Things You Need To Start Photography

Things You Need To Start Photography

A lot of people ask me what's a good camera to start with. To be honest, when I got my first camera I went in completely unprepared. I did no proper research on the differences between them all before I got to the store. 

Now there is no one camera that is perfect for everybody, it's all a preference thing. With that being said, this is merely the things that I started with. It worked for me so I'm comfortable enough to recommend to others.

Camera:  Canon t5i

My first baby. I remember the day I got her. Completely unintentionally. A common question I get is do I prefer Canon to Nikon. I've never owned a Nikon before but I have played with a few of my friend's Nikon. I personally don't like them just because it's just not user-friendly. I feel like you have to go in a folder to go to another folder to find another folder to change a setting.  I was able to get the basics of my Canon within a few hours. 

I currently shoot primarily with my Canon 5D Mark ii, but when I  record videos I like to go back to my t5i. The reason for that is that with it being a touch screen, it's a lot easier for me to focus with. I don't specialize in video although it is something that I do have interest in. 

Lens: 18-55 mm f3.5

The lens that came with my camera. Honestly, I didn’t even buy my first lens ( 50mm f1.8 ) until probably a year after owning the camera. Those are literally the only lens I own at all.

A lot of people are shocked when I mention this. When it comes to lens though, honestly I just say know what you're shooting. 50 is my ideal lens. There are two reasons why I like it:

  1. Ideal size: Being that I’ve always been more into shooting portraits + fashion, I like to use a short-range lens. I'm usually pretty close to my subjects so I don't need a zoom lens like a 70-200 which is better if you're at a further distance.
  2. It's easier to carry around:  I do a lot of all day shoots. Trust me when I say, that camera begins to get heavy around your neck after a few hours. The 50mm is light and easy to carry around.

That's it.

No really. That's all you need to become a photographer: a camera + a lens if it doesn't come with one.

Everything else is extra honestly. Bells + whistles you could say. They could help with the process but it's not necessary to start shooting.

One thing I stress heavily to beginning photographers is don't go out + spend a ton of money trying to get all the expensive stuff, it's not necessary. The main thing you should be doing is learning about the settings and the three things that really control how a picture comes out (ISO, Aperture + Shutter Speed).

If a room is too dark, what would you adjust to let more light in? What setting controls your depth of field? These are the type of things you should be able to answer before you go out and spend $3,000 on a camera (and yes that's just for the camera, no lens). Some of my best pictures of all time came out of my t5i and stock lens.

Extra Stuff That I Use Help

Detachable Flash: Yongnuo YN560

This wasn't my first flash. The situation that caused me to get my first flash didn't allow me to properly research or look up flashes before the purchase (if you haven't noticed by now I'm not a research guy). I literally had no idea what flash did what, I just know I needed one at that very instance for an event I was at. 

Since then I've been able to actually play with some different types of flash + found that the Canon fosn was my favorite so far. It's easy to use, packs a strong flash + not too expensive. In other words, perfect for beginners.

Memory Card: SD Card 32 GB

When I first started I got one big memory card with 64 GB worth of memory; biggest mistake ever.

I found out the hard way that memory cards aren't the most secure things. Actually, it's just some plastic with a very fragile drive in it. I remember one time I had a shoot with a client + shot over 600 photos, all on one memory card. Some how, I damaged the card though + was unable to get all the files off. I was heart broken. It was then that the phrase, "don't put all your eggs in one basket" really hit home. It's 2017 so we say "don't put all your files on one card".

Now what I suggest to photographers is get several smaller cards, like 16 or 32 GB. Yes, you will have to change them more frequently when shooting but you're also putting a safety net around yourself. If for some reason one of the cards damage you will only lose one look oppose to all of them. Smart right?

Software: Adobe Creative Cloud

The king pins of the photo editing game. Everyone has heard of Photoshop. When I first started shooting I only edited on Lightroom. As my interest in fashion + portraits began to increase, I eventually had to learn how to do things like retouch.

To best explain it, Lightroom is better for color adjustment + tone edits. Photoshop is better for actual photo editing. If a photo is under exposed, I'd go into Lightroom + play with the exposure in there. If there is a distracting sign in the background of my photo, I would go into Photoshop + go over it with the stamp tool.

Now I know some photographers who are great at editing and retouching on Lightroom + I know a bunch of photographers who do color corrections in Photoshop. I'm not those people though lol, so I can only speak on my way of editing.

Computer: Macbook Pro

I don't know. I'm a hype beast. Steve Jobs was the G.O.A.T. I've been riding with Apple since college and just haven't looked back since. I use my 13 MacBook Pro. It's an older model so I took the original hard drive out and added an SDD to make it run quicker. Works like a charm honestly.


There's a bunch of other stuff you can pick up but like I said, I'm a strong believer of knowing your tools before you get too far in money wise. It's just not necessary.

Be sure to download my free ebook "Planning a Photoshoot 101" for a step by step guide on how to set up a smooth photo shoot. Hopefully, this list helps you out, now go out + start creating!