Top Photography Gear for Beginners: Practical Recommendations for 2023
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


Best Camera Options for Beginners

Essential Lenses for Beginner Photographers

Understanding and Choosing Lighting Gear

Must-Have Photography Accessories

Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Entering the world of photography can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. With countless options available, finding the best photography gear for beginners can be a challenge. In this blog, we'll break down the top choices for cameras, lenses, lighting, accessories, and software to help you kickstart your photography journey with confidence.

Best Camera Options for Beginners

Choosing the right camera is the first step towards capturing amazing photos. The following are three popular types of cameras for beginners, each with its own benefits and features.

DSLR Cameras

DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras are a popular choice for beginners due to their versatility and ease of use. Some key advantages of DSLR cameras include:

  • Interchangeable lenses: This allows you to explore various types of photography and expand your creative options.
  • Optical viewfinder: A feature that helps you see exactly what the camera will capture, making it easier to compose your shots.
  • Manual controls: These give you the ability to adjust settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, providing a hands-on learning experience.

Popular beginner-friendly DSLR models include the Canon EOS Rebel T7i and the Nikon D3500.

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are a more compact alternative to DSLRs, offering similar performance in a smaller package. Here are some reasons why you might consider a mirrorless camera:

  • Portability: Their lightweight design makes them easier to carry around, which can be a bonus for travel or street photography.
  • Faster autofocus: Mirrorless cameras often have quicker and more accurate autofocus systems compared to DSLRs.
  • Electronic viewfinder: This offers a real-time preview of your image with exposure and color adjustments visible before taking the shot.

Some beginner-friendly mirrorless cameras include the Sony Alpha a6000 and the Fujifilm X-T200.

Point-and-Shoot Cameras

If you're looking for simplicity and affordability, point-and-shoot cameras can be a great option. They're perfect for those who want to focus on composition and storytelling without getting too technical. Here's what you can expect from a point-and-shoot camera:

  • Compact size: These cameras easily fit in your pocket, making them ideal for everyday use and spontaneous moments.
  • Easy operation: With minimal manual controls and automatic settings, point-and-shoot cameras are perfect for beginners who want to learn the basics of photography.
  • Fixed lens: While you can't change lenses, many point-and-shoot cameras offer a versatile zoom range to cover most shooting situations.

Some popular point-and-shoot cameras for beginners are the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II and the Panasonic Lumix ZS70.

Essential Lenses for Beginner Photographers

Now that you have an idea of the best cameras for beginners, let's talk about lenses. The right lens can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos, so it's worth investing some time and effort into understanding the types of lenses available. In this section, we'll cover three lenses that are perfect for those starting out in photography.

Kit Lens

A kit lens is often included when you purchase a DSLR or mirrorless camera. These lenses are versatile and cover a range of focal lengths, making them ideal for learning the ropes of photography. Here's what you can expect from a kit lens:

  • Decent zoom range: Most kit lenses offer a focal length of 18-55mm, allowing you to capture everything from wide landscapes to tight portraits.
  • Lightweight design: Kit lenses are generally compact and light, making them easy to carry around on your photography adventures.
  • Affordability: Since they're often included with the camera, kit lenses are an affordable way to start experimenting with different focal lengths and shooting styles.

Don't underestimate the power of a kit lens; they're a great starting point for exploring the world of photography.

Prime Lens

Once you're comfortable with your kit lens, consider adding a prime lens to your collection. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, meaning they don't zoom in or out. You might wonder why you'd want a lens that doesn't zoom, but it turns out there are some great benefits:

  • Image quality: Prime lenses often produce sharper images with better color and contrast compared to zoom lenses.
  • Low-light performance: Many prime lenses have a wide maximum aperture (like f/1.8), which allows more light into the camera, making them perfect for shooting in low-light conditions.
  • Creative challenge: Since you can't zoom with a prime lens, you'll need to physically move closer or further away from your subject to compose your shot—this encourages you to think more about your composition and can lead to more interesting photos.

A popular prime lens for beginners is the 50mm, also known as the "nifty fifty." It's a versatile focal length that works well for portraits, street photography, and even some landscape shots.

Zoom Lens

Finally, let's talk about zoom lenses. These lenses have a variable focal length, allowing you to zoom in and out to capture a variety of subjects and scenes. Here are a few reasons why a zoom lens might be a valuable addition to your photography gear:

  • Versatility: Zoom lenses cover a wide range of focal lengths, making them suitable for various types of photography—from landscapes and architecture to sports and wildlife.
  • Convenience: Carrying a single zoom lens can be more practical than multiple prime lenses, especially when you're traveling or exploring new locations.
  • Experimentation: A zoom lens allows you to quickly change your perspective and framing, encouraging you to try different compositions and find the best shot.

When looking for a zoom lens, consider something like a 70-300mm or 18-200mm, which will give you a good range for experimenting with different styles and subjects.

So there you have it, a quick overview of the essential lenses to help you make the most of your photography journey. Remember, the best photography gear for beginners is the gear that helps you learn, grow, and capture the moments that matter most to you. Happy shooting!

Understanding and Choosing Lighting Gear

Having covered the best photography gear for beginners in terms of cameras and lenses, let's now shed some light on another important aspect of photography—lighting. The right lighting can take your photos from good to great, and understanding how to work with different lighting gear can significantly improve your skills as a photographer. In this section, we'll discuss three key lighting options: natural light, external flash, and reflectors and diffusers.

