What Photography Equipment Do I Need

By | 12/10/2022

Essential Photography Equipment For Beginners

April 23rd, 2021

fuji digital camera and lenses

When starting out, long earlier creating a portfolio website to sell photos online, you’ll accept invested a expert corporeality of money in photography equipment. While watching some pro photographers offering their insights on the best gear to go started with a photography business, I was surprised to hear what they considered the essential equipment for beginner photographers.

More often than not, I was surprised to hear that anyone would find information technology reasonable to put in such a massive investment in equipment just to get started in the business.

In this example…

  • $800+ Full frame/DLR/Mirrorless camera torso
  • $1000+ 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens
  • $1100+ 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens

Plus accessories such as an external flash ($300+), SD cards, hard drives, tripods…

And a backup camera…!

And that is simply to get started!

This ways y’all’re expecting to spend $3500+ only to become started with a basic kit as a photographer.

This is no basic kit. This is the dream kit that you can work toward as more work comes your manner. You can always invest more in your business later getting started as long every bit your initial investment is optimized for growth.

Unless you have a trust fund sitting effectually collecting dust, or set up up a business plan to present to your bank to accept out a loan, this only isn’t applied. Most photographers I’ve known don’t start with anything close to this when they are strategizing how to get started as a professional photographer.

Pro tip: Your gear needs might exist drastically different if yous are shooting a mural, wedding, sports, etc…

Permit’s begin by saying – whether you lot are buying new or used, y’all can get the absolute essentials for starting your photography business at a fraction of the cost recommended by established professionals recommending the biggest sensor, the widest range of fast zooms, etc., etc.

In the commencement: Film to Digital

woman reflected in mirror while holding camera
Photo credit: Katie H

With so many choices out there, it’due south hard to know where to wait when information technology comes to getting started as a lensman. Which brand? Which kind of camera? What’s a crop sensor? There are some rules of thumb that tin can definitely aid yous narrow things down.

To give you some context, when I was growing upwardly, you lot could withal buy film SLR cameras at Best Buy. The first camera that I didn’t have to share was a Canon Rebel XT, which took 35mm film and had to be developed before you lot could run across how the epitome turned out.

At that time, and for the generations before me, digital versions of cameras similar this were multiple thousands of dollars for cameras with 2-5 MP (Megapixels). Information technology was the latest tech, and it was priced appropriately.

Similar about tech, though, the price came downward through the years. Digital SLRs, or DSLRs for curt, is the most pop photography format for amateur and professional photographers, and have been for at least a decade now.

For the generation that comes after me, the latest innovation – mirrorless cameras – presents even more exciting possibilities. So let’southward take a look at the high points of contemporary photo gear, and meet what the best options are for aspiring photographers looking to brand their initial investment. Betwixt the photographic camera’s lens and time spent developing your own eye for it, that’southward exactly what it is – an investment!

Photography is an investment of time, money, and passion.

If you plan to take yourself seriously as a lensman, you have to have at least a niggling scrap of each of these things!

It’ll have some time for you to master the technique. Information technology’ll take some coin to go a dedicated photographic camera instead of relying on your smartphone. Information technology’ll accept passion for yous to keep shooting, and to take the motivation to reach out to people and be open to opportunities to meliorate your skills.

What Not To Buy: Point- and- Awwww-Shoot!

cell phone camera taking image of succulents

Unless yous’re just wanting to take some photos while you’re traveling or share snapshots with friends and family, yous’ll want to avert point-and-shoot cameras. These are digital cameras that don’t allow yous to change to a dissimilar lens. By and large, they have a zoom lens and a smaller sensor size. Often, they don’t have much more than to offer than the camera in your prison cell phone.

This ways that, outset, you won’t be able to brand prints from the photos at large sizes in many cases unless the lighting in the image is perfect, and the print is not too big. Information technology also means that, rather than actually zooming in optically (via the lens mechanics), the zoom is happening digitally. Essentially, the wider view of the film is cropped past the “digital zoom” of the lens. This results in blurry and pixelated images when they are blown upward for large prints.

While there are notable exceptions to this rule, it’south a improve investment of your difficult-earned cash to purchase a camera yous can grow with, and point-and-shoot cameras aren’t the best for this.

Investing in yourself: Choosing the best photography gear to grow with

Kickoff, a list of essentials that yous’ll need no matter what specific model or item you lot choose:

Beginner Essentials:

  • Camera trunk
  • Lens
  • Retentiveness menu

No thing what, you have to have at least these iii things to take photos worth paying for.

  • Tripod (stabilize and compose shots)
  • Lens filter (protect lens glass)
  • Bag (protect gear and brand transport easier)
  • Actress battery/memory cards (obvious reasons!)
  • Additional lenses (for a multifariousness of compositions)

Bodies that Work

A couple of major things to consider when information technology comes to where you want to start with your gear.


Megapixels are the number of pixels recorded in an epitome by your photographic camera. sixteen Megapixels ways xvi million pixels. That said, they aren’t the just quality concern for image quality. That’south because it’south the sensor that is also important, too megapixels.

The sensor is the technology in the camera recording the pixels that could be corking in low low-cal, or weak in low lite. It could be large and record quality detail in the pixels, or be a very pocket-sized sensor, like the i in your telephone, that becomes pixelated with as well much treatment similar your favorite memes.


The sensor is the prototype processor of the digital camera and is analogous to the individual picture negative. For the camera body, the most accessible formats to go started will exist “crop-sensor” cameras, APS-C, DX (Nikon), or something similar. More expensive digital camera bodies are chosen “full frames” as they accept the same image area as a 35mm film photographic camera.

