Budget Photography Gear

This isn't your average page filled with expensive camera gear.  If you want one of those, head back over to Google and I am sure you can find hundreds of sites ready to tell you that you need to spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment in order to create good photos.  I am going to tell you right now that you can create INCREDIBLE images with inexpensive (relatively) equipment.

I have spent thousands of hours researching and testing photography gear for beginners and hobbyists.  I fully understand that a beginner or hobbyist needs to get the very best camera gear that can be had for a reasonable price.  I have done this long enough I can confidently stand behind all of the gear I recommend here as having tremendous value for a very reasonable price.

Not only is this the inexpensive (relatively) gear that you are going to need as you grow as a photographer, I have listed it in the order you should consider when you are ready to invest further.  Sort of a plan for you on how to get started and how to balance out learning/training with investment in gear.

The cool thing is not only can you find the best gear for hobbyists and beginners here, but you can listen to podcast episodes about them as well!  Check out the links on this page (to the right on a computer or scroll down on the page on mobile).  If you decide you want to get the same gear I am using and you use the affiliate links I am providing then it won't cost you anything but will throw a few pennies my way.

Step 1

Of course you have to start off with a camera body.  The wonderful thing is that it is nearly impossible to buy a "bad" camera these days.  Even buying from the used or reconditioned market can put a very capable camera in your hands at a reasonable price.  You don't have to spend $2,500 (or more) on a camera body.  Let me give you some recommendations.

Step 2

Unless you specifically seek out buying a camera that doesn't include a lens, your camera probably came one.  Photographers calls them "kit" lenses because they came in a kit (along with other things).  You can do a lot with that "kit" lens, and you should do all you can to learn how to use your camera with it.  However, this lens is one you should plan to add to your bag pretty quickly.  Let me tell you why and give you some recommendations.

Step 3

While it may not technically be "gear" in the strictest sense, if after the camera and your first good lens you are still enjoying photography, you need to learn how to process your images on the computer.  These days half of creating a great image is knowing how to handle a camera and the other half is knowing how to process that image on the computer.  Lightroom Classic is the place to start.  Let me tell you why.

Step 4

Like that kit lens that came with your camera, you probably got a tripod as well.  Yep we call them "kit" tripods and regardless of brand, I promise you it isn't good enough.  Trust me, I tried so hard to not invest in this area but you really have to.  You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good one.  Let me recommend a few options that have a really good price to performance.

Step 5

Now things are getting serious.  You have been bitten by that photography bug and you want to buy gear to help you improve the quality of your images.  You are probably tempted to upgrade your camera body, outside of this website that may be all you really hear other photographers say.  DON'T DO IT!  At least not until you have upgraded your glass.  These lenses will do more to improve your image quality than a new camera body.  Let me recommend a few.

Step 6

I fought against adding flash to my portrait photography for a long time.  It was additional cost and I didn't know how to shoot with flash.  After dipping my toe in with flash and having it look terrible, I convinced myself and my clients that natural light is a better way to go.  Natural light can be stunning but have that be a thing you choose rather than defaulting to it because you don't know how to use flash.  Next to training and good lenses, flash significantly improve your portraits.  Like everything else I recommend here, you can do it without spending thousands.  Let me recommend some options.

Step 7

Unless you went all in with that first tripod and bought something that included a really good ballhead, at this point you may need replace the ballhead you have been using with one that will actually hold your camera in place where you want it.  You can spend some serious money on ballheads for tripods.  You don't need to.  in fact, the ballhead that is on that first good tripod above can serve you really well for quite a while.  When you come to the point where you want one that is a little better, I have you covered.

Step 8

Remember how I told you that you had to invest the time and money to learn flash as a portrait photography?  Remember how much better your images became?  Well, it can get even better and while it is more of an investment than the first go round, it doesn't have to be outrageous.  Even better, you don't have to throw away the investment you already made with what you need for the next level!

Did this article help you?