bag is so great! They also have bigger and smaller versions of it so if I ever need an upgrade I will definitely be getting the same brand. The thing that sealed the deal was the rear zipper for me, I don’t want anyone getting into my camera bag but me!

      I highly recommend the MeFoto tripods because they fold up so small and are so lightweight. But there are tons of other good ones out there, I’m curious to see which one you pick!

      haha That’s why I have a telephoto lens too! It’s so great for landscapes and animal photography, you’ll love it!

    1. I’ve been eyeing both of those lenses for forever! haha They are on my wish list for either my birthday or Christmas. Are you taking the 50mm to shoot at the wedding?

  2. I am an amateur, amateur. LOL I have a few of these items, thanks to my hubby. I see some things I need though… like a tripod. :-/ Glad I found you on the Social Media Mixer!

    1. So glad you stopped by! Tripods are the best! There are so many out there that are great to choose from!

  3. I’m coming to a point in my blogging career where I really feel I need to address my lack of knowledge about photography. Thanks for posting something I could understand! Pinning for future reference.

    1. You’re welcome Jen! I’m so glad you found this helpful! I’m still an amateur, but I love photography and love passing on information I’ve learned. 🙂

    1. I really really really want a 50mm lens for either my birthday or Christmas! I didn’t know that’s what you used for blog pictures, no wonder they look so awesome! 😉

  4. These are such great lists! I haven’t even thought about filters for protection of my lense. I also have a great travel backpack but I am still on the hunt for a purse style bag…

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! When we bought my camera the sales man told us all about the UV Filters. I had no idea about them before hand but they were a really good investment (about $8 or $10 each depending on the lens size). I definitely recommend them! Have you checked out JoTotes or Epiphanie? Both have the cutest bags for your camera!

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