Photography Equipment List for Beginners

One of my favorite things to see online are questions from beginner photographers. Seeing or being asked questions tells me that the wonderful hobby of serious photography is growing and new photographers are reaching out to learn.

The Camera

The Camera is the title of one of my favorite photography books, but I’ll get to books later in the list. Right now I am looking at good camera choices for beginners.

I usually assume that anyone asking about what camera to choose is probably a photographer who either has outgrown their smartphone or a photographer who used to shoot a lot on film as a hobby back when.

Prime and Zoom Lenses

Most of the entry-level cameras suitable for beginners come in kits with an all-around multi-purpose zoom lens. Lenses like 18-55mm or 14-42mm are common. These lenses have some limitations but are generally very optically sharp. So go ahead and buy the camera with the kit lens, the prices of most cameras with the kit lens is usually very close to the price of the camera body alone.

Part of the joy of moving into interchangeable lens cameras is having lenses to interchange. After the kit lens, other good choices are a telephoto zoom lens, an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, or a fast prime lens.

Flash or Speedlights

Those built in pop-up flashes are great photography tools for snapshots and to get good exposure for people pictures up-close. Their range is limited, though. As are their features.  A virtually essential early purchase of photography equipment for beginners is an external flash.

An external flash opens up a whole bunch of opportunities for photographers, so be sure to include one on your own personal photography equipment list for beginners. External flashes give more power for increased range and a variety of exposure settings, plus they usually have zoom, bounce, and swivel functions, opening up yet more lighting options.

Tripod

A tripod of some sort definitely deserves a spot on our photography equipment list for beginners. Newer DSLRs and mirrorless cameras and their lenses have amazing image stabilization features. Even so, having a good tripod gives you the ability to take advantage of special techniques such as HDR, panoramas, and ultra long exposure.

Filters

If you’ve come from the world of smartphone photography, the term filter probably brings to your mind apps to use for certain effects or functions. Interchangeable lens camera systems use different filters, optical filters that fit on the lens.

A couple of extremely useful optical filters that belong on our photography equipment list for beginners are circular polarizers and neutral density filters.

Camera Bag

You have a fair amount of the best photography equipment for you to use now, you also need a way to carry it safely and efficiently. It’s not enough to carry your photography tools around safely, you also need to be able to access them efficiently. Therefore, a camera bag should be designed around photography, not just the gear.

Extra Batteries

You don’t want to be at the photo opportunity of the year and have your battery die on you because you forgot to charge it. A very inexpensive way to make sure this doesn’t happen is also simple, keep an extra battery in your bag.

Memory Cards

Memory cards are part of the film for digital cameras, taking what the sensor sees and holding it for transfer or storage. Just as with film, not all memory cards are created equal.

Besides the size of the card’s storage capacity, file transfer speeds are also an important consideration. With large file sizes, the speed a camera can write those files to memory may make a difference in capturing the best image.

Post-Processing Program

Now comes the scary part. Photoshop! It’s really not that hard to learn, there are even tutorials you can take to give you a head start. Post processing is an essential part of digital photography, just as a darkroom or photo lab was a part of consumer film photography.

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