One thing should be made very clear, especially for beginners: If you have to make a choice between upgrading camera body and upgrading/purchasing a better lens, go for the glass.
At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, the biggest difference in image quality comes from the optics. With that said, here are 4 lenses that I think every photographer should own.
A nifty fifty
You probably saw this coming. I don't care what you shoot, a 50mm lens should be in your bag. It doesn't have to be anything better than the $100 f/1.8 version, because even that one is capable of producing amazing results in the right hands. Surely, the f/1.4 versions are better in low light conditions, so although they cost more, the investment is well worth it.
You just can't beat a 35 mm when it comes to having a lens you can use for just about anything. It's the perfect lens to mount on your camera and hit the streets, or take a quick road trip for that matter. It has the closest perspective to that of the human eye and that's what makes it so attractive for photographers and filmmakers.
Bonus: Avoid damaging your lenses!
A 70-200mm f/2.8
It's not that you can't do without a lens like this; it's just incredibly useful. Most of the zooms in this focal range are of top-notch quality and photographers from all over the world use and love them. Whether it's a Canon , a Nikon , a Sony or a Sigma , the 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom will help you capture amazing photos.
A super-wide angle zoom
I know a few photographers who don't shoot wide at all. They usually stay above 35mm (mainly because they shoot portraits) but all of them have a super-wide angle zoom in their bags. So do the rest of my photographer friends. A wide angle lens gives you a lot of flexibility. You can take it to tight spaces, you can shoot amazing landscapes, and it's great for environmental portraits and documentary work. Every self-respecting photographer should have one.