Take Better Photos without Breaking the Bank: A Guide to Beginner’s Photography Equipment
If you’re an amateur photographer, or even an intermediate photographer, chances are you’ve debated whether or not to spend your hard-earned money on a fancy piece of photography equipment.
There’s so much equipment out there, of so many different kinds, that photography can quickly become an expensive hobby.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. If you really want to up your photography game without breaking the bank, it makes sense to invest in a few select pieces of simple equipment.
The tripod is a must for anyone who wants to take more than the occasional snapshot. Why? Because a tripod is the only way you’ll be able to get clear images if you need to use a slower shutter speed.
Like any piece of photography equipment, tripods can get pretty pricey – up to $1,000 for carbon-fiber legs and unsurpassed ergonomics – but you can also pay just $20 for a tripod that’ll do the trick. All it really has to do is hold your camera still, after all.
Even though you may not need it terribly often, an external flash is a good investment for beginning photographers.
External flashes allow you to position the device where it will create the softest, most attractive lighting – which is often a different spot from where your camera is.
You can find external flashes for as little as $100.
A great lens is one of the quickest and easiest ways to drastically improve your photography. In fact, we might go so far as to call it a must-buy.
The first lens you may want to buy, if you’re not ready to spend a huge amount, is a prime lens. These lenses offer a fixed focal length – or, in other words, they don’t zoom. While this is slightly less convenient than a lens that can zoom to various lengths, prime lenses offer distinctly better visual clarity than zoom lenses do.
Another good starter lens is a wide-angle to telephoto lens. There’s a bit of a learning curve to wide-angle lenses, as they can be difficult to use, but they are a wonderful tool for emphasizing depth in your images.
You can get a decent wide-angle lens for about $130.
A white background
If you’re taking photos of small items, food, or products – for a blog or an Etsy listing, for example – you absolutely need a white background.
You can either buy a white sweep, which is a piece of curved, seamless, white material made especially for photography, or you can create one out of items from around the house. A roll of white paper, the thinnest white mat board from a frame store, or even a sheet of white plastic table cover will work.
When you light your background properly, you’ll get the illusion of a shadow-free background. This will immediately give your photos more sharpness and clarity.
Lens cleaning equipment
A spray cleaner and microfiber cloths to clean your lenses are a must. They’re cheap, easy to find, and they’ll ensure that you don’t have any specks on your lens that will distort your image.
Another piece of cleaning equipment that’s worth getting is a Sensor Gel Stick, which is a little device that lets you safely pick up any dust that lands on your camera’s sensor.
Remote shutter release
These simple and inexpensive remotes let you snap photos remotely, so you can be where you need to be while shooting – even if that’s not behind the camera. You may want to get two – they’re very inexpensive, but also very easy to lose.
With these few pieces of equipment, you should be able to take your photography to the next level relatively easily. For more digital photography tips, check out our post “The 9 Greatest Websites for Learning Digital Photography.”