Buying photography equipment for the first time can a daunting task. The camera is only the first of the many pieces of equipment necessary to create a full setup for photography. You need to make sure that your equipment will help you capture high-quality images at a reasonable price.
Here’s a comprehensive list of equipment that will work for almost every type of photographer.
The Must-Have Photography Equipment
The core of photography is the camera. Choosing the right camera can be difficult. Everyone seems to have an opinion on which brand is best. Camera companies are working hard to deliver top quality at affordable prices so you have a lot to choose from. In choosing your camera, always consider where you will be using it. Put your interest above all factors. For sports, you need a high shutter speed; for art, you may choose a film-based camera instead of digital capture; at weddings, you want a camera rated to perform well in low light and for portraiture, you want a high megapixel count.
Lenses help the light get to the camera’s sensor. Choosing what lens to use is an individual decision. Choosing the right lens for the task can become a complex trade-off between cost, size, weight, lens speed and image quality. The type of work you want to do dictates what kind of lens you’ll need.
A zoom lens brings distant objects into focus. The photographer can vary the focal length within a pre-defined range. The primary advantage of a zoom lens is that, since lens changes are unnecessary, it is easier to achieve a variety of compositions or perspectives. This advantage is often critical for dynamic subject matters. Zooms just increase flexibility, so using a zoom lens does not necessarily mean that one no longer has to change their position. Zoom lenses are good for sports, wildlife or adventure photography.
On the other hand, a prime lens is a fixed-focal-length or a unifocal lens. While it is true that a prime lens is less versatile than a zoom, it is often of superior optical quality, wider maximum aperture, lighter weight, smaller size. The primary advantages of prime lenses are in cost, weight, and speed. An inexpensive prime lens can generally provide as good image quality as a high-end zoom lens.
There is also wide-angle lens. Wide-angle lens refers to a lens whose focal length is substantially smaller than the focal length of a normal lens for a given film plane. It allows you to capture a wide expanse. This lens is helpful for architectural, interior and landscape photography or taking team or class photos.
There are also specialty lenses such as fish-eye, extreme telephoto, image-stabilizing, and night-vision.
The Tripod and Ball Head
A tripod is used to stabilize and elevate a camera, a flash unit, or other photographic equipment. All photographic tripods have three legs and a mounting head to couple with a camera. Tripods are used for both still and motion photography to prevent camera movement. They are necessary when slow-speed exposures are being made, or when lenses of extreme focal length are used, It is also used to reduce camera shake to achieve maximum sharpness and also helpful in achieving precise framing of the image.
In addition to the list of photography equipment is the ball head. A ball head is a metal or plastic apparatus placed on top of a tripod that increases stability and provides faster, more accurate rotation for the photographer.
Monitor and Software
A monitor is a must-have photography equipment. The type of photography you specialize dictates the type of monitor and program to choose. Your monitor should be good enough for serious editing work. There is also a need for color calibration. If your monitor is not correctly reproducing shades and colors, then all the time spent on image editing and post-processing could actually be counter-productive. Knowing how to calibrate your monitor is critical for any photographer who wants accurate and predictable photographic prints.
There are a lot of software available in the market for processing images but the most two popular are Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro. The two allows you to efficiently organize and edit your photos. Other programs range from what comes prepackaged on many computers to high-priced deluxe products.
Most photographers will need a flash at some time or another, whether for portraits or for creative still-life photography. A major purpose of a flash is to illuminate a dark scene. The built-in flash of your camera will not have the capabilities of an external flash.
You may also want some light modifiers such as reflectors. Reflectors are improvised or specialized reflective surface used to redirect light towards a given subject or scene. If you use a reflector, not only will you regulate the amount of light on your subject but also bounce, direct, soften, diffuse, and angle the light. You can also tone down or eliminate shadows and even change the color tone.
Filters are another essential element of a photography equipment. A filter is a camera accessory consisting of an optical filter that can be inserted into the optical path. Filters modify the images recorded. There is a wide variety of lens filters on the market. The UV, Neutral Density and a Polarizing Filters are the three highly recommended filters. A bad filter will harm the image quality of every image you take, so invest on high-quality filters.
Extra Camera Battery and Memory Card
An extra battery and memory card should be on your list because the last thing you’ll want is to have a depleted battery or run out of space on your memory card in the middle of taking photos.