Photography Equipment – What Are the Essentials?
When you decided to become a photographer, you probably didn’t expect it to have that many technical requirements called photography equipment. Sure, it all starts with a camera, but you soon realize that you need a few more things when you delve in deeper. Well, the thing is, most beginner photographers think that they need to buy every shiny piece of equipment that comes their way, but that isn’t the case.
So, what is essential photography equipment? Let’s run them down and make it easier for you to start your new photography career.
It may come as a surprise to no one that a good camera would be the first thing on the essentials list. An affordable, entry-level model is more than you need to start your career as a news photographer, so you don’t need to throw a lot of money on a camera you don’t even know how to use. Affordable options balance features, image quality, and price, which is great because you don’t need all those features you’re not going to use as a beginner anyway.
The market has excellent entry-level DSLRs, like the Nikon D3500, Canon EOS Rebel T8i, Nikon D5600, Canon EOS Rebel SL3, etc.
There’s also been a shift to mirrorless cameras over DSLRs in the past years, so if you’re willing to invest in the future, there are fantastic affordable mirrorless options like the Fujifilm X-T200, Olympus Mark IV, Sony Alpha A6100, Nikon Z5, and Canon EOS M6 Mark II.
There are many options out there, and you certainly don’t need to buy the most expensive, featureful camera out there.
Using the right lens is crucial if you want your photos to stand out and have a more professional look. That being said, you can definitely start with your camera’s stock lens, but soon enough, you’ll realize that you’ll need a few interchangeable lenses to reach the full potential of your skills and your equipment.
You’ll want to look at focal length and aperture when choosing a lens, where the former means the distance between the center of the lens to the sensor, while the latter indicates how much light can enter the camera’s body.
Focal length is measured in millimeters. A lower number means a broader photo, whereas a higher number means a longer zoom.
Aperture is represented by an f-number, where a smaller number means it lets more light in, while a bigger number means less.
There are also different types of prime lenses for different types of photography styles, like the standard ones, wide-angle, telephoto, and others. Some different lenses for different styles are:
- Portrait — Canon EF 85mm f/1.2
- Landscape — Canon EF-S 10mm-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
- Wedding — Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART
- Everyday — Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Battery Charger and Extra Batteries
When you’re using a lot of accessories with your camera, your battery is going to drain like crazy, and that’s just the reality of being a professional photographer. No matter the battery size, cameras have power-hungry technologies that deplete them in no time.
So, with that being said, having a dedicated battery charger that charges extra batteries while you’re shooting is going to save your life. We recommend carrying a few with you and interchanging them, leaving the depleted one to charge.
As you already know, DSLRs use exceptionally sophisticated technology that requires mass amounts of power, but it also requires a lot of storage. Unfortunately, as cameras get bigger and better, their storage demands suffer the same fate as well.
You’re going to benefit from carrying a few spare cards on you at all times because if one fails (which they often do), you’ll have another one to save the day.
One of the best SD cards to use is the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I, which has read/write speeds up to 90/170 MB/s. Others include the Lexar Professional Class 10 UHS-II 2000X with up to 128 GB of storage and 300/260 MB/s read/write speeds, and the SanDisk Extreme SD UHS-I with up to 256 GB and speeds up to 90/40 MB/s.
Investing in a sturdy, good-quality bag can cause you to avoid a handful of headaches while working. However, only storing your camera can quickly turn into carrying the batteries, SD cards, and chargers in your pockets while carrying a tripod on your shoulder.
Good camera bags have a padded section for your camera and lens and many side pockets for all your accessories. It’s better for your equipment and for your sanity and back health, too.
Tripods are a very versatile and crucial part of your photography equipment. No matter the occasion, be it landscape, portrait, or night, you’re definitely going to need to prop up your camera on a stationary object at some point. That’s where the tripod comes in. They’re extremely useful in low-light situations, where you need to utilize your long exposure photography knowledge, or in cases where you’ll need to control some other aspect of the image, and you’ll need to be away from the camera.
You don’t have to go all-in on your first tripod, of course. So it’s okay for it to be a cheaper one.
Using the built-in flash in your camera can give your photos that “oh, you used flash” look, which isn’t very nice to look at or professional. On the other hand, when used correctly, external flashes can make your photos look way more professional and even make them look like you didn’t use any flash at all.
There are different flashes for different kinds of cameras, so doing your research on which is the best one suits your needs is very important.
External Hard Drive
When exporting your files to your computer, it’s wise that you back them up as soon as possible to a dedicated external hard drive of your choosing. You should look into one with over 1 TB of storage and good read/write speeds. These include the WD 4TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive and SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2.
At the end of the day, you don’t need everything on this list of photography equipment (except for maybe the camera and SD cards), but what you most definitely need is to work on the skills. This is by far the most critical part of pursuing a photography career, and if you don’t have the sharp skills, you won’t be able to utilize all the fancy new toys you bought.