10 Budget-Friendly Photography Accessories For Father’s Day Gifts

10 Budget Friendly Photography Accessories for Father's Day Gifts

It can be hard to come up with something original for Father’s Day and still have money in your wallet, but if your dad is a photo enthusiast, there are actually quite a few photography accessories that won’t break your Father’s Day gift budget. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite photo accessories and they’re all under $25; many of them are under $10! These are high value, low cost tools any photographer can use, regardless of their expertise or type of photography they do. These accessories, aside from being inexpensive, will help protect Dad’s gear and even improve his photography. You could even put together a gift basket with several of these tools. Or get them for yourself! Here’s my list of favorite budget-friendly camera accessories, in random order.

1. Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release Trigger

Foto & Tech wireless remote shutter control
For self portraits and group photos, pick up a wireless shutter remote control to trigger your shutter release

This little gadget will help you take selfie portraits and allow you to get in a group photo by triggering the shutter release remotely. The Foto & Tech Wireless Remote Control works for a distance of up to about 16 feet and is for Nikon users. If you’re a Canon user, try the IR Wireless Shutter Remote Control, compatible with most Canon DSLRs.

2. 18% Grey Card

18% Grey Cards for correct white balance and exposure
Grey Cards help you set the correct white balance and provide a reference for the proper exposure

While you can fix white balance in post-processing, why not get it right in camera? A medium (18%) grey card is an inexpensive way to help you get the proper white balance and exposure. In certain light situations, your camera can be fooled and over- or under-expose your shots. With this Mennon Gray Card Set, you use the grey side as a reference for exposure metering, while the white side helps you get the right white balance.

3. Lens and Camera Cleaning Kit

This isn’t just handy, it’s a necessity. You’ve gotta keep your gear clean. Your lens, as well as the camera body, will soon get coated in dust and fingerprints. Luckily there are loads of cleaning kits available including lens cloths, lens wipes, a bulb blower to blow the dust off, and a microfiber cloth to clean the camera body too. VSGO makes some good ones. Another one I like is Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit.

A lens and camera cleaning kit is a must.
Altura Professional Photo Cleaning Kit can help keep your lens and body free of dust and fingerprints

4. Battery Holder

If you’ve ever gotten confused over which battery is charged or had them flying all over your camera bag, then you need this. The one I have is the Think Tank Photo DSLR Battery Holder. This very popular product holds 4 batteries and is compatible with most DSLR batteries.

The Think Tank battery holder case keeps your camera batteries in order
This Think Tank battery holder case holds 4 batteries

5. Bubble Level

If your tripod doesn’t have a bubble level or you’re trying to level your camera on a rock or other uneven surface, a bubble level that mounts on your hot shoe is a cheap solution. Here is a three-axis spirit bubble level for Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Nikon, and other DSLRs. Why 3-axis? Because it has 3 different bubble levels to provide more precise leveling. Be sure to read the list of models to make sure it’s compatible with your camera.

A bubble level is great to even your horizon when you don't have one on your tripod
This odd looking thing is a bubble level that fits in your camera’s hot shoe

6. Memory Card Case

While memory cards come in big GB sizes, it’s always smart to have more than one. And if you carry multiple memory cards, a card case can protect them and keep them organized. You can find hard cases, soft cases, and waterproof memory cards. For my needs, a basic soft case works just fine and the one I found by Think Tank is lightweight and compact and budget-friendly.

Get a memory card case like this one from Think Tank to safely hold your SD cards.
The Think Tank Memory Card Case holds 9 SD cards and is compact enough to fit in your pocket

7. Reflector

If you enjoy taking natural light outdoor portraits, a reflector is a must when you’re stuck in the bright, midday sun. It will help bounce light onto your subject’s face and soften shadows, avoiding a face full of shadows and harsh light. Your best bet is a 5-in-one foldable reflector. Do yourself a favor and get a large one, like this Selens 43″ foldable 5-in-one. It has black, white, gold, silver and translucent sides for different lighting situations. It also has handles, which help keep the grip when it’s windy. If you get one that’s too small you will likely regret it because it will be hard to evenly light your subject.

a set of 5 in 1 reflectors will help bounce light onto your subject's face.
A 43-inch 5-in-1 Reflector like this one will help bounce and fill in light

#8 Lens Cleaner Pen

Only so much is going to fit in your camera bag, so instead of hauling your lens cleaning kit with you, tuck in a small cleaning pen like this one from Lens Pen. It has a carbon cleaning compound (no fluids to leak), it’s non-toxic and you can use the soft, retractable natural brush to clean your camera lenses as well as binoculars, telescope lenses and eye pieces.

