I spent almost all weekends for photography, becoming better at photography is a life long study, you learn a new thing every day since there are too many factors deciding the output. Below are some important accessories that will help you take better pictures.
Not only do they offer protection from breakage, lens hoods also help prevent unwanted light that reflects on the lens or in the lens barrel. you don't have to worry about extra storage for them since they fit perfectly in reverse over the lens.
Most often used lens filters are UV filters that protect the lens from harsh UV rays and this is one area that spending some extra money for a quality product would be a wise decision. Circular polarizers cut down on glare and they also make colours more vibrant, especially on a very bright sunny day, the sky often becomes pale; with the circular polarizer, the blue in sky comes out and so does the green and other colors. Neutral density filters or ND filters allows slower shutter speed with a wide aperture, they are used for shots to prevent the sky from over exposing. Variable neutral density filters are increasing in popularity since the values can be dialed in the density right on the filter by turning the end clock-wise or counter clock-wise.
A good way to make sure your shots are stable is to use a tripod. There are many things to look before you decide to buy one, steady tripods are cumbersome to carry but they can hold more heavy gear, in contrast light tripods are easier to carry, but they won't be able to hold heavier gear and may tip over in unfavorable circumstances. More importantly though is the type of the head that is mounted on the tripod; Manfrotto for example allows you to purchase different heads for their tripods, not every head is right for everyone, so be sure to take your camera with you when you go to purchase.
Shooting action shots, but if you don't want to carry around a heavy tripod, monopods are a good alternative, they don't typically have a head, and attach directly to the camera body or the lens collar. Especially usefull when using long heavy telephoto lenses, even if your wide aperture telephoto lens have image stabilisation, its still a great idea to use a monopod for those important shots.
Remotes are valuable for many different reasons, they allow you to set your camera on a tripod to let you take your own photo with a wireless remote. There are also corded remotes that can be used for long exposure photography like fireworks. Even if you have your camera on your tripod, there is still movement when you press the shutter button with your finger, so its best to use remote for those delicate exposure settings.
Battery grips allows you to use a second battery which aids in your battery life, they allows you to keep a consistent grip when shooting portrait and landscape modes. You also get a second shutter button for shooting in portrait directions, it also helps balance your shot when using heavier lenses.