Regardless if you’re just starting out in this business, or whether you are experienced in the field, we can all agree that our equipment is very expensive. It is part of the job, however, it doesn’t change the fact that you may need to spend a fortune on your whole kit.
That said, we’re assuming that all of us have one common goal in mind – to exceed clients’s expectations. Photography isn’t just a hobby; it certainly isn’t something that you can afford to cut corners with. On the contrary, this profession requires complete dedication.
Your Camera Kit: The Basics
We understand that buying lots of expensive equipment at one go can be overwhelming to photographers who have just set foot in the realm of photography. Not only do you have to invest in a quality camera, but you also have to think about the essentials that you need to perfect your photos, especially when it comes to playing around with light.
That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to list the essentials that you can start out with in this post. From your camera to all the little bits and bobs you need, we’re going to help you create the ultimate camera bag that you will never go wrong with.
This is a no brainer. You need a great camera that is well able to bring your vision to life. Depending on your budget, skills and the features you’re after, there are lots of brands to choose from. If you want our advice, we highly recommend a Canon or Nikon model. You know you can never go wrong with either of those two.
We’ll tell you one thing – do your research properly. Especially if you’re starting out, you don’t have to spend thousands on a camera body. On the contrary, it’s best to invest in fancier lenses instead. A good camera body will last you years if you manage to find the right one that works for you. Once you’ve really mastered all its features and what it can do, only then consider the possibility of upgrading the body.
A Camera Tripod
Whether you’re shooting portraiture, street, night, landscapes or even wedding photography, a camera tripod will always be put to good use. Let’s face it, you’re going to need it at some point or another as it will make your job easier. What’s more is that tripods can prove to be extremely useful if you’re shooting in low light settings since its stability will allow you to take better longer exposure shots.
SD Memory Cards
This is important. You don’t want to be in situation where you’re either stuck with a faulty memory card or with one that doesn’t have enough memory whilst you’re out on a job. Our advice – think ahead and always have a backup. Take it from us; we’ve been in similar situations where we were unable to shoot because the card got corrupted.
In this respect, we advise you to have a handful of smaller SD Cards, rather that just one big SD that you’re constantly relying on. Just remember that although technology has proven to be one of the most exciting things of our generation, it can fail us too.
A Prime Lens
As you progress in your photography journey, you’ll want to experiment with different lenses. You’ll want to experiment with different subjects – people, landscapes, street photography and so on. However, we recommend you to ALWAYS have a trusty prime lens. You may be thinking that a lens that doesn’t zoom isn’t particularly useful. Wrong! A prime lens will become your best friend.
On the contrary, its inability to zoom, can help you familiarize yourself with proper composition techniques. In the long run, this will help you think about what you want to achieve from your shots and ultimately improve your skills faster. If you’ve got a Canon or a Nikon, we highly recommend the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. Not only is the cheapest, but also one of the most efficient ones.
Portable Lighting Equipment
If you’re interested in exploring the different branches of photography, you’re going to need flash at some point. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ll only need it if you’re shooting in the dark. As photographers, we have to play around with light and we’ll tell you one thing; The built-in flash on your camera body isn’t enough to achieve the desired product.
We advise you to spend a little more on your lighting equipment by investing in an external flash unit. Otherwise known as portable speed lighting kits, these flashes can be used to disperse light with umbrellas and soft boxes. They are by far more efficient than the normal built-in flashes since they offer more versatility.
On top of that, their portability is the main selling point here. In fact, it’s not a hassle to carry it around given the fact that they’re extremely lightweight. Especially if you cannot afford a complete studio just yet, a portable speedlight lighting kit serves as the perfect alternative for setting up a portable studio.
A Camera Strap
Inexpensive and absolutely necessary. For starters, a quality camera strap lessens the risk of dropping your camera whilst you’re on site. Imagine you’re on a trekking experience; unless you have a bag, we don’t advise you to carry your camera without it being strapped securely to your neck. We’ve heard too many stories of lenses being shattered from falls, so do take our advice and make sure you always have a decent camera strap in your kit.
A Camera Bag
Just like the camera strap, a quality camera bag is necessary. Let’s face it; it’s physically impossible for you to carry a tripod, lighting equipment, lenses and your camera without dropping something at some point. Hence, make sure you have a properly designed bag that will make your life 10 times easier. Whilst some bags are expensive, you’ll most definitely find cheaper alternatives on Amazon and eBay. As long as it does the job, that’s all that matters.
Reflector kits are also essential. They’re compact, portable and extremely easy to use. They offer so much versatility for both studio and outdoor shots. As we’ve mentioned earlier, light can be a pain. However, reflector kits can come in handy when positioned correctly. They can turn one light into the main light and the hair light when it is reflected behind the subject.
Diffusers, Gels and Filters
Light, light, light. That’s what photography is all about. As we’ve seen so far, lighting has proved to add to the cost of your camera kit. That said, there are always cheaper alternatives to opt if you can’t afford the real deal from the get-go.
For those of you who are on a budget, diffusers, filters and gels serve as the cheaper alternative for cheap studio lighting essentials. What’s great about them is that they are able to alternate existing lights to create different effects.
In addition, they are super easy to use. They are versatile, flexible and extremely inexpensive options that you can add to your kit. Definitely an option to think about!
A Great Editing Software
This doesn’t necessary qualify as kit essential, but you do have to have access to a superb editing software if you want your pictures to stand out. As you know, the two recommended editing software for photographers of all levels are Lightroom and Photoshop.
We prefer Lightroom as it is more user-friendly than Photoshop. Not only can you edit image, but you can also organize your images accordingly, rate them, colour code them and also add relevant keywords. Simply put, it has everything you need under one roof.
Photoshop is also great, but you need the experience and the time to practice especially if you’re completely unfamiliar with it. We always advise beginners to see what works for them, but if you want our advice, look no further than Lightroom.