Photography equipment can get really expensive and if you’re a beginner you’ll probably want to start with a camera and lenses that are more affordable. With my knowledge of being a photographer for 3 years now I’ve put together this guide of photography equipment for beginners.
With Instagram and social media in general, everyone and their mom has become a photographer. The barriers to enter are pretty slim because all you need is a camera and a subject to photograph.
The difference between someone who just owns a camera and calls themselves a photographer and someone who is truly passionate about their craft is the drive to continuously shoot, discover your style, and get better equipment as you grow.
While photography can become an expensive hobby, everyone’s got to start from somewhere and there are a ton of different camera options to choose from that I will have to do a whole different post about.
I’ve been a freelance photographer for the past three years specializing in fashion and travel photography and have dabbled into street style and food photography. Within those years, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research to figure out what equipment I need to take my work to the next level.
Assuming you already have a DSLR camera and are looking to get some photography equipment for beginners without dropping too much green, here are five affordable photography equipment that every beginner needs.
Beginner Photography Essentials
You can’t take photos with a broken camera or lens, so it’s very important to get good housing for all your equipment especially if you travel with it a lot. When I was searching for a camera bag, I was looking for one that would help me compartmentalize and store all my equipment in a compact way.
I opted for the DSLR and Laptop backpack from AmazonBasics and it hasn’t let me down. The bag is lightweight, has a laptop sleeve, attachment for your tripod and customize-able interior, so you can tailor the bag to your needs. In addition, the quality is amazing and will surely last for years. Besides all those perks, the best part is the price at $39!
AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack – SHOP
50mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.4 lens
I can’t stress enough that the lens you use makes a bigger difference in the quality of your images than the type of camera body you use, so it’s better to invest in good lenses.
The first lens I purchased was the Canon 50mm f/1.8 for *$125 on Amazon and it literally changed the game for me. The 50mm is a fixed lens meaning you don’t have the ability to zoom in, but it’s great for portraits. The low aperture allows you to take photos in low light without too much grain and get a nice blurred background with your subject crisp and in focus.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can opt for the Canon 50mm f/1.4 which costs *$329 on Amazon and gives you even crisper images in low light and lots of blur in the background.
When I shot street style photography at New York Fashion Week in 2017, I used my 50mm f/1.8 and all the photos turned out amazing! Here’s a few of my favorites.
Depending on the type of photography you’re into, it’s important to have a good GorillaPod which will allow you to stabilize your camera without the use of a bulky tripod. GorillaPod’s are excellent because they give you the ability to wrap your camera around poles and fixtures and you can use it as a monopod to stabilize your footage if you’re shooting video.
Ever since I purchased the JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom with the Flexible Tripod Ball Head for *$49, I haven’t reached for my tripod. The JOBY GorillaPod is compact, durable, and really easy to travel with. In addition, it’s lightweight so you can have it on your camera while out and about without feeling like it’s weighing you down.
Depending on the kind of camera you have and how much it weighs will determine which type is best for you, but I would highly recommend the JOBY brand.
JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom with Tripod Ball Head – SHOP
I’ve used the JOBY GorillaPod a ton on my recent travels to stabilize my video footage and to take self portraits. Here are some of my most recent self portraits from my road trip across Texas.
Related: Southwest Roadtrip Snapshots
24mm f/2.8 lens
Along with the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8, I would highly advise anyone whose starting off as a travel or fashion photographer to add the 24mm f/2.4 lens for only *$129 to their kit. It is a fixed lens and the wide lens and low aperture allows you go get a lot more of the environment in the photo without creating a fish eye look which can be an issue with wide angle lenses and it shoots well in low light.
Another bonus is that this lens is crazy light which makes it super easy to use and travel with. A majority of my travel photos were shot on a 24mm f/2.8 as well as a few of my fashion photography shots.
Canon 24mm f/2.8 – SHOP
Here are some examples of shots I’ve got using a 24mm f/2.8:
High Speed Memory Card
Having a memory card with high data transfer speeds is super important if you plan on shooting in a fast pace environment where you need to get as many shots in a single moment.
If you have a slow processing memory card then your camera will buffer in the middle of the action to catch up and you will miss a lot of good photo opportunities.
It helps to know the transfer rate of your camera before investing in a expensive memory card, because if your camera only processes at 30MB but you use a memory card that processes at 300MB then you wasted your money.
Similarly, if your camera processes at 300MB but you use a 30MB memory card then you’re not taking full advantage of your camera.
Unless you’re shooting with one of the latest models of your camera, I would recommend a memory card with at least 64GB storage which holds between 1,000-2,000 images if you’re shooting in RAW (which you should be!) and 80MB speed to get you started. If you’re shooting video too then the amount of data you can store will be a lot less.
I’m familiar with the SanDisk brand and have never had an issue with their memory cards so those are the ones I will link.
If you don’t have a Canon camera, no worries because other brands have lenses that are equivalent, but the prices may vary. You could also get a lens mount adapter if you want to use lenses and camera body’s from different brands.
All links are shop-able to make it easy for you and I receive a small commission to help me expand my photography gear.
Did this post help you? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!
*Prices at the time this post was published