There is a huge amount of photography gear out there. Thousands of different lenses, filters, tripods, flashes, attachments, and other gadgets. Some of these things are pricey or complicated to use and may not be necessary for every photographer, especially one that is just starting out. With that being said, how do you know what you actually need? We have compiled a list of photography equipment for beginners that will help you sort through this plethora of information and figure out what you need to get started.
There are not many camera accessories that are as necessary or as versatile as a tripod. No matter what you are shooting, you will need a tripod at some point!
Tripods are extremely useful in low light situations as they will allow you to use a longer exposure shot without any camera shake. If you were holding your camera in your hands, you would be limited in which shutter speeds you could use, as your hands will shake too much and produce a blurry photo!
In terms of price, there is a massive range for tripods. If you are a beginner and not quite sure what you want out of a tripod or what type of photography you are going to be pursuing, you may want to choose a less expensive one to test things out, and then move on to investing in a more expensive one after you are a bit more established.
Whatever price point you choose, make sure you take a look at the maximum weight capacity of the tripod. The maximum capacity should not be less than the weight of your camera plus your heavy lens and accessories attached.
Remote Shutter Release
A remote shutter release allows you to take a shot without physically touching the camera body, and is essential for any photographer! This accessory is most often used in conjunction with a tripod as its intention is the eliminate potential for camera shake.
Like a tripod, this accessory is great for situations where you will need a long exposure. In these cases, any camera shake at all will blur your photo, so having a way to take the photo without actually touching your camera is crucial!
Often called a “Nifty Fifty”, a 50mm prime lens – a lens that does not zoom – is one lens that every photographer should own.
Though you will amass a large collection of lenses as your photography skills progress, this is a great one to start with as you can learn a lot by using it. This lens goes all the way to f/1.8, which will help you come to grips with aperture. It will let in much more light than your kit lens will at 50mm, offering brighter performance and a shallower depth of field. The inability to zoom with this lens will force you think through your composition and develop your skills, as you cannot use the zoom to help you or adjust your shot.
With a fixed camera lens you will have to think about each aspect of your shot, stretching your skills as a photographer!
The pop-up or internal flash on your camera will illuminate your subject, but it will be harsh and uncontrollable. By adding an external flash, you will have much more control over the light in your shot. External flashes can be swivelled, and the light can be bounced to create a softer effect with a wide throw, or can be diffused with a flash diffuser in order to achieve excellent lighting effects.
Flashes are for more than just brightening a shot. A flash can add contrast to an image, fill in dark shadows, or add sparkle to a portrait subject’s eyes. Even if you are not necessarily shooting in low light conditions, and may think you don’t need an external flash, there are tons of applications for flashes! Having an external flash that you can more easily control will also teach you how to work with light in your shot and help you improve your skills.
These days, most filters, especially colour filters, can be replicated in post-processing with programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. There are still some effects, though, that cannot be easily replicated in post-processing. These are the effects you should purchase filters for!
Polarizing filters act like sunglasses for your camera lens. They will add depth to your images bu saturating the colours and reducing reflections. This makes them excellent for shooting landscapes, for example. They will darken skies and make colours pop, while also eliminating glare and reflections on glassy surfaces or water.
Neutral Density Filters
A Neutral Density Filter reduces the amount of light hitting your sensor without changing the colours in your shot. These filters will darken your image so you can take long exposure shots during the day, or use a wide aperture in bright sunlight.
Graduated Neutral Density Filters
Similar to regular Neutral Density Filters, these will control how much light hits your camera’s sensor. However, instead of darkening the entire shot, these filters will reduce the intensity of the brightest portion of you image, but won’t affect the darker part. For example, you would use this when you are shooting a sunset, and want to filter the bright sunlight in part of your image, but not the landscape at the bottom. Without this filter, you would have choose to expose for either the light or dark part.
Proper Camera Bag
If you purchase all of this gear (or even if you just have your camera and a lens or two!) you are going to need something to carry it all around in. Having a proper camera bag is very important! You will want something that fit everything you need, while also keeping it neat and safe.
The style you choose will depend on your preferences and where you will be taking your equipment. If you are looking for something hands-free, there are lots of backpack style camera bags to choose from, or you may opt for a classic shoulder bag, if you feel that suits your needs best! Shop around and choose the one that works best for you and the equipment you need to carry around!
As you develop your photography skills, you may discover more gear that you feel you need, and you will start to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. If you are looking for a place to start though, this list is it! These pieces of equipment are the basics that will be able to get you started and begin to push your skills as a photographer.