Making the leap from taking photos with a point-and-shoot or your mobile phone to getting serious with a camera body, lenses, a tripod, and other gear is serious business.
For starters, photography gear can be expensive...really expensive.
And secondly, there's simply a ton of gear out there to choose from.
That means it can be hard to narrow it all down to the basic essentials of what gear you need as a beginner photographer.
That's where the video above comes in.
Have a look, and follow along as professional photographer Benjamin Jaworskyj offers his tips for the first five things you should buy.
I've summarized each piece of gear below for quick reference.
A Wide Aperture Prime Lens
Prime lenses - those with a fixed focal length - offer a variety of benefits to photographers.
They produce sharper photos than zoom lenses. They also tend to have a smaller form factor than zooms, which makes them easier to maneuver.
Prime lenses also tend to have wide maximum apertures, like f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, and so forth.
Big apertures like these allow tons of light into the lens, meaning they perform very well in low-light conditions (like shooting indoors without much light).
Shooting at a wide aperture also enables you to blur the background of portraits, giving them an artistic (and professional!) look.
Editor's Tip: Among the least expensive prime lenses is the 50mm f/1.8, which can be found for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other major camera brands for less than $200 brand new. For even more savings, shop pre-owned lenses by clicking here.
Backup Battery and Memory Card
Obviously, having a backup battery is a no-brainer. The last thing you want is to be out taking photos and have your battery die on you without being able to swap it out.
On the memory card front, you not only need a backup for the same reason, but you also need to buy a fast memory card.
That's because the faster the card's write speed, the better the performance when you shoot in RAW (which you should always do) and when you shoot in continuous or burst mode.
All that data takes time to write to the card, but you can minimize that time with a fast one. The faster the card, the more photos you can take!
When I first started in photography, I never used a tripod because I felt like it slowed me down.
But that's part of the point with using a tripod...
Not only does it give your camera a stable base to get sharper photos, but it also forces you to take a moment to think about the composition and framing of the shot.
Though it might sound crazy, even taking 10 extra seconds to be sure that you've got the camera settings nailed down, the focus right, and so forth, can make a huge impact on how good your photos look.
Editor's Tip: You don't have to spend a ton of money to get a high-quality tripod that will last you for years and years to come. Find budget-friendly tripods here.
If you're carrying your new camera gear around in your purse, a laptop bag, or a backpack (like I did), you're doing it all wrong.
A dedicated camera bag is a critical piece of equipment if you want to ensure that your camera gear is protected.
Not only does a camera bag provide your gear protection from damage with padded inserts and cubbies that keep each piece of gear separate from one another, but a camera bag can also provide protection from theft with dual enclosures, clips, clasps, and so forth that keep prying hands out of your bag.
High-end camera bags can even pull double-duty, with removable camera inserts that allow you to use the bag as a carry-on or weekend bag when you aren't taking your photography gear along with you.
Additionally, a well-designed camera bag will make for a more comfortable carrying experience with features like padded shoulder straps to help soften the weight of the bag.
Image Editing Program
A last thing that every beginner photographer needs is an image editing program.
Learning how to process your images is nearly as important as learning how to take proper images in the first place.
Processing your images can bring out colors and contrast, help you overcome crooked horizons, crop images to your liking, and gives you a way to add your personal style and aesthetic to your photographs.
It's a good idea to try to get the image as spot-on as you can when you take it instead of relying on programs like Photoshop to help you correct tons of mistakes.
Nevertheless, it's good knowledge and skills to have so you can bring your photos to life.
Editor's Tip: Get tons of post-processing tips and tricks in this collection of resources.