Here is a list of the best photography essentials all beginners should have in their kit. Knowing which camera equipment and accessories you need can be confusing if you’re just starting out with photography. But we’re here to help!
There are tons of essential tools and accessories you can buy for photography. But we’ll focus on the ones you need most to get into this hobby.
Photography Essentials: What Equipment Do I Need for Photography?
Photography can be an equipment-heavy hobby. And reading equipment lists can be daunting for beginners. But we’re here to help you find exactly what you need to get started with photography.
Our article starts with the best cameras, where we recommend some of the best entry-level models right now. We then look at the best lenses, showing you which type you might need. We also have some specific examples, so you can pick one up straight away.
We also introduce you to photo editing software. Software is a huge part of modern photography, but we’ll give you a light introduction so you’re not overwhelmed.
Other essential accessories are also covered in this article. You’ll find all the best tripods, lighting gear, and straps in this article. This list has something for every beginner photographer!
Use the links below to navigate through the article and find what you need.
- Best Camera Bodies
- Best Camera Lenses
- Best Camera Straps
- Best Camera Bags
- Best Devices for Memory and Storage
- Best Lighting Gear
- Best Tripods and Stabilizers
- Best Editing Software
- Additional Accessories
1. Best Cameras Bodies
Finding the right camera is the best starting point when beginning your photography journey. There are several terrific camera brands you can go with. And you have to choose the type of camera that’s right for you.
A beginner can’t go wrong with an entry-level mirrorless camera. All the top brands have now sadly said goodbye to DSLR cameras. But there are plenty of new mirrorless models that are just right for beginner photographers.
The Canon EOS R100 is the best camera for beginners. It’s a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera with a smart and sensible ergonomic design.
The APS-C sensor delivers beautiful images with a 24.1 MP resolution. It has an excellent autofocus system that detects subjects and tracks them as they move. It has a 6.5 fps burst rate for capturing action. And you can record Full HD and 4K videos.
It’s an interchangeable lens camera, so you’ll need to buy a lens to go with the body. But you can buy the R100 in a bundle with lenses included. Whichever you choose, the Canon EOS R100 is brilliant for beginners and one of the most affordable mirrorless cameras on the market.
The Nikon Z fc is another great camera for beginners. It looks fantastic with a retro-style design and manual function controls. But it also delivers in the photography stakes, giving you rich and vibrant images from the 20.9 MP sensor.
The vintage style and convenient size make it a popular choice with street photographers. But thanks to the 4K video recording, flip-out LCD screen, and built-in microphone, it’s a hit with vloggers too.
If you want an all-action, feature-packed camera that’s small and light, the Olympus OM System OM-5 is the camera for you. Thanks to the Micro Four Thirds sensor, its body is compact and lightweight. But there isn’t much this camera can’t do.
The 20 MP images look fantastic. The 4K video footage is just as impressive. And it has one of Olympus’s (now OM System) best AF systems. You also get plenty of special features like focus stacking, HDR shooting, and High-Resolution Shot mode for stunning 50 MP images.
If you want a traditional compact camera, we recommend the Sony ZV-1 II. It’s a fixed-lens camera, so there’s no extra expense in buying a lens to go with it. But it still contains excellent features for photography and video production.
You can shoot lovely still images. But the video features make it one of the best vlogging cameras available. The fixed lens gives you an 18-50mm focal length. The rotating touchscreen allows you to see yourself when recording 4K video. And there’s a three-capsule mic built-in. You even get a mic muffler for better audio quality.
The Fujifilm X-T5 might be overkill for many beginners. But it’s a great choice if you want to start with something a little more advanced.
It looks great, with a retro-influenced body. And it’s one of the most powerful APS-C mirrorless cameras there is. It gives you incredible 40 MP images. You can find your inner filmmaker with the advanced video features. And you have plenty of other creative features to inspire your photography work.
