So, you want to be a photographer. Cool, let’s get started!
Other than a camera and lens, what gear do photographers need? There are some basics that make photographers more capable and able to do certain things better.
Depending on how big your beginning budget is, you can go for very high quality or good quality for easier prices. Both ways are good. I like to see what the best values are with a balance between being reasonably priced and decently high quality. Fortunately, that range covers a lot of ground in modern digital photography.
Overview - Beginner Photography Gear
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
Any list of photography gear has certain core items that are absolutely necessary. A camera, a lens, and a way to process and see the images are the first things. You may already have made these choices, if not, check out some of our buying guides covering new and used photography gear including computers. Your computer should be capable of handling the largish digital files your new DSLR or mirrorless with kit lens will be providing.
So, that’s the first three things out of the way, now let’s look at four other items that will make you photographically capable for serious photography.
Lighting, a great next lens, a high quality monitor, a fully capable post processing program, and a good tutorial course are on my list of beginner photography gear. Okay, that’s five, but who’s counting?
Beginner Photography Gear - Lighting
Many of the kits from the major manufacturers and retailers will be pretty complete with at least one good kit lens in the normal zoom range, a flash to supplement the good but weak built in flash, a small tripod, and sometimes a second kit lens in the telephoto zoom range.
With a built in flash and maybe a more powerful flash already in your photography gear bag, why is my first recommendation a light? In one word: video. That new camera you purchased has excellent video capability. In order to get the best looking videos, you need continuous lighting.
An excellent small continuous light that fits right on the camera is the LitraTorch 2.0 LED light. It’s battery powered so you aren’t tied to cords, it’s LED so it doesn’t get hot and the battery lasts a long time, and it’s very bright so it will actually make a difference in your videos.
Beginner Photography Gear - Your Next Great Lens
Since many beginner photographers have purchased a kit for their first camera, you may already have a lens besides the normal range kit lens. If you have one lens and an APS-C format camera, you probably have the 18-55mm zoom. If your kit has two lenses, the most common extra lens is a telephoto zoom such as a 55-200mm or 70-200mm for bringing things closer.
The next great lens I recommend for beginner photography gear is way on the other end of the scale. I am a firm believer in the greatness of wide angle lenses. For the APS-C format DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, there are some amazingly high quality, inexpensive zoom lenses from the camera brands and 3rd party manufacturers.
One example is from Nikon for their DSLR F-mount DX format (APS-C) cameras, the Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm wide angle zoom lens. Canon and Sony have similar options, as do the independent lens makers Tokina and Sigma. You really can’t go wrong with any of the newer versions.
These lenses are extremely wide at the shortest end, capable of giving you great images of tight spaces or sweeping panoramic views. They have very little distortion and are very sharp, the only minor drawback is the relatively slow maximum aperture of some of them. But, that’s the case with most kit style lenses, so you probably won’t notice it very much compared to your other kit lenses.
Beginner Photography Gear - A Very High Quality Monitor
I’m working on the same principle as adding lenses with this recommendation. The monitor in your laptop is pretty good, but for really being able to see what you’re doing with your images and video, you need a larger monitor.
A great option are wide format curved screen monitors like the ViewSonic VP3881 38” monitor or the ViewSonic VP3481 34” monitor. A very wide aspect ratio and a curved screen provide you with a superior immersive viewing and editing experience.
Once you start seriously editing your images and videos, you’ll also appreciate the ability to tile windows for a smooth workflow, the amazing detail, and the ability to resolve over 4.39 trillion colors.
If you want to edit your photos and videos to share with others, a large monitor like one of these is as important as your next great lens.
Beginner Photography Gear - A Full Featured Post Processing Program
When photography started up until only about 20 years ago or so, taking the picture was only half the story. All images needed to be processed in some way after the exposure. That is still true today, though much of what is shot by beginners is processed in camera and delivered for viewing as a JPEG image file.
If you really want to create a great image or outstanding video, you should process them beyond what the camera provides you. There are several good programs that are actually easy to use for either video or still imaging.
I like to recommend the subscription based Adobe Photoshop Lightroom program. On Adobe’s subscription model for photographers, you can get Lightroom, regular Photoshop, and add optional video editing all for a low monthly price. Don’t worry too much about learning how to use it, that’s next on the list.
Beginner Photography Gear - Photography Tutorials
Having the right equipment is just one part of the overall puzzle, we have to know how best to use all the photography gear we have. Most of the brands of equipment and programs have excellent online tutorials, many of them in video form and some of them are free.
Books are also great ideas!
I like the book Digital Photography Complete Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks which you can get either a hard copy or as an E-reader version.
Take advantage of these resources to really learn the right ways to use all the neat stuff you have.
Enjoy Being a Photographer!
Photo by Ünsal Demirbaş from Pexels
Photography is a wonderful craft, a rewarding artform, a worthwhile hobby, and even a possible source of extra income. Enjoy being a photographer and creating fun, pretty, or interesting photos and videos.