Basically, this means the “prototype area” of your shot is cropped in slightly from the same area on an equivalent 35mm film frame on a movie photographic camera. This doesn’t impact your image, except that, generally speaking, y’all’ll accept a harder time making much larger prints (think 20×30 and in a higher place) from APS-C ingather images.

It also means that a 50mm lens volition look the aforementioned on a full-frame camera and a 35mm photographic camera, only will look “cropped in” on an APS-C camera.

These types of cameras will have the virtually flexibility with the number of lenses yous have to choose from, as you can use lenses made specifically for the ingather-sensor, also as higher-quality lenses made for full-frame cameras. You wouldn’t desire to apply a crop-sensor lens on a full-frame body.

Near mutual photography brands acquit an APS-C crop sensor entry-level DSLR. Canon’southward popular Insubordinate series, or 7D and 80D cameras, will be APS-C DSLR cameras. Nikon’s D500, forth with their 7000, 5000, and 3000 series cameras, will also be DX. Many of the Fuji Mirrorless lines volition take APS-C sensors and the same with Sony’s a6000 serial.

Speaking of mirrorless…

DSLR vs. Mirrorless

Digital interchangeable-lens cameras come up in two major varieties:

  • DSLR: these give you lot a view of the scene from inside of a viewfinder by manner of a mirror inside the photographic camera body
  • Mirrorless cameras: these show you a digital view of the image you will become in either an Electronic View Finder (EVF) or with the screen on the back of the camera.

If you’re interested in learning more about manual exposure settings, Shutter Speed (1/125, 1/500 meaning that fraction of a second); discontinuity (f/2.8, f/five.half dozen, f/xi); and ISO (100, 400, 1600) and how each of these affects your epitome, it might be worth looking into a mirrorless system. This is considering the electronic view of your image will be plain to run across and already “interpreted” in the viewfinder or on the screen; you don’t have to have the shot to observe out how it affects your epitome (except for movement, with the shutter speed.)

On that note there are options outside of the crop-sensor world that contain the benefits of mirrorless shooting.

For example, Panasonic’s LUMIX series of mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras accept a slightly smaller micro 4/iii sensor (smaller than the APS-C or crop sensor) and are nifty cameras for getting your feet wet. The DMC-G85 and G7 are popular and highly rated and have a very attainable toll indicate especially if you want to have powerful video capabilities as well.

Good Glass is Good Glass

Most mod bodies will have a “kit” lens that will come up along with information technology if y’all choose the option. This often means the almost barebones, entry-level, the basic lens will be included. It’ll probable have a bit of zoom, and won’t be excellent in low-calorie-free situations.

This is a fine identify to start, though! That said, if you find a groovy bargain on a photographic camera body, y’all might consider researching a good “prime” lens for you lot. Prime number lenses won’t allow you to zoom (they will be fixed at 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm, etc) but by and large the optics – the translation of light through the lens to the image sensor – will exist cleaner, sharper, and college quality.

On a full-frame, 35mm camera equivalent, 50mm looks most the same as the natural view that your eyes take when looking at the world. Anything longer than that – 85mm prime, or 70-200mm zoom lens is considered a
lens (zooms closer in); anything less – like a 24mm prime, or 16-35mm zoom, is considered
wide angle
and approaches a wider view to the betoken of a fish-eye effect in the widest lenses (8mm, 10mm, etc)

succulents and camera lenses

You will also have more flexibility to go a
shallow depth of field
offered by the prime lens’s “aperture” (f/one.8 vs the lowest on a usual kit lens might exist around f/3.five). This means yous can get blurrier backgrounds once you lot know what you are doing. Even if you DO know, if you are shooting on a lens that doesn’t permit it, you’re not enjoying the benefits of a expert glass.

Exercise a proficient bit of enquiry before deciding which lens is best for you, and rent one before buying to give it a examination run, if you can. If there’due south a skilful 35mm prime lens, and you know it will piece of work for both a crop-sensor and a full-frame camera, then yous know the glass is drinking glass that will do a meliorate job of holding its value and can grow with you, too!

In Determination – The Essential Camera Equipment For Beginners:

  • Get something reasonably current – a fifteen+ Megapixel body, either APS-C/crop sensor or Micro 4/3 photographic camera body with an interchangeable lens organisation
  • If you can splurge on it, you’ll enjoy the mirrorless for learning exposure
  • Combine that with a lens or two – it’s fine to start with a kit lens, simply if yous practice invest in a smashing lens to go you started, it’s non a bad investment as they tend to concur their value
  • If yous tin can, for your own growth, invest in a Prime number lens (or even dare to become for a Prime instead of the kit lens!) – 50mm lenses are probably the most pop (and tend to exist less expensive); 35mm is wider, whole 85mm lenses are go-to’s for portrait photographers!
  • Get the necessary SD card, and budget a trivial extra for yourself for those recommended accessories like an extra battery and card, filter to protect your glass investment, a bag to carry everything, and a tripod to stabilize your shots

All in all, with these tips taken into consideration, you can easily come in below the $1000 price indicate to get started and be able to take shots people are willing to pay you for.

Katie has been a photographer for 20 years, primarily as an amateur (“for the love of”).
She worked for an independent camera store for 2.5 years providing guidance and expertise on photography gear for new, amateur, and professional photographers.

Self-proclaimed lite-lover. Photographic passions. Lifelong educatee of artful wisdom. Studied under master photographers Maritza Molina and Julia Cybularz. Bachelorette of movie arts and philosophy. You lot tin detect her on Instagram @lamblyoptic. Photo credit: Carol Abken

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Source: https://zenfolio.com/blog/essential-photography-equipment-for-beginners/