Use a retractable lens pen to safely clean your camera lenses
A lens cleaner pen with retractable brush is a compact, easy-to-carry too to remove lens dust

#9 Small LED Flashlight

There are lots of uses for a small LED maglite. Try light drawing and painting at night, use it to find something in your bag in dim light, or even use it as an emergency off-camera flash outdoors. Trust me, you’ll soon find a use for a Maglite Mini LED with adjustable beam focusing.

A small LED Maglite is useful for light painting at night or finding stuff in your bag
A mini Maglite LED is a multi-tasking photographer’s tool

10. Bulb Blower

A bulb blower is helpful for producing a quick, powerful blast of air to remove sand and dust from your camera, lens or filter. I recommend you do this before wiping your lens. This way, you’ll have removed any large particles that could scratch your lens before you wipe it. While some lens cleaning kits come with one, they tend to be wimpy. This rubber Rocket Air Blaster from Giottos is top-notch.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster for removing lens dust
Giottos Rocket Air Blaster shoots a powerful blast of air to clean sand and dust off your lens, camera and filters.

While there are many other low-cost camera accessories (you need something to balance out the high price of your camera and lenses, right?), the above are the ones I’m finding very useful right now. What’s your favorite camera accessory? Tell me in the comments section below what it is and why you love it.

To help defray my website operating costs I belong to several affiliate programs.  In some instances, I may receive a  small commission for products viewed or purchased via my referral. Opinions are solely my own and I try my best to write honest reviews and only recommend products I use myself.  

Posted in Father's Day | Tagged camera accessories | Leave a comment

Easy Canvas Prints Review: Quality at Discount Prices

Easy Canvas Prints review

Lately, I’ve become kind of addicted to making canvas prints because they add such a great spot of color to my house without costing a fortune. My home office sports a canvas featuring the Croatian island of Hvar, and next on my agenda was a canvas picture for our family room. We now have a beautiful custom-size canvas hanging on our wall from Easy Canvas Prints, reviewed below.

Custom Dimensions

The screensaver on my cellphone is of a photo I took in Cavtat, Croatia, near Dubrovik. I just love the picture and kept thinking it would look great on the narrow wall of our family room/dining area. But it’s a strong vertical and most of the canvas printers I looked at didn’t offer a size that would work without chopping off the top or bottom. So I did some more searching for canvas wall art that offered custom dimensions. I stumbled on Easy Canvas Prints, based in Austin, TX, which offers a good variety of standard sizes as well as custom measurements at reasonable prices.

Rich Colors

My print is amazing. I was a touch dubious because the prices are deeply discounted (about 87% off the “regular” price). My 30″ x 18″ canvas with 1.5″ mirror gallery wrap was $54.55 plus tax and shipping ($9.99). This was a custom size; if you choose the most popular size, 16×20, a canvas would cost about $34 plus tax/shipping including 1.5″ gallery wrap and dust cover.

I was happy to find that my canvas arrived in about a week and it came out great with rich, saturated colors and tight canvas and corners. The canvas has a semi-gloss finish and the color reproduction looks just like what I saw on my computer screen.

Easy Canvas Prints offers custom sizes, so I could create a long, narrow canvas for this wall
Easy Canvas Prints offers custom sizes, so I could create a long, narrow canvas for this wall

Canvas Options

The ordering process was fast, I just uploaded my JPEG and typed in my custom dimensions. You have a choice of a standard wrap .75″ wrap or 1.5″ gallery wrap, which I highly recommend because it looks more “arty” and finished. If you plan to frame it, the regular .75″ is fine. There are also several frame options you can add on.

You can preview your canvas in 3D to see how the sides and edges will look.

Easy Canvas Prints only offers a mirror wrap, which is where the image reflects like a mirror as it wraps around the edges. This is usually a good thing because about 2 inches of the edge of your photo is duplicated and wrapped around the sides of the canvas so you don’t lose any part of your photo on the front. If you don’t want mirror wrap, you can choose black, white or grey borders. Dust covers are available for a small extra charge. You can also create photo collages and multi-canvas wall displays.

Canvas sizes and prices, including custom dimensions

Canvas Sizes

If you’re wanting to create a very large canvas, perhaps for above your sofa, you’re in luck. Easy Canvas offers custom sizes including very large canvases up to 60″ x 40.” Standard prints are available in the following dimensions:


The company also offers metal prints, although I feel Mixbook offers great quality at better prices on their metal prints. You can read my metal print review here.

Little Quibbles

Overall the website was easy to navigate. I was a tad confused about the hanging hardware, mainly because it wasn’t immediately clear what was included. During the ordering process, I was given the option of a hook to put in the wall or a “wall hanging system.” I didn’t want either one so I wasn’t sure what the default was or if it came totally bare. What I received was a canvas with a saw-tooth hanger already mounted, which was actually just what I wanted. It was probably just me being dense, as I did find mounting info later on their pricing page.

