With so many great deals on digital SLR cameras these days, just about anyone can channel their inner Annie Leibovitz. But before you start planning a high-concept fashion shoot, you've got to make sure you've got the right gear at hand to keep things running smoothly. Unlike point-and-shoot digital cameras, SLRs need some gear to go with them. Photography equipment can run the gamut in price, so it's important to choose wisely. Some lenses cost even more than the camera itself. But fear not: our list of must-have accessories keep the true cost of digital SLR photography in check, so you'll be happily taking snapshots for some time to come.
1. Zoom in
It's very likely that you purchased your DSLR bundled with a basic kit lens, like the one found with this refurbished Canon EOS Rebel T2i (now out of stock). Usually this "standard" lens features a short focal range of 18-55mm, which is ideal for everyday use. For a second lens, try something with a bit more zoom. This Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon (now out of stock) or Canon will give you greater reach without too much bulk.
Price: Sigma for Nikon, $159 + free shipping; Sigma for Canon, $148.81 + $6.99 s&h
2. Put a cap on it
Back in the days of film, photographers would use a UV lens filter to negate the hazy effect that ultraviolet light has on film stock. With today's digital sensors, it isn't necessary for this purpose. However, many photographers will still keep a filter on their lens to protect it from scratches. Try this 58mm UV Lens Filter and thank us the next time the cheap cover is on the receiving end of a blow, rather than your very expensive optics.
Price: $2.45 + 50 cents for shipping
3. Steady goes it
If you're keen on the ethereal nature of low-light photography, a tripod is a necessity; the longer exposure times that are required will make your image more susceptible to blur from movement. Instead of relying on your less-than-steady hand, beat the blur with this National Geographic Tundra Tripod. It's also helpful to have on reserve for timed shots (hello, family portraits!) and any shoot that may require careful staging.
Price: $26.99 + free shipping
4. Bag it up
Nothing's worse than spending a pretty penny on quality photographic equipment, then throwing it into any old tote bag. If you're just starting out, you may not have much to carry around. Or, you may be unsure of what your storage needs will be. In that case, start off slow with this very basic Fabric Camera Bag. If you're planning on traveling with more equipment, get serious with the Lowepro Primus AW Premium Backpack, which stores up to two extra lenses.
Price: Basic bag, $13.99 + free shipping; Lowepro, $74.95 + free shipping
5. Stock up on storage
Avoid that dreaded "Memory Card Full" moment by stockpiling cheap SDHC cards. Try the Transcend 8GB Class 10 SDHC Card, or buy in bulk with three of these A-DATA 4GB SDHC Class 4 cards. Keep them handy in your camera bag, and you'll never again have to make your subjects wait for their close up while you play Russian Roulette with old images.
Price: Transcend card, $12.74 + free shipping; A-Data card, 3 for $17.97 + free shipping
Final tally: About $212