Buying your first set of camera gear can seem pretty intimidating. There are thousands of different combinations of cameras, lenses, memory cards, etc. and it can all seem pretty confusing, not to mention EXPENSIVE! The hassle of determining exactly what you need to start is not only discouraging but it also deters from the excitement of starting out.
For these reasons it makes total sense that Will and I get a TON of questions around this topic. To make all those day-one decisions easier, we decided to set up our recommendations on the essentials! Let us know what you think!
- Camera - You obviously can't start without a camera! We recommend the Canon Rebel T5i DSLR. This little guy is both affordable and user friendly and you can usually find a great deal on a refurbished model! Even though it is considered a starter camera, it holds it's own in a wide range of lighting conditions. Plus, you can't beat that it comes with a built in flash and starter lens!
- SD cards - I remember the days when a little memory cost big dough. Will and I were just laughing the other day about a 1 GB flash drive that he paid $80 for 10 years ago!! Thank goodness those prices didn't last! Even though those days are long since over, we recommend getting a few smaller cards instead of one big one. This helps a new photographer get in the habit of moving pictures from the card into post processing instead of letting the pictures live on the cards forever! We suggest purchasing 2-3 of the 16 GB Class 10 SanDisk cards.
- Camera bag - Even though you will likely want to pinch pennies at the start, we recommend splurging a little for something a tad nicer than the Lowepro bags that decorate the shelves of Best Buy. Even though they work just fine, EVERYONE gets one when they first start out and therefore they act as giant neon signs that may as well read "amateur." And lets be real, you are awesome, so rock out something that represents your awesome style! Amazon has a TON of great bags that won't break the bank and have a clean, natural look.
- External hard drive - You are pretty awesome and are probably going to be taking a TON of pictures starting very soon. An external hard drive will save you from slowing down your computer with all those files and will act as the home base for all your photos. Getting additional cloud back up is also recommended, but that is a conversation for another day! We recommend the 1 TB My Passport for Mac users or the WD 1 TB Elements Portable for PC users.
- Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition - This is a great book that will walk you through your manual settings and will take you from a beginner to a master. Many people overlook the importance of learning manual settings, but I cannot emphasize how important this is. Learning all that your camera is capable of will give you the power to create the photos you are so excited to take!