- Lots of RF-mount lens options
- Enjoy excellent still-image capabilities with a 24.1 MP sensor
- Features Dual Pixel CMOS AF for precise focus on human faces
- Records 4K and Full HD video with ease
- Compact and lightweight for excellent mobility
- Classic design meets modern technology
- High-quality 20.9 MP images and 4K UHD videos
- Vlogger-friendly with flip out screen and microphone jack
- Easily send photos to your phone with SnapBridge app
- Compatible with both NIKKOR Z and F-mount lenses
- Compact and lightweight for superior portability
- Class-leading IP53 dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof design
- New 20 MP MFT Live MOS sensor provides high-quality images
- Features computational photography functions like Handheld High-Res Shot, Live ND, Focus Stacking, and HDR shooting
- Pro Capture records up to 120 fps with a half-press of the shutter button
- Compact camera with a fixed 18-50mm zoom lens
- 4K video recording with various frame rate options
- Vertical video mode for optimized social media content
- Built-in 3-capsule microphone for pro sound recording
- Rotating LCD touchscreen for easy selfies and vlogs
- High-resolution 40 MP X-Trans 5 HR sensor
- Seven-stop in-body image stabilization system
- Records up to 6.2K in 4:2:2 10-bit color internally
- Features Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode for 160-megapixel images
- Classic, dial-based layout for easy use
2. Best Camera Lenses
There’s an old saying in photography that a camera is only as good as the lens you use it with. And that still holds true today. That’s why the right lens is a photography essential for beginners.
You always need to make sure a lens is compatible with your camera. For example, if you have a Canon DSLR camera, you’ll need a Canon EF lens. If you have a mirrorless Canon camera, you have your pick of the Canon RF lenses. It’s always best to double-check the lens mount on your camera before you buy a lens.
You also need to consider the type of photography you want to shoot. There are many different types of lenses. And some are better suited to certain types of photography than others.
You have prime lenses and zoom lenses. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, so you can’t zoom in or out. But they tend to have better optical quality. You can zoom in and out with a zoom lens, which gives you more flexibility. But the quality isn’t always as good as with a prime lens.
Then you need to think about focal length. This determines the field of view a lens gives you. If you have a short focal length, like 20mm, it gives you a wide field of view. That’s why they are called wide-angle lenses.
At the other end, you have telephoto lenses with large focal lengths. A 400mm lens gives you incredible magnification, getting you closer to your subject from long range.
But a standard-angle focal length is the place to start for beginners. The classic 50mm lens, or nifty-fifty, is the perfect lens when you’re starting out. The field of view is similar to the human eye. And they often have fast f/1.8 apertures, so they work well in various light conditions.
Beginners can also experiment with zoom lenses. They give you more shot versatility and help you vary your compositions. Something in the standard-angle zoom category should be fine.
Here’s a selection of the essential lenses for beginners.
- Compact and lightweight for easy portability
- Large f/1.8 aperture enhances low-light shooting
- Features a 50mm fixed focal length for creative composition
- PMo aspherical lens suppresses aberrations for clear images
- Optimized lens placement reduces ghosting and flares
- Compact and lightweight for the on-the-go photographer
- Excellent for portraits, action, and night photography
- Bright f/1.8 aperture for sharp shots in low light
- Near-silent STM technology for quick, quiet focusing
- Improved focus ring placement for easy manual adjustments
- Compact design with a fast f/1.8 aperture for stunning images
- Aspherical lens element for optimal picture quality
- Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor ensures quiet operation
- M/A focus mode switch for seamless manual-auto transitions
- Edge-to-edge sharpness on both FX and DX format DSLRs
- Excellent for still photography and videography
- Provides intensity in still images at 24mm
- Features built-in Optical Image Stabilization
- Lightweight and compact, perfect for R-Series cameras
- Versatile 24-50mm zoom coverage for creativity
- Affordable zoom lens for Nikon Z-series cameras
- Compact size makes it easy to transport and carry
- Edge-to-edge sharpness throughout the zoom range
- Three aspherical elements for reduced glare and aberrations
- Smooth, click-free aperture control
3. Best Camera Straps
You won’t get very far without a good camera strap, which is why they are a photography essential.
There are many types of camera straps to choose from. You can go for the classic neck strap. A hand grip strap is perfect if you want to keep your camera ready at all times. There are also sling straps and camera harnesses.
Certain straps are better suited to different types of photography. Neck straps are used by everyone, from street photographers to professionals working in a studio. But the problem is that they leave the camera dangling, which can be annoying.
A hand strap is great for keeping your camera firmly in your grip at all times. The problem is that you can’t use that hand for anything else.
Photojournalists and event photographers often opt for sling straps and harnesses. They leave your hands free for other things while keeping your camera within reach for quick access.
Here are our recommendations for the best camera straps and slings.
4. Best Camera Bags
As you build up your collection of photography essentials, you’ll need something to carry it in. That’s why a camera bag is one of the most important accessories a photographer can have.
Using a normal backpack to carry camera equipment is not a good idea. There’s a high risk of things getting damaged, lost, or broken. You need a proper camera backpack with plenty of storage space and protection.
