Photography is a great hobby to get into, and it’s one that can even blossom into a fulfilling career if you’re dedicated to learning the craft. However, it’s not exactly cheap, and with the huge number of options available it can be confusing to know exactly what you need to get started.
That’s why in this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to get started in photography. While the list can seem a little daunting, don’t forget that sometimes you can get used gear for cheaper. Many people who are moving on to the intermediate level will be eager to get rid of their introductory gear, and that could bring your costs down significantly. Here’s what you need to get started.
The camera is, of course, the most important piece of your gear. A quality, yet affordable DSLR is your best bet here, and fortunately, these cameras are getting cheaper every day. You should be able to invest in one for around $300 to $500. Many times you can even save a bundle on a great camera by picking up a used one.
These cameras take great photos, and you’ll be able to get a wide variety of accessories for them, including interchangeable lenses to help hone your craft. Canon and Nikon are both popular brands which come in many different price ranges.
When photographers take really cool shots that you can’t seem to make happen, part of that is likely thanks to their lenses. Of course, you also need to know how to select the right lens for the right situation, but picking up a variety of nice lenses will help you to figure out which ones are appropriate for each subject. Finding some tutorials can help you out, but don’t be afraid to experiment either.
It should be noted however that not all lenses are created equal. The ones in camera kits are typically lower in quality. Purchasing just the camera with no accessories and then investing in better quality lenses that you really want will likely serve you better than a kit. Here are some of the more popular varieties that you might want to pick up.
- Fisheye Lens (For panoramas, artistic photos, and skyscapes.)
- Macro Lens (For up-close photography, think flowers and butterflies.)
- Telephoto Lens (Far away shots, good for nature watching and sports photographers.)
- Wide angle lens (Good for landscapes and architecture shots.)
- Wide Aperture Lens (Good for portraits and night time shots.)
While lenses can be expensive, the good news is that you don’t have to buy them all at once. Instead, pick up the type of lens that corresponds with the type of photography that you most want to pursue, and then you can slowly add more lenses to your kit later as you can afford them.
Good lighting is a requirement for good photographs. Unfortunately, natural light situations are not always accommodating, and you may need some external light sources in order to capture your art on film. There’s a lot of ways to do this, and in order to choose the correct lighting, you’ll need to decide what kind of photography you’re looking to do. The idea is to go for bright, natural bulbs that produce a light that is not overpowering. However, you also need a setup that fits the situation.
If you’re looking to photograph products or small still life scenes in a studio, then a light box might be the way to go. This is a tiny, confined area that allows you to adjust the lighting situation to your liking. It’s of course only good for a limited number of applications though.
If you’re filming outside then a manual flash is likely the way to go. This solution is lightweight and easy to carry, and that makes it good for photos where you’ll need to be quick to get the shot. If you’re doing action shots or wildlife photography in poor light conditions, you may want one of these.
Continuous Lighting Kits
These are studio style kits that are used mostly for video or still life photography. You’d use this if you plan to be shooting a series of photos or videos in one location, and you want to be able to set up the perfect lighting situation. If you were a Youtuber or a portrait photographer, then you’d likely want to invest in this equipment.
Shaky hands are no good when it comes to taking great photos, and a tripod is a great way to get things just right. There are several options for this, and you’ll likely want to invest in a full size as well as a tabletop version for when space is limited.
Photo Editing Software
Like it or not, the beauty of most photographs actually happens long after they’re taken. Investing in a good photo editing suite can take your photos from meh to wow! While an editing program won’t make you a good photographer, it can help you to bring out the best in your pieces.
It will take you some time to learn how to master photo editing, but there are plenty of free tutorials online. Adobe Lightroom is the most popular option here, and you’ll be able to get plenty of help if you go with this option.
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Odds are you’ve already got one of these. Most decently new computers should be able to run photo editing suites. However, Lightroom is actually a web app now, and that means that you can use it to edit your photos from virtually any device including Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, and even Linux devices.
It’s important to remember that this is a basic list. Photography is an extremely varied art form, and the equipment that you need will depend heavily upon what type of photography you want to do. If you have some favorite photographers, then make sure to check the notes for their photos! Many of them will actually tell you what kind of equipment they’re using to get their shots.