You won’t find frills like a photo editor, special filters and effects (other than B&W or Sepia), or retouching services. But what you will get is a high-quality canvas at a very good price.

With a fast turnaround, reasonable prices and quality, I would definitely use Easy Canvas Prints again. It’s a great way to decorate your home or office on a budget.

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Review: Mixbook Metal Prints Add Sleek, Classy Touch to Decor

Mixbook's metal prints are easy to create and add a brilliant touch of color to your home décor.

After a very wet, dreary winter, I felt like it was time to celebrate spring by sprucing up our master bathroom décor. Not just change the towels, but update the artwork and jazz up the color. My usual go-to for one-of-a-kind, reasonably priced art is to create a canvas print from one of our travel photos. Sadly, the moisture factor makes canvas a bit dodgy for the bathroom. Then I thought of Mixbook’s custom metal prints. They’re perfect for a bathroom! Nothing to mildew and any water splashing from the sink will wipe right off.

What You Need to Know About Metallic Prints

Metal prints from Mixbook are high-resolution photos printed on light-weight aluminum panels. The advantage of printing on metal versus canvas is that metal is pretty much indestructible. It’s unlikely to fade, stain or yellow and you don’t have to worry about water spots or dust because you can just wipe them off. You also get sharper detail than canvas, and intense color.

Choose an image that has high contrast and good saturation, and you can really make it pop on metal. A black and white photo would also look stunning. For my print, I chose a photo from our trip to Croatia, where it was pretty hard to take a bad picture. We had a nice shot from the island of Korcula showing incredibly clear blue water and a lone small boat. The gorgeous aqua sea would really stand out on metal and bring a bit of Croatia to our bathroom.

After uploading my digital image to their website, Mixbook transferred it to thin metal and I received our print in a few days. This is my first time ordering a metal print. While I had an idea of what it would be like, I was surprised at how glossy and colorful it is. I don’t feel like it lost any vibrancy with the transfer to metal. In fact, the colors are even richer than the print of the same image in our photo book. The color reproduction is right on, and the water looks so inviting. And who wouldn’t like to bring the warmth of the beach into their house!

My metal print from Mixbook floats off the wall. The colors are striking and the print adds a lot of atmosphere to our bathroom.

The print is frameless with curved corners so there are no sharp edges. It’s sleek looking and adds a nice modern feel to our master bath.

Nixbook's metal prints have rounded edges
The prints have rounded, smooth edges

It’s quite light and came ready to hang with a wall mount that makes the print float about .5 inch away from the surface. Mixbook says they use a glossy, waterproof finish that’s less likely to scratch. It looks like it will be super easy for me to clean fingerprints or dust—or random water splotches and errant hairspray—with a soft damp cloth.

mixbook'smetal prints come with a wall mount

The back of the print has a wall mount that allows it to float about a half-inch from the wall.

Since they’re moisture-resistant as well as fade-resistant, you can decorate with metal prints outdoors as well. So aside from a bathroom or an office, or any other indoor area you want, you could incorporate them into your covered patio décor. Something for me to think about as summer approaches.

Design Options: Flat or Curved

Mixbook offers metal prints in 7 sizes (either portrait or landscape):


The large metal prints are flat and come ready to hang; as I mentioned, they come with an attached wall mount so they’ll float on the wall. With the smaller sizes, you can choose a standalone curved print for your table or desktop or an easel back. The larger prints, 20×16” and up, are flat only.

The Design Process

Like creating canvas prints, designing and ordering my metal print was simple. I uploaded my high-resolution jpeg to Mixbook, chose my print size and orientation, and dragged my photo onto the canvas in the editor. The company’s full array of editing and design tools are available, including crop, zoom, rotate, flip, plus brightness, saturation, and contrast adjustments. You can add effects like b&w or sepia or other color effects.

Also, just like with Mixbook’s canvas prints and photo books (read my Mixbook photo book review here), you can choose to have a single image or a multiple image layout and you can also add backgrounds and stickers.

I surprised my husband with the print and he was thrilled. Croatia was one of our favorite trips ever, so having a gorgeous metallic print of one of our favorite spots hanging on our bathroom wall is a good way to bring back those memories every day.

Metal, Canvas or Acrylic Prints

In addition to canvas and metal prints, Mixbook also offer acrylic prints. These would also work well in most locations, including areas that get a lot of moisture like a bathroom or kitchen, because of its glass-like finish. Go to Mixbook to learn more about their metal prints and other home décor prints.

To help defray my website operating costs I belong to several affiliate programs.  In some instances, I may receive a  small commission for products viewed or purchased via my referral. I received a credit from Mixbook that helped pay for my print. Opinions are solely my own and I try my best to write honest reviews and only recommend products I use myself.  

Posted in Reviews | Tagged metal prints, mixbook | 1 Comment