Photography can easily become an expensive hobby or profession.  We all want a break from the high price of equipment, so I've put together my top 10 items for under 25 bucks.  These items can be for yourself or perhaps a gift for that photographer in your life.  These items are in no particular order.  I should note, I too always feel the burn of buying gear, so the below links will toss a few bucks back my way if you purchase anything.  We all need all the help we can get, right?  :-)

1.  Gray / Grey card.  This small little item can become your best friend if you're working in difficult / mixed lighting conditions.  There is nothing worse then getting back to your computer and finding you've got a green color cast on your models skin because of the trees or grass that you didn't take into account.  Taking one photo with your subject holding one of these gray / grey cards could make the difference between fighting trying to get the colors right or one click and you're good to go.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

2. Lens Pen.  These handy little items are great for giving your lens a good cleaning.  Yes you could use a lens cloth, but sometimes the rear element of the lens is not easy to get to, but a lens pen will get in there and get your dust and fingerprints off your precious glass.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

3. Spray Bottle.  What?  Is this a mistake?  Nope.  If you enjoy taking pictures of flowers or other types of still life, having water drops on your object can make make a great photo into a spectacular photo.  How about in the studio?  Wild fly away hairs might be tamed with a small squirt from your water bottle.  You would be surprised how handy something so simple could be.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

4. Remote Shutter Release. This one is a little trickier.  You can get a cheap one for around $10 bucks, and they do work great, but if the budget allows, going up a few dollars, you can get on that is more versatile.  For a little over $25, you can get one that has features for doing longer exposures, multiple exposure, etc.  Multiple exposures can be fun for time lapse videos, blending exposures to simulate a long exposure in bright conditions, etc.  For someone doing landscapes, macros, etc., this is a must have tool.  For studio / portrait work, this tool isn't so important, but I still think everyone should have one for their bag.  My below links are not to a specific product, as you will need the right one for your camera, but the links will point you in the right direction.  If you're not sure what one you need, feel free to drop me a line, and I will do my best to help you out.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

5. Bulb Blower.  The lens pen is great for greasy finger prints or hard to remove dirt, but for that loose dirt, use a bulb blower first to remove all those loose particles.  You can also use one of these to blow dirt off your sensor, but honestly if you're not sure what you're doing, take it into the shop.  Cleaning your sensor can cause more bad then good if not done correctly.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

6. Hot Shoe Level.  An item like this will mostly be for a landscape shooter, but can also be handy in other applications.  You use one of these to make sure your camera is as level as possible.  This will save you having to straighten out your landscapes after the photo is taken.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

7. Flash Gels.  If you own a hot shoe flash, you can use these to light up your background or your subject with a variety of colors.  I think this is a must have for anyone who does any type of studio work, and wants to add a bit of variety to their images.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

8. 5 in 1 reflector.  I think in this list, this one if my favorite option that every photographer should have.  The only thing I can see it not being useful for is a landscape photographer.  For the portrait photographer it can add another light source to your setup, for the macro shooter, it can get light into where light wasn't possible before, especially if you don't have a flash.  You can use one of these to aim the light from a window to where you need it, or if something is outside in the shadows, you can get some light from a brighter area.  The possibilities are huge with a reflector.  Especially a 5 in 1.  They will usually have a white reflector for a not so harsh light, a silver reflector to really push light where you need it, a black reflector to cut light if needed, a gold reflector to give you a nice warm light and usually a translucent material that can be used as a scrim.  If you don't own one of these, just get one!

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

9. Gaffers Tape.  Similar to duct tape, but doesn't leave the residue that duct tape can.  This is great for keeping your white seamless on the floor, taping down power cables so people don't trip over them, holding up misc items because you forgot a clamp, etc.  This is another one of those items that I'd highly recommend be in your bag.

 

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here

10. Eneloop batteries.  Yes you can get cheap AA / AAA batteries, but the Eneloop batteries are highly regarded among photographers.  They can be used in some cameras, your flash units, remote triggers, your LED Flashlights, etc.  Eneloops just work, they hold their charge on the shelf, and are always ready to go when you are.  If you have accessories that use AA or AAA batteries, then this is another one of my top picks that you should have.

Canada - Click Here

USA - Click Here