The 5 Absolutely Essential Items for Photography Beginners

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It is so easy to pop online and see all the shiny objects that come with photography and want to buy them all!  An hours worth of browsing could set you back many thousands of £ and $’s!  However, it doesn’t have to be that way at the beginning.  Sure, it is always nice to buy a new lens, or a new camera bag further down the line; but what essentials do you actually need to get you started on your photography journey?

Let us take the stress away with our Ultimate Essentials Photography List!

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Ah the Olympus Pen EPL7.

The girliest camera on the market, it also has sparkles through it!  Aside from the cute factor (and oh how cute it is!) this is a fantastic little camera that really packs a punch.

The Olympus Pen was purchased for my birthday in March last year after 1000’s of images on my iPhone that just weren’t doing what I wanted them to do.  Most likely my expectations of the iPhone were just to high, it is after all a mobile phone first, a camera second; but I still wanted more from my snaps.

For work, I have my work horses – the Canon 5d Mk3 which is a fabulous camera.  It is perfect for wedding, portrait, landscapes and commercial photography, but it weighs in around 2 kilograms / 4 lbs, so it isn’t exactly light and compact for trips away or even dog walks.

There are 3 areas of this camera that I love:

1) It has the same controls as an SLR camera.  Meaning, if I want to be creative and change my apertures and shutter speeds, I can.  I can even use full manual control with this camera.  And the results are fantastic.

2) I can change lenses with the camera too; meaning it is more like an SLR than a compact camera.  The flexibility in being able to change lenses  is great, as you can go from an ultra wide angle photograph (imagine Eiffel Tower and surroundings or Grand Canyon) to being able to change to a long telephoto lens (image being able to see the people on top of the Eiffel Tower!)

3) The size and weight of the Olympus pen.  Yes I have mentioned it before in the introduction, but it is worth mentioning again.  If you struggle with arthritis, neck or back pain; then prolonged carrying of a bulky camera will not be good for you.  This is so light and is around the same circumference as an iPhone 6 Plus, obviously being a bit wider than a phone with the lens too.  It can fit perfectly in most handbags.

Not the cheapest camera on the block, but prices should come down now as the Olympus EPL8 is now out.

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To start taking pictures on your new fancy camera, don’t forget to purchase a memory card!

Most cameras will not come with a memory card in the box, which is a shame as you cannot take pictures without having one.

For the sake of your sanity and your beautiful memories, please purchase one that is a reputable make.  The higher end cards come with recovery software if the worse does happen.

Great makes that I use include Sandisk Extreme, Sandisk Extreme Pro and Lexar.

When it comes to the volume of memory, there really is quite a selection out there.  Look at it this way; you can place all your eggs in one basket and go for a 64 or 128 GB which would allow thousands of images on the card.  But, then there is the issue of memory failure and loosing all of your photographs.  When I am away, I like to take 16 or 32 GB cards with me and then I will use one card for a few days and then change.  Just to be safe.  Probably too over cautious!

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The 3rd item on the list should really be joint 2nd with the memory card and that is a lens.

Lenses are again required to take photographs with your new camera, but they are a mine field of possibilities.  This lens is the 40-150mm and is wonderful for a general walk about lens.  The 40mm end is ideal for landscapes and wide enough to get say the London Eye fully in the shot if you are far back enough.  The 150mm end will be able to see a full pod in view, plus some.

As beginners, I always recommend a lens that will be versatile enough for you at the start of your photographic journey.  This lens will absolutely do that for you and will be a joy to use.

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Now this is the cheapest of photography accessories recommended on the blog today, but such a valuable piece of equipment!

The LensPen is a microfibre tiny piece of cloth one side and a soft bristle brush on the other.  Perfect for clearing pieces of dust off your lens first and then using the fibre to buff those greasy finger prints off the lens.  You will be amazed that you lived without it for so long!

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Last but not least is my favourite item to talk about… camera bags!

This is a higher end range of camera bags, designed specifically for women that want to have kit bags that look like hand-bags.  Stylish, flexible and safer – you can spot a good camera bag a mile away, that black and canvas mesh is a sure fire sign when you are on holiday.

You can thank the designer Kelly Moore for this range of bags, she is based in America and has produced dozens of varying styles.

This bag in particular is called the “Steph” bag and I had to have it when I visited New York for my 30th last year!

It is a great size, I can get 2 professional cameras and lenses in there, a compartment for batteries and memory cards.  Also laptop!  It really is a perfect travelling bag.

They also do a smaller style depending on your needs and requirements.

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That brings us to the end of our round up and top 5 essential items for photographers!  I hope you found it useful and if you want to learn more about photography, you can find our photography courses on the pages above!

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