If you reading this right now most likely you are starting in photography. This article is for you! I’m going to do a gear breakdown for beginner photographers and what gear you really need to start!
First of all, I want to point out that Photography is an expensive business if you are serious about that career path you going to spend some money on it. In this article, I’m going to cover the essential gear and cost.
Essential Gear for Photographers / Complete In Depth Guide
CAMERA – Obviously most important item, vast selections to choose from/ From crop sensors to mirrorless. This one, in particular, is a personal choice. Mirrorless cameras seem to be the future, however, I personally prefer DSLR. As of the time of this article, mirrorless cameras don’t have great viewfinder yet, and shooting fashion thru digital viewfinder is a bit off for me. I feel like its taking away a lot of actual connection. It’s laggy and kind of look like 90’s camcorder. So I’m suggesting sticking with DSLR for now. If you get to choose between full frame, crop and mirrorless here is my 2 cents about it.
MIRRORLESS – Basically same as Full Frame or Crop, but doesn’t have a mirror shutter that DSLR has. Great quality cameras. I personally would use it for landscape work, real estate, cars etc.
FULL FRAME – aka 35mm film equivalent. Full Frame cameras is the choice of most world professional photographers. Large sensor gives nice shallow depth of the field and allows to get more light to pass to the sensor. Full Frame is now the largest size available. Medium Format considering to be highest at the moment, but it is also most expensive. Anywhere from $6000-$50000 for the camera body.
CROP SENSOR – Most affordable of all. Has much smaller sensor than medium format and 35mm (aka FULL FRAME). The benefit of such camera includes Cheaper price, Faster Autofocus, Cheaper Lens. The ideal camera for beginners.
MEMORY CARD – I highly recommend getting a decent memory card. Don’t buy cheap. On top of that, most modern cameras include dual memory card slot allowing to shoot to SD card and CFAST card simultaneously. I highly recommend using dual memory cards for data protection. Memory cards can get corrupted without any warning signs, and there is nothing worse than getting your entire photoshoot wiped out. I have been using San Disk Memory Card and very happy with their quality. VERY IMPORTANT: If you using a single memory card in your camera, don’t buy crazy amount above 64gb, you always want to make sure you keep backing up your photos. I know people who use large sd cards without backing them up. It’s very bad practice and may result in loss of all your data.
BOUNCE or REFLECTOR – For my personal style of photography I prefer bounce and reflectors better than a strobe, I think light comes out way more natural than using flash systems. Those reflectors are great and will help you to learn how to light without breaking the bank for expensive mono lights. Quality does matter, after using many different reflectors I came to Profoto Brand. They give incredible light quality.
LENSES – Depending what you want to shoot, lens selection is very broad. For Fashion, for example, you can use anywhere from 35mm to 85mm, for Portrait, for example, good length to stay is between 50mm and 85mm. It’s all depends on what you want to do. Prime lenses are much better quality than zoom lenses, but you lose that versatile one-man band ability with prime lenses. With lenses, it’s hard to really tell exactly what you need. It’s a very personal setting. Just remember, buy quality glass. Cheap lenses are hideous and will make your photos look very dull and boring. Better buy good glass once, instead of wasting more money on mediocre setups.
TRIPOD – This one is very important. Buy good quality sticks and they will serve you for a very long time. There is a lot of good quality tripods out there. Don’t buy cheap. You don’t want to watch your $5000 camera setup go down in front of your eyes. A decent tripod will run you from $150 to $300, where higher end tripod can go all the way to $1500.
BACKPACK – Another item you don’t want to cut corners. Protection for your gear is very important. With so many thousands of dollars, you don’t want to be hitting your gear around the corners all over the place. I know some photographers using soft school type of backpacks. One bad corner and there goes their lens…I been using Whistler pack for over a year now and extremely happy with it. It’s a little bulky and don’t expect to make a fashion statement, but it’s very well made and can carry tons of gear, plus it has weather cover to protect it from rain or snow. That’s really up to you what kind of pack to get, just get something that will keep your gear safe.
SILICA GEL – One of the cheapest items you can get. I keep them everywhere. It’s a little moisture absorbent packets that keep your gear dry. I have them in all my bags and all my cases. They help to prevent fungus growing inside your lens and generally help to keep everything dry.
LIGHT – Now whether you want to go higher budget or keep it low-cost ti’s another story. But having lights or flash is very important. I started with cheap $50 NEEWER flashes and essentially worked my way up to Profoto B1 Series. If you going to be shooting mostly indoors, the regular camera flash is going to be good enough, however, if you planning on shooting outside, I recommend at least 500watt of power. Higher end lights have a better interface and allow you to remotely control them and dial your power with the camera remote. It’s extremely convenient if you placed your light somewhere high so you don’t have to be taking it up or down like a fool in front of the model or client. Another great and affordable light is Interfit S1, but be careful, from many users, it’s apparently only supporting Nikon camera for the remote. I been using that strobe for many months now, and truly love the quality of light. I would put them in the same place as Profoto Light but way cheaper at a third of the price.
SOFTBOX – Lot’s to choose from, but recently I been in love with Photek SoftLighter Umbrella The light is aimed backward making output flash to come out evenly. They are very cheap comparing it to the big boys like Elinchrom Softboxes are great for fashion and portrait photography styles. Size depends on your style of shooting. Usually, smaller the size the harder light output going to be.
This complete the Essential Gear for Photographers / Complete In Depth Guide. There are way more gear and other gadgets that you will need eventually, but as far as top things you need, I think we covered all of them. Samples above are not endorsed by any brand and I am not being paid to promote any of them. Listed items are a strict example from personal experience. If you would like to take a look at the gear I use in my daily routine check it out over here MY GEAR