As someone who began my photography business around 3 years ago, I have started looking back and reflecting on all the things I have learned. From great mentors that have become awesome friends, to some things I wish I would have invested in earlier, I have definitely been around the block a time or two!
Nowadays, I get frequently asked by new photographers in the industry a multitude of questions, but most of them boil down to this: “What do I really need to do photography?”
From equipment to odds and ends, I got you. I am here to help a friend out anytime, so please do reach out to me if you are curious about any of this! Also… PS- this is #notsponsored so this is all my opinion and best advice I wish I had when I first started.
If you are curious about what I have collected over the years, check out my Photography Must-Have list. This is just a list of all the things I love and still use in my photography business, and again, is not affiliated or sponsored. I just have it for everyone who asks what I use and love!
1. Good Lens > Expensive Camera Body
I will tell you the first thing that broke my heart about photography is just how dang expensive this equipment can be! When you are beginning your business, you probably don’t have tons of money to throw at the best camera and the best lenses on the market… Which is super frustrating when you want to create the best work possible. My best advice is to invest in the best lens you can afford, and upgrade your camera body later on. In my (humble) opinion, a great lens will make all the difference. Any camera body is truly only as good as the lens attached to it.
2. Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop
I get asked a ton what software I use for editing. Adobe Lightroom Classic is pretty much the industry standard across the photography industry. When buying your subscription, Adobe usually has a package for photographers that also includes Photoshop. While I barely use Photoshop in my business, it definitely comes in clutch when I need it! Adobe also usually offers student and teacher discounts.
3. External Hard Drive
This is one thing that you seriously NEED! I think I bought my first external hard drive when I was about a year into photography and I totally regret not getting one earlier. These are an absolute necessity for photography and if you only purchase one thing on this list… it should 100% be this! A hard drive will ensure that you have a safe storage place for all of your work. This ensures that if your cloud messes up or your computer gets stolen or damaged, you still have all of the precious images you have taken safely stored. No to mention, high resolution files we work with can take up a ton of space and is super annoying to deal with if you are backing them up to your computer’s storage. There are a ton of affordable options out there if you are just getting started and don’t want to drop a ton of money on one.
4. Gallery Delivery System
Gone are the days of transferring large files over Google Drive, email, or that random Adobe app that doesn’t really work! I am here to tell you that investing in a gallery delivery system will save you so. much. time… And will make you look super professional! Over the years, I have found that CloudSpot is the easiest and super affordable, but a ton of photographers also use Pixieset, SmugMug, and Zenfolio. This all just comes down to your preference!
5. Extra Camera Batteries
Okay, literally, this is another essential. You have to buy this too! I cannot tell you how many sessions I spent thinking I had enough battery juice to last me through a session… and then panicking when I saw the little bar flashing that my camera would die soon! Save yourself the mini heart attacks by purchasing multiple batteries and making sure to charge ’em up before shooting all weekend. Thank me later!