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5 Essential Tools for New Photographers

By Nicole Krempasky on August 19, 2022

Black Sony camera laying on table.

If you’re interested in getting your photography career started, the first thing you’ll need is the right equipment. Check out these tips from the New York Institute of Photography on what tools are worth your time and money.

What equipment do I need to become a photographer?

If you’ve decided to get serious about photography and enrolled in a photography course, or are planning to, it’s important to know what you’ll need to get started. Every photographer has a toolkit of essential items they need. We’ve narrowed down the top five that are most useful, regardless of what type of photography you’ve decided to specialize in.

1. Camera.

A camera is an obvious tool you’ll need for photography, but choosing one can pose a bit of a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. There are a lot of options on the market depending on your needs and price point, but we can help you make sense of some of the best camera options here.

2. Tripod.

Tripods are an invaluable tool for photographers. They are handy for wedding, landscape, and even portrait photography. They offer stability, allowing you to get a clear shot, especially when the conditions require slower shutter speeds such as during evening shoots. The type of tripod you choose will depend on the camera you’re using; you’ll need to make sure it can support the camera’s weight. But an all-around good budget option is the Amazon Basics 60 Inch Lightweight Tripod. While a little larger in size, it can support a camera weighing up to six pounds and lets you pan and tilt your camera, all while coming in under $30. If you’re looking for something a little smaller and more portable, the Geekoto 77 Inch Tripod can support a 17-pound camera. Though more expensive at $89, this lightweight tripod folds down to 19 inches, allowing you to take it almost anywhere.

3. Memory cards.

Most photography nowadays is digital, which means all of your photography can be stored on a tiny disc. Some photographers opt for one disc with a large amount of storage, while others prefer to keep a few with slightly smaller storage capabilities on hand. The amount of storage will impact the price of the card. Either option you choose will help keep your photos organized and your computer less cluttered. Forbes ranked the SanDisk 256 GB Extreme Pro SD Card as the best overall option. With a price tag of $56, this card offers durability, large storage, and fast transfer speeds. If you’d prefer making a smaller investment, SanDisk Extreme offers multiple storage sizes in a durable, though slower, pick.

4. Camera bag.

The last thing you want to do is lose a memory card or drop your camera or tripod. Invest in a good, all-purpose camera bag to store your camera, lenses, cards, and anything else you’ll need to carry with you to a job or project. The type of camera bag will all depend on camera size and type as well as personal preference. Some prefer a backpack while others prefer a sling or even a roller bag. One good option is the Vivitar DKS- 18 Small Camera Backback. Lightweight and durable, this $59 dollar bag fits a 14-inch laptop, full-size DSLR, multiple lenses, and has smaller storage pockets for chargers and cables. The $37 Bagsmart Camera Backpack has a dedicated tripod pocket.

5. Photoshop.

Even the best photographers need to edit photos. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular software options for this purpose, helping you take the quality of your photos up a notch.

Do I need to take a photography course?

Talent is a big part of turning your hobby into a career, but there is a lot to know if you plan on making it professionally as a photographer. Experience and learning as you can sometimes get you there, but photography courses can help you learn the fundamentals more quickly and with the help and advice from experts.

A course can also help you earn industry-desired credentials, such as certification from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). This can help your resume stand out against competition when applying to or bidding on jobs.

Enroll with NYIP

In business for over a century, NYIP is also the world’s largest online photography school. Our self-paced programs offer you both the opportunity to tailor your schedule to whatever works best for you, as well as mentorship with established, professional photographers. Get started on your journey by enrolling online today or call our admissions department at 1-800-583-1736.