Photography can become an equipment-heavy craft, with many photographers focusing more on gear than the art itself. I’ve gotten caught up in this from time to time as well, having spent hundreds of dollars on things that served no purpose.

Luckily for us, there are also tons of genuinely useful photography accessories that we can purchase right at the dollar store. Here are five of my favorite go-to photography items, all purchased from the dollar store.

Top five

1. Poster board

It would be a crime not to lead off with a poster board. You would be hard-pressed not to find a more versatile and consistently useful item. Not only can you get a plain white poster board that is perfect to use a reflector, but there are numerous other colors that are great for backdrops and or flat lay images. I even use poster board to create colored lights, without gels.

2. Instant Tac

Indispensable for photographers, especially wedding and macro photographers who need a discreet way to keep small things in place while they are photographed.

3. Extension cords and power bars

I never go to a shoot without one of these in my bag. Every photographer needs one of these on hand.

4. Mailing envelopes and bubble wrap

This is great for mailing things to clients or if I have sold gear and need to mail it. I have also used bubble wrap at the studio when storing equipment.

5. Clamps

This is another must-have for me while on set. I have used these to hold up backdrops, clamp reflectors to light stands and even clamp model’s clothes or hair. While these might not be the greatest clamps out there, they sure work.

Creative props

Not only can you get essential things for photography — you can also get some great props to use for getting creative with your photography. Here are three things to help you get a little more creative.

1. Colored lights

Light painting is one of my favorite ways to get creative in my photography. Not only can you make cool abstract art when light painting — you can also light paint your subject during their portrait. The Dollar Store is my first stop when needing light painting equipment. They have a variety of little knickknacks that light up, especially around Halloween.

2. Fake flowers

There are tons of uses for flowers in photography. These are great for practicing macro photography. Or, you could make one of those famous flower walls or a flower crown. The possibilities are endless.

3. Accessories

I’m always on the lookout for photogenic accessories whether that’s a scarf, hat, necklace or something fun. They always have cheap things I can use.

Dollar stores can be a great resource for photographers. They let you expand your technical and creative possibilities without breaking the bank! I’ve bought feathers, mirrors, candles, paint, tablecloths, stickers and jewels from The Dollar Store, all to use for photography.

What creative things can you find at your local dollar store?