Photography can get expensive, whether it’s your hobby or your job. But giving yourself a creative push doesn’t have to mean buying a thousand dollar lens or shelling out hundreds of dollars for new gear. Sure, those things are nice! But when your budget is tight and you’re itching for a new gadget or tool, there are plenty of great photography bargains to be found.
Our editors have come up with 40 photography bargains that fit almost any budget. From a phone fan that costs a few dollars to a time-saving calibration tool, we’ve got a little something for everyone. Pssst, these fun finds make great Mother’s Day gifts for photographers. Pin your faves for a nice and easy shopping list!
Splat Flexible Tripod for DSLR Cameras, $25
We’ve all seen the flexible phone tripods, but did you know they make one for your DSLR too? This portable tripod is perfect for places that don’t allow big tripods (like Disney Theme Parks) and for when you want a lighter option.
Capturing Couture Scarf Camera Strap, $39
Capturing Couture’s mix and match camera straps are made to order, so you can choose the fabric combination that is uniquely you. How cool is that?! We think this budget find is a pretty great feel-good confidence booster, and we love that we can get a custom-made item at this price point.
Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector, $30
It’s all about the light, right? If you don’t have a 5-in-1 reflector yet, it’s worth the investment. You can’t go wrong with white, but this Westcott collapsible model let’s you get creative with silver and gold too! Plus, use the black side as a flag.
Datacolor SpyderCHECKR, $139
SpyderCHECKR’s calibration software analyzes the results of your test photo and instantly creates a profile which you then apply in your workflow with RAW import software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Hasselblad Phocus, for automatic color correction. Get consistent color correction from camera to camera!
Triangular Prism, $20
When you need a fun new toy to play with, but don’t have the budget for a new lens, try a prism! Turn light into rainbows and create artistic distortion for just $20. Plus, you can pick the shape and size that best suits you. We like this 6-inch triangular model.
CanvasChamp Canvas Prints, $5 and up
You don’t need a huge budget to create a gorgeous gallery wall. With CanvasChamp you can get gallery-wrapped, archival-grade canvas prints starting at just $4.45 for a 5 x 7-inch. That’s a crazy good deal! Plus, we love that CanvasChamp uses warp-resistant wooden frames and hand-laminates all of their canvas prints.
Vintage Cameras and Lenses, price varies
You don’t need the latest and greatest gear to give yourself a creative boost. Vintage cameras and lenses are a great option for stretching your artistic abilities without straining your budget. Pro tip: You can find some amazing deals at estate sales and yard sales.
Altura Photo Collapsible Softbox, $13
Dust off that speedlight and try some new techniques with a collapsible softbox that diffuses your flash. This 6 x 5-in model from Altura Photo is the perfect size for keeping in your bag. This could be just the thing you need to take those backlit images to the next level.
Vanguard Havana 41 Camera Backpack, $90
Pack your bag for an adventure! This backpack will hold your camera, a few lenses, your laptop and all those extra gadgets and gizmos you love so much. And we love that it doesn’t look like a camera bag and attaches to your carry-on luggage. It’s perfect for international travels.
White Foam Core Board, $3
This old school photography hack works just as good today as ever. White foam core board, which costs a dollar or two, makes a fabulous reflector.
Lifestyle Photographer’s Toolkit Posing Guide, $37
The Lifestyle Photographer’s Toolkit is the perfect budget find for guiding your clients into poses during a session. Use the handy flip cards or access the digital version on your phone.
Lensball Pocket Spherical Prism, $25
Like a prism, a Lensball creates really cool light effects and distortion. But with a Lensball, you can flip the world upside down or just make it look like everything is inside a big fishbowl. Pretty fun.
Revention Portable Power Bank, $23
When you’re out on a shoot, it’s only a matter of time before your phone or your mirrorless camera loses power. Stay safe and save your shots with a power bank universal charger.
Wimberley PP-200 Plamp II, $43
Have the urge to get out and shoot macro in the garden on a windy day? Not a problem with the Plamp! It’s like having an extra set of hands to keep things still.
Adobe Photoshop Shortcuts Keyboard Skin, $14
This might be the coolest thing since sliced bread. It’s a keyboard skin that shows you all the Photoshop shortcuts. Yes, you read that correctly. You’re welcome.
Moment Mobile Photography Cases and Lenses, $30 to $100
Take your mobile photography up a notch with a Moment iPhone case and lens. We love that Moment combines the convenience of phone photography with the quality of a nice lens. Trust us, your Insta will thank you.
Super Maneuver Microfiber Beach Towel, $25
There are so many uses for a microfiber travel towel. It can keep your gear out of the sand at the beach, double as a picnic blanket or give you a nice spot to rest. But we love that you can also help control the light by creating a flag or reflector, depending on your towel color. Multifunctional photography bargains are the best kind!
Unitek Memory Card Reader, $15
If you have to have a card reader, you might as well get one that’s pretty! This rose gold option is not only stylish, but fast too. Back up your work on the go, whether you use CF, SD, or both.