Natural Light

For many beginner photographers, natural light is the best and most accessible lighting source. Sunlight is free, versatile, and can produce stunning results when used effectively. Here are some tips to help you make the most of natural light:

  • Time of day: The golden hour—shortly after sunrise or before sunset—is a popular time for shooting outdoors, as the warm, soft light creates a beautiful atmosphere and flattering shadows.
  • Direction: Pay attention to the direction of the light in relation to your subject. Side lighting can emphasize texture, while backlighting can create a glowing effect or silhouette.
  • Diffusion: If you're shooting in harsh sunlight, try finding shade or using a diffuser to soften the light and reduce harsh shadows.

Don't be afraid to experiment with different lighting conditions, as natural light can yield impressive results with a little creativity and practice.

External Flash

While natural light is a fantastic resource, sometimes you'll need a little extra help to illuminate your subject. That's where an external flash comes in handy. External flashes offer more control and versatility than the built-in flash on your camera. Here's what you'll gain by using an external flash:

  • Bounce flash: Instead of pointing the flash directly at your subject, you can angle the flash towards a wall or ceiling, "bouncing" the light back onto your subject for a softer, more diffused effect.
  • Off-camera flash: By moving the flash off the camera, you can control the direction and intensity of the light, creating more dynamic and interesting effects.
  • Wireless control: Many external flashes can be controlled wirelessly, allowing you to easily adjust settings and experiment with different lighting setups.

Adding an external flash to your photography gear can open up new creative possibilities and help you capture well-lit images in a variety of situations.

Reflectors and Diffusers

Reflectors and diffusers are simple yet powerful tools that can help you manipulate light in your photos. They're affordable, easy to use, and can make a big difference in the quality of your images. Here's how they work:

  • Reflectors: A reflector is a large, flat surface—usually made of fabric or foam—that bounces light onto your subject. By positioning a reflector opposite your light source, you can fill in shadows, add a catchlight to your subject's eyes, or create a specific mood in your image.
  • Diffusers: A diffuser is a semi-transparent material, such as a white fabric or plastic sheet, that softens and spreads light more evenly. Diffusers can be used to soften harsh sunlight, create a softer look in portraits, or even out the light in product photography.

While these tools may seem simple, they can have a significant impact on your ability to control and shape light in your photos. Don't underestimate the power of reflectors and diffusers as part of your best photography gear for beginners.

Now that you have a better understanding of lighting gear and how it can enhance your photography, you're well on your way to taking your skills to the next level. Remember, practice makes perfect, so get out there and start experimenting with different lighting setups and techniques. Happy shooting!

Must-Have Photography Accessories

Now that we've explored the best photography gear for beginners in terms of cameras, lenses, and lighting, it's time to talk about the accessories that will help you get the most out of your photography journey. Accessories might not always steal the spotlight, but they play a crucial role in making your photography experience smoother and more enjoyable. In this section, we'll discuss three must-have accessories for beginner photographers: tripods, camera bags, and memory cards and storage.


One of the first accessories you'll want to invest in is a sturdy tripod. While it may not seem like the most glamorous piece of gear, a tripod is essential for achieving sharp, steady shots—especially when working with slow shutter speeds or low-light conditions. Here are some reasons why a tripod should be part of your best photography gear for beginners:

  • Stability: A tripod provides a stable platform for your camera, preventing camera shake and ensuring crisp, clear images.
  • Composition: With a tripod, you can take your time to perfect your composition, explore different angles, and experiment with various camera settings.
  • Long exposures: If you're interested in capturing stunning nightscapes or silky-smooth waterfalls, a tripod is essential for those long exposure shots.

When choosing a tripod, look for one that's sturdy, lightweight, and easy to set up. Don't be tempted to skimp on quality, as a well-built tripod will last you for years to come.

Camera Bags

A reliable camera bag is another essential accessory for beginner photographers. Not only does it protect your gear from damage, but it also makes it easy to carry and organize your equipment. Here's what to look for when choosing a camera bag:

  • Protection: Ensure the bag has adequate padding and compartments to keep your gear safe from bumps and scratches.
  • Size: Choose a bag that fits your camera, lenses, and accessories comfortably, without being too bulky or heavy.
  • Comfort: Look for bags with padded straps and ergonomic designs to make carrying your gear more comfortable.

There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to camera bags, so take your time to find the right one for your needs and preferences.

Memory Cards and Storage

Last but not least, let's talk about memory cards and storage. After all, what good is all that best photography gear for beginners if you don't have enough space to store your masterpieces? Here's what you need to know about memory cards and storage:

  • Capacity: Choose a memory card with enough capacity to store your photos and videos. For beginners, a 32GB or 64GB card should be sufficient, but you may need more as your skills and needs grow.
  • Speed: Look for a memory card with a fast write speed, which will help you capture images more quickly and avoid buffering issues when shooting in burst mode or recording video.
  • Backup: Don't forget to regularly back up your photos to a computer or external hard drive. This will ensure your precious memories are safe, even if your memory card gets damaged or lost.

With a reliable memory card and backup system in place, you can focus on honing your photography skills without worrying about running out of storage space.

In conclusion, investing in the right accessories can make a world of difference in your photography journey. By adding a tripod, camera bag, and memory card to your best photography gear for beginners, you'll be well-equipped to capture stunning images and create lasting memories. So go ahead, grab your gear, and start exploring the wonderful world of photography!

Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Now that you've got your hands on the best photography gear for beginners and have captured some fantastic shots, it's time to make those images truly shine by diving into the world of photo editing. Don't worry, you don't need to be a professional graphic designer to enhance your photos! In this section, we'll explore some accessible photo editing software options for beginners, including free editing software, paid editing software, and mobile apps for editing on the go.

Free Editing Software

Starting with photo editing doesn't need to break the bank. There are several free editing software options available that offer a wide range of tools to help you enhance your images. Here are two popular free editing programs that you can try:

  