I remember what it was like to start out and feel lost in a sea of equipment. My first camera was a used camera I purchased online and it was amazing to start with. Like most photographers, we start with what we can afford and what seems to be easy to use and comes with a few recommendations. As I began to get comfortable with my camera, and as I began to push my creative boundaries with my photography, I decided it was time to put together the equipment I knew I needed to take on photography full time as my career. 

A camera isn’t all you need. Understanding the mechanics of a camera and having one you like to work with is great, but lenses, SD cards and more are all crucial pieces to a great foundational set up that will work for you as you take on more clients and seek to be more professional with your work.

Below are my top 4 Equipment Recommendations for New Photographers. I’m also sharing why I recommend the equipment AND sharing links for you to check out the equipment on Amazon. 

*disclaimer, this blog post contains affiliate links. 

50mm 1.8 Lens: 

This is a really all-around great focal length to start with and the cheapest lens you will purchase! Look to 35 mm, 85 mm and a 24-70mm (if you would like to try a zoom lens) as your next purchases after your 50mm 1.8 lens. Click HERE for a Nikon lens. Click HERE for a Canon lens.

2 External Hard Drives: 

No one wants to have to say to a client “I lost your images”…especially if you’re shooting those ‘never again’ moments like weddings and newborns. Store your raw images and make a backup on the 2nd hard drive to keep your files safe and secure! Bonus points if you store one of your external hard drives off-site (meaning away from where you work) so that if anything happens to your home or office, your images are still safe. Click HERE to see External Hard Drives.

I talk more about file organization, computer optimization, and the best ways to backup all of your images in my editing course Embracing The Storm.

Entry-level DSLR: 

I started with an entry-level DSLR and I recommend you do the same! An entry-level DSLR is a lower investment camera to learn the basics of photography on and how to shoot in manual with. With an entry-level DSLR, you’re able to find out if you actually really like photography! If you can see yourself pursuing a career, you can plan to invest in a full-frame camera as soon as you are able(Nikon D750 or Canon Mark IV). If it turns out that you don’t love photography as much as you thought you would, or you’d like to do it just as a hobby, your entry-level DSLR will generally check all the boxes.

Click HERE to check out a Nikon 5100. Click HERE to check out a Canon Rebel.

Several Fast SD Cards: 

You want to be sure you have SD cards that write fast enough that you are not experiencing slow buffer speeds while you shoot which creates lag time and possibly missed frames! 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB are all good and I personally like the 128 GB because I shoot a lot of frames at each session! I own several of THESE and love them!

A few helpful extras:

SD Card Holder: I bought this one when I first started and still use it today! 

Extra Battery: just in case one dies! Extreme weather can cause batteries to die quicker so take into consideration where and when you’ll be shooting and invest when you can. 

Lens Cleaner: Always helpful to have! Your lens can get dirty and the smallest speck can distort your images enough that you’ll be spending all of your time in photoshop editing out what could have been avoided with a simple lens cleaner!

Lens Cleaner Pen: Handy cleaner in a pen format that can be tossed into your camera bag.

These are the exact tools I use, which is why I recommend them. I know they work as you gain confidence in your work, begin to find your voice as a photographer, and they are tools that you can keep using as you grow.

Leave a comment below and let me know what tools you’re using as a new photographer. I’d love to hear what is working for you or, let me know if you have any questions about the tools I mentioned above. I’d love to help you! 


Here is my personal Amazon list of favorite photography tools! When you’re ready to add to your kit, start by checking out these tools that I love to use!