MeFOTO BackPacker Air Tripod and Selfie Stick, $79
Want to try night photography or long exposures or selfies? This MeFOTO tripod folds small and is easy on the wallet.
Kikkerland Magnetic Photo Holder, $10
We love this funky photo display option! Magnetic photo rope is a super fun way to refresh your wall and you can rotate new photos into the mix without nails or frames.
50mm Prime Lens, $49 to $125
The nifty fifty was the first love of many a pro photographer. Making that jump from the kit lens to a prime will kick your creativity into overdrive without breaking the bank. Trust us, you won’t look back.
Zeiss Lens Cleaning Wipes, $15
Don’t be stuck at a beach session trying to clean your lens with the corner of your t-shirt. Stick a of these few lens wipes in your bag and easily clean off sea spray in seconds. Plus, you can use them for your glasses in a pinch.
Lens Cap Keeper, $8
If I had a dime for every minute I’ve spent looking for a lens cap, I could probably buy a new lens. Save your sanity and your lens caps with a cap keeper.
Vegan Leather Memory Card Holder, $40
This vegan leather memory card holder is a budget bargain splurge for when you really need something new and pretty, but can’t spend a ton.
Plug Life Pocket Fan for iPhone, $6
Take selfies to a whole new level. This iPhone fan lets you create windblown hair on the go. Plus, it doubles as a practical device to throw in your bag for hot summer days out and about.
LED Headlamp Flashlight with Red Light, $16
If you plan to do any shooting at night, a red light is the way to go. Not only will you save your eyes from having to readjust to the dark every time you turn out the light, but you’ll also keep other photographers happy if you’re shooting in a group.
Lensbender Freelensing Solution, $70
If you’ve ever wanted to try freelensing, the Lensbender might be your new BFF. It holds the lens for you so you can focus on your camera and get the shot. How cool is that?
ActiveOn Action Camera, $50
This teeny tiny action camera is perfect for taking on an adventure. Shoot full HD video or time-lapse photos, and try new techniques with the waterproof ActiveOn CX. Plus, you can Instagram your experiments with built-in Wi-Fi. For this price, we might get one in every color!
Analogbook Medium Format Notebook, $7
If you shoot film, you might need this notebook. It helps you record your camera settings for each shot so you can go back and review the data once you get your scans. Comes in 35mm format, too.
Holy Stone Drone with Wi-Fi, $100
Open up a whole new genre of photography and have tons of fun. Drones aren’t that expensive anymore, and aerial photography is super cool and growing in popularity. We think we’ll try it!
Click Photo School Breakout Sessions, $25 to $60
When you need a creative push but don’t have the budget for a class, a breakout is a great option. Click Photo School offers lots of great ones for under $60 (some are just $25).
DiCAPac WP-S10 Pro Waterproof Case, $75
Underwater photography is so much fun, but DSLR housings can cost an arm and a leg. Try a waterproof pouch or bag for a fraction of the cost. Pro tip: Always follow instructions and test any underwater bag or housing before trying it with your camera.
Waterproof Rain Cover for DSLR Cameras, $12
It’s like a raincoat for your camera! No more running inside on a rainy day or trying to hide under and umbrella with your camera. This cover keeps your gear protected. We love photography bargains that can save us money in the long run.
Holga Digital Camera, $90
You know the Holga is a fun little film camera, but did you know they make a digital version? We love the option to create the same fun, vintage-style images as film, but with the ease and convenience of digital. Plus, it’s super cute!
Selens Shockproof DSLR Camera Insert, $17
Turn any bag into a camera bag with a camera insert. This is such a great way to bring your camera anywhere and everywhere without giving up style or function. You won’t regret this photography bargain!
Senhai Triple 3-axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level, $9
Tired of having to crop out half of your image just to straighten a horizon in post? Try a hot-shoe level to get those lines straight in camera. Plus, you’ll never have to second guess whether your camera is mounted level on a tripod.
Outlite A100 Portable LED Flashlight, $12
It’s really true that the simplest things can lead to the best creative outcomes. You can do so much with a simple flashlight, like creating hard light, illuminating sleeping faces, light painting at night… Endless possibilities for just a few dollars.
Kelly Moore Riverdale Compact Crossbody Camera Bag, $79
Oooh, look at this cute little thing! The Riverdale is small and perfect for a day out with your mirrorless camera. We love that it’s vegan leather and that it comes in stylish mustard yellow and rose red.
BlackRapid Wrist Strap Breathe with FastenR5, $40
Is your neck tired? Try one of these breathable wrist straps from BlackRapid. You can easily take the strap on and off in seconds, which is just so handy for when you’re out and about or using a tripod.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, $58
What could be more fun than a colorful camera that spits out pocket-sized instant images? Take this along to your photo sessions and surprise clients with an unexpected instant bonus. You’ll be sure to win over the kids too!
Tell us your best budget-friendly photography bargains.
We wanna know! What are your go-to tools when money is tight? Do you own a super clever gadget we must have on our list? Or maybe you’ve found a way to DIY a creative solution? Whatever it is, we’d like to hear your favorite photography bargains. We love crowdsourcing and look forward to adding to our shopping list.