- Additional lenses
- External hard drive
- Gray card
- External flash
- Wireless shutter remote
- Power bank
- Light meter
- Camera clip
- Photo editing software
photo by ugurhan via iStock
As a beginning photographer, I know that all the different gear out there can be intimidating and overwhelming. How on earth are you supposed to know what you absolutely need and what you don’t?
Lot’s of equipment is only necessary if you are an advanced photographer or if you are shooting very specific types of photography, however, some things are critical whether you have a lifetime of experience or you just bought a camera today!
That’s why I wrote this article covering essential photography gear every beginner needs in their bag. Keep reading to find out what the five items are that you should have on you all the time without fail.
Spare Batteries are Essential Photography Gear
photo by anantachat via iStock
When you buy a new camera, it comes with one battery. However, with the average battery lasting only about 400 shots, most of you will find it is essential to always carry more.
Depending on the type of photography you do, one extra may be sufficient, but you may find you require many more. Personally, I never leave the house with less than five fully charged spares in my bag.
Lucky for you, spare batteries are both inexpensive and lightweight. If you want an insider tip, don’t hesitate to buy them from a third-party or a used gear dealer. I have used batteries from more companies than I can count, and the third-party ones have worked equally as well every time!
Trust me, nothing is worse than having your camera run out of juice in the middle of a shoot. It’s happened to every single one of us, but it usually only takes once to learn the importance of always carrying fully charged spares in your bag.
Don’t Forget the Memory Cards
photo by MomentousPhotoVideo via iStock
Without a memory card, your camera won't be able to take pictures! That makes it without a doubt one of the most essential pieces of gear to keep in your bag at all times. Ideally, you should always carry at least one extra as well. You never know what can happen, and you don’t want to find yourself being in a situation where you are unable to shoot.
When buying a memory card, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
First, not all cameras use the same memory card format. Make sure you buy one that is compatible with your specific camera make and model.
Lastly, what is the speed of the memory card? If you want to shoot raw files or video with your camera, you will need a faster card.
Essential Photography Gear for Beginners: A Reliable Tripod
photo by shilh via iStock
A reliable tripod is an important part of every beginner photographer's kit. No matter what type of photography you shoot, there will be times when a tripod is crucial.
You may find yourself thinking to yourself that you don’t really need one, that you can shoot everything by hand. That may be true for you most of the time, but the truth is, there are certain situations where using a tripod is the only way to achieve the shot you want.
Landscape, macro, and astrophotography are a few situations when you will almost always be better off using a tripod. If there’s poor lighting or you want to create a long exposure, you will also need a tripod in order to obtain a crystal clear image.
Additionally, they are great for capturing photos of you whenever you may find yourself shooting alone!
Invest in Good Filters
photo by IGOR SVETLICHNYI via iStock
Using creative filters is a wonderful way to both protect your lenses and improve your photography! UV, ND, and Polarizing filters are three filters every photographer should always keep in their bag.
UV filters, or clear filters as they are also known, are excellent for protecting your lenses. I recommend using a good quality glass filter, as lower quality ones can often significantly affect the clarity of your photos.
ND, or Neutral Density filters, help to reduce the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor. They are useful when shooting in extremely bright light, such as at midday, and can make sure your photos don’t end up overexposed.
Polarizing filters are probably the most used filter by many, especially landscape and nature photographers. They help to decrease or eliminate reflections, and naturally enhance colors. They are an awesome tool for shooting skies, waterfalls, or plants!
A Camera Cleaning Kit is Essential Photography Gear
photo by Olga Gubskaya via iStock
No matter how hard you try to keep your camera clean and in perfect condition, things happen.
For example, have you ever noticed any tiny black spots in your photos when you view them on larger screens? Those come from dust!
Dust is the biggest enemy of cameras, and inevitably you will have dust on the back of your lens or on your sensor at some point. Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal. With a couple quick puffs of air from a lens blower that dust will be good as gone!
In addition, cleaning kits usually have a brush, a microfiber cloth, and occasionally a small spray bottle with cleaning fluid. These will help keep your lenses spotless whenever something gets on them.
Having even a basic camera cleaning kit with you all the time is a superb way to make sure your camera is functioning at 100%, and it will help you be the best photographer you can be!
Other Gear to Think About
photo by MesquitaFMS via iStock
Once you have these 5 essential items in your bag, here are some additional useful gear ideas you may be interested in adding to your kit in order to help you take your photography to the next level:
Of course, the gear you invest in will depend on many things, like your particular kind of photography and your budget, too.
Speaking of budget, as I noted earlier, buying from third parties or buying used gear is a great way to expand your kit without blowing your budget. The key is to find reputable sellers that offer top-notch gear and back it up with quality customer service.
One such outfit is MPB. I’ve bought, sold, and traded gear with them many times over the years, and the process has always been seamless.
When buying gear, you get the advantage of seeing how each item is graded, that way you know if it’s in like-new condition, well-loved condition, or somewhere in between.
You can buy with peace of mind, too - most items come with a six-month warranty.
Selling or trading in gear is simple as well. Just fill out a quick form, tell MPB about the item, and they’ll give you an estimate for what they will pay you. They’ll even handle shipping!
Buying used (and selling used) is a great way to help yourself and other photographers fill out their kits on a budget. If you need a camera body, a lens, a tripod, or other photographic accessories, give MPB a look!
Bonus: Have a Good Bag for all Your Gear
Of course, you'll need a means of carrying all of this essential gear, right? That means investing in a high-quality camera bag.
The key phrase here is "high-quality." What you don't want is a bargain-basement bag that is going to be uncomfortable to carry and doesn't protect your gear from bumps and bruises along the way.
Take it from me - my first "camera bag" was an old backpack that didn't have a camera insert of any kind. My camera and lenses were literally on top of each other in the bottom of the bag. Not a good choice.
Instead of making the same silly mistake I did, invest now in a good camera bag, that way you have something that was made with the intention of protecting your gear from the outset.
Whether you go for a big leather bag that you can use as a weekend getaway bag when you don't need your gear, a lens bag for running and gunning, or something in between, there is a camera bag for everyone.
I personally recommend Holdfast camera bags because I've had several of their bags over the years, and these things are no joke.
From high-end materials to impeccable detail to extreme functionality, Holdfast bags are the cream of the crop.
You can get leather bags or waxed canvas bags, big bags or small bags, and even shoulder bags or bags that attach to a camera harness.
It's really amazing how much style and substance Holdfast crams into their bags. But don't take my word for it...see for yourself!