BASIC EQUIPMENT ARSENAL
I don't want you to get caught up in what next fancy thing you need to buy, so this is just a list the basic "must-haves" you need in your equipment arsenal. This is speaking to photographer enthusiasts, not professional photographers. Those lists can become endless, overwhelming, and very expensive.
This is always the first thing people ask me about. "What do you think the best camera to buy is?"
That's kind of a loaded question. It depends..
What are you shooting?
In a very simple analogy, if your grandparents asked you to get them a computer for checking their emails and Facebook, you wouldn't get them the newest MacBook Pro. That's WAY too much computer for them, and a huge waste of money.
Your basic DSLR's will run you around $500-600 for the camera base plus the kit lenses. (I'll go over what a "kit lens" further down.
The more expensive DSLR's START at $1500 and go up to $6000+ for JUST the camera base. Yes, photography gets expensive very fast.
Most of the beginner DSLR cameras just take the SD memory cards. I would definitely recommend gets a few of these. It's always good to have a few backups. You may have a full card that you haven't uploaded yet, a card that is corrupted (more on that at a different time), or lost one in the space between your car seat and the door.
Tripods are your best friend when it comes to taking low-light and night photography images, as well as maybe needing to put the camera on a timer for a big family photo.
These range in price like crazy, just like the cameras do. The computer analogy matches the tripod as well. You have the $20 tripod that most likely comes with your camera if you buy a "package deal." Then you also have the $10,000 tripods (no, I didn't add too many zeros.).
The pricier the tripod, the less "flimsy" it is. Tripod also vary in what you need them for. For instance, my tripod that I have for food photography allows me to shoot straight down at the ground. It's AWESOME, but very heavy (because it needs to be sturdy, or my camera crashes to the floor). It ran me around $200.
I put these in the same category because most computers now a days have card readers already on them. If yours doesn't, card readers are pretty affordable.
I'm a Mac person, so that's what I use for all of my computer needs. If you're a PC person, that's totally fine as well. Whatever you have access to is just peachy.
You also need some sort of software that will allow you to edit your images.
Adobe Cloud has a great photography package that includes Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom for only $9.99/month.
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
This one is very important.
A.) Once you start uploading hundreds and thousands of photos onto your computer, the space runs out real fast.
B.) It's essential to backup all of your work. Yes, even though you may not be shooting professionally. I got lazy in backing up my computer once I graduated. Computer hard drive crashed without warning and BAM...there went all of my honeymoon pictures from ALASKA. Yep. It was a sad, sad day.
Basically, back up your shtuff, k?
There a thousands of different types of camera bags out there. A lot of them will come with your camera "package." Look around and find which one is best for you.
The best ones have lots of different compartments for your camera, lenses, batteries, etc. Protection is key!
If you are just starting out, the lens that came with you camera will be just fine.
Once you start getting into wanting sharper and higher quality images, this is when you start to invest in more equipment.
A lot of the time, investing in a really, really awesome lens, is better than just buying a more expensive camera.
The more expensive the lens, the better the glass. This means super CRISPY images.
The more expensive the lens, the FASTER they also are. That means the APERTURE can be super wide open, like f/1.0. Canon's 50mm f/1.2 will cost you most than all of the equipment listed above combined. The lens that came with your camera runs around $250...so you kind of get the idea.
I will discuss further the different types of lenses and what you may need them for in another page.