The Wandrd Prvke is the best camera backpack, in our opinion. It looks fantastic, which will please the more fashion-conscious among us. It has all the storage space you need for all your essential gear. And it has excellent padding throughout and is fully waterproof for use in bad weather. Here is our full review of the Wandrd Prvke.
You can go for the Wandrd Duo Daypack if you want something smaller. You might think we have a special deal with Wandrd, but after reviewing 18 top camera bags, the Prvke and Duo Daypack were two of the top performers.
The Duo Daypack is a smaller cousin of the Prvke. It’s stylish and subtle, with complete protection against rain. And the inside has an array of padded pockets for all your gear. Check out our full Wandrd Duo Daypack review for an in-depth look at this camera backpack.
Camera messenger bags are a popular alternative to backpacks. Worn over one shoulder, they hang at your side so your camera is always in easy reach. They are a good option if you remove and return the camera from the bag a lot.
Sling bags are a cross between a backpack and a messenger bag. They are another great option for carrying cameras and other photography gear.
If you’re an international traveler, we recommend the Think Tank Airport Essentials. It’s a protective backpack that’s designed specifically for air travel. It’s small enough to use as hand luggage. But it has plenty of storage space for cameras, lenses, and other photography essentials.
5. Best Devices for Memory and Storage
Digital storage isn’t the most fun or glamorous part of photography. But it’s a problem all photographers have to confront, which is why these storage gadgets are photography essentials for any aspiring beginner.
Every digital camera needs a memory card, so it’s best to stock up on a few. A larger storage size is usually better, even if you’re using an entry-level camera. Smaller memory cards fill up fast, which is frustrating. A larger storage size also allows you to shoot in RAW, which is better for photo editing.
Carrying a memory card reader in your backpack is a handy tip. It allows you to transfer images and media from your camera to your laptop when you’re on the go. You can get straight down to editing, or you can share them on social media.
Once you start taking photos, you’ll realize how much digital storage you need to house them. To save you from filling up your computer, it’s best to get an external hard drive. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is perfect for busy photographers.
6. Best Lighting Gear
Camera flashes won’t be on every photographer’s kit list. But for certain types of photography, you can’t live without a flash. They are used in event photography and photojournalism. You can also use flashes for product, portrait, and fashion photography.
A basic flashgun is easy to use. After making sure it’s compatible with your camera, you simply attach the flash unit to the camera using the hot shoe connector. It will then sync with the camera, flashing when you press the shutter release button.
You can also find excellent third-party flashguns. And the Godox TT600 is one of the best. It’s a universal flash, so it’s compatible with multiple camera brands, including Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm.
LED light panels are another helpful lighting tool for photography. Unlike a flash, they give you constant lighting. This makes it easier to set your exposure settings. And it allows you to see your subject more clearly before you take the shot.
If you want to make the most of the natural light in your environment, then you need a light reflector. They allow you to easily manipulate the light available for soft, natural lighting results. Reflected light is much less harsh than artificial light from a flashgun.
- High-performance portable flash for creative photography
- Offers more power for greater depth-of-field control
- Can be set up as a Commander or Remote in wireless setups
- Includes multiple accessories like diffusion dome and filters
- Compatible with all cameras in Nikon's Creative Lighting System
- Superior performance with approx. 230 full-power flashes
- Faster recycle time of 0.1-2.6 s at full power
- Even light illumination with GN60 high guide number
- Achieves 1/8000 s high-speed sync with high-speed triggers
- Built-in 2.4G wireless transmission for stable output
- High-brightness LED light with soft illumination
- Adjustable color temperature from 3200-5600k
- Lightweight, portable, and perfect for various shooting occasions
- Built-in 29.6W/h batteries for continuous use
- Comes with a 12-month warranty for quality assurance
7. Best Tripods and Stabilizers
Every aspiring photographer needs a good tripod. You might not need a tripod every time you pick up your camera. But for some types of photography, you can’t work without one.
Tripods are especially useful for landscape photography. They keep your camera stable so you can apply the perfect camera settings. You can also use them for portraits. And they are great for product and food photography.
The Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod is one of the best on the market. It’s strong but not too heavy. It’s flexible, so you have plenty of mounting options. And it offers good value for money.
Mini tripods are also worth having in your photography kit bag. While not as strong as full-sized tripods, mini tripods are excellent for selfies and vlogging. You can also use them for tabletop photography, whether that’s shooting food photography or stop-motion animation.
A tripod can slow you down, which is why some photographers prefer to use a camera monopod. They give you more stability when shooting. But they also allow you to move around more freely. They are particularly popular with sports photographers.
Video makers also need more stability, which is why you should consider using a video tripod or a camera gimbal. A video tripod stabilizes your camera but allows you to move it smoothly while mounted. That’s thanks to the fluid tripod head.
A camera gimbal stabilizes the camera while you’re shooting from hand. You can move the camera and gimbal around while shooting and still achieve shake-free footage. They are essential items for budding filmmakers.
Here are our picks for the best tripods, monopods, and gimbals.
- Ideal for advanced hobbyist photographers seeking high performance and stability
- Quick setup and adjustment with new locking mechanism, the QPL travel lever
- Ergonomic design allows for intuitive shooting perspective changes
- Features an easy link for adding accessories like lights or reflectors
- Includes a 494 aluminium ball head for precise camera positioning
- Supports entry-level cameras and devices up to 5.5 lbs
- Sturdy aluminum and Adapto structure for reliable use
- Extremely lightweight and perfect for travel
- Two leg angles and adjustable legs for perfect framing
- Allows camera to tilt 90 degrees for precision in portrait mode
- Compact, foldable design for easy transportation
- Enhances shots with creative functions like time-lapse and panorama
- RavenEye transmitter offers remote control of camera parameters
- ActiveTrack 3.0 provides exceptional subject tracking
- Includes advanced battery for 14-hour runtime
- Ultra-lightweight, compact, and stylish design
- Allows panoramic photography with separate pan and tilt
- Easy setup with twist-lock legs and adjustable angles
- Converts to a monopod for versatile shooting options
- Includes a convenient carrying bag for transport
8. Best Photo Editing Software
Whether you want to make major adjustments or tiny touchups, every photographer needs good editing software. They also help with file and photo organization. But they can also help you express yourself and find your visual style.
Adobe Lightroom is the most popular software with photographers. It has a wide range of sophisticated adjustment tools. And it’s the most advanced file organization tool there is. There’s no surprise it’s the industry’s leading photo editing software.
But beginners might find Lightroom, with its complicated functionality, a tough nut to crack. That’s why we recommend Luminar Neo for beginners.
Luminar Neo harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to streamline the editing process. The software is packed with simple solutions to previously complex tasks. Laborious jobs like removing power lines or changing the sky are now one-click operations. Read our full Luminar Neo review for an in-depth dive into the software.
ON1 Photo RAW is another top photo editing software. The workflow is easy to use and intuitive. The photo organization tools are brilliant. And it has a great companion app for smartphones.
Here’s a quick look at the best photo editing software for beginners. And here is our full article on the best Adobe Lightroom alternatives.
- Industry-leading photography software
- Wide-ranging toolset for all types of adjustments
- Excellent organization and file management tools
- Download or create your own quick-apply presets
- Sophisticated application tools for intricate photo editing
9. Additional Photography Accessories
Now we’ve covered all the major topics, it’s time to look at a few extra bits and bobs you’ll need. While these items might seem unexciting and non-essential, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Cleaning is never a glamorous topic, and that’s still true with photography. However, keeping your gear clean is of the utmost importance. And that’s especially true when it comes to your camera and lenses.
That’s why we consider the Altura Photo Cleaning Kit to be a photography essential. It has everything you need to keep your camera clean and in good working order. If you don’t want the whole kit, you can use an air blower to keep the dust off.
Mastering white balance is a great way to improve your photography. It might seem like an odd concept when you’re starting out. But when you nail white balance, you’ll see a drastic improvement in your results. The Anwenk White Balance Cards are the perfect accessory to help you in this important area of photography.
Color calibration is a similar and equally important area of photography. It’s something you’ll have to learn to get more professional results. The Datacolor SpyderChecker 24 Color Calibrator is exactly what you need to get your colors calibrated right.
Here’s a list of our final selection of photography essentials for beginners.
- Provides in-camera and post-process white balance
- Ensures accurate, consistent color from shot to shot
- Features 24 spectrally engineered color targets
- Streamlines post-production workflow with color calibration
Conclusion: Best Photography Essentials for Beginners
We’ve covered all the bases when it comes to the best photography essentials for beginners. We’ve looked at the best entry-level cameras and lenses. We’ve recommended the best storage devices and photography hardware. And you can even get started with the best photo editing software for beginners.
The Canon EOS R100 is our top photography essential for beginners. It’s a brilliant mirrorless camera that beginners can pick up and start shooting right away. You can pair that with the Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. And you can carry those in your Wandrd Prvke camera backpack. That’s a gear setup that’s fantastic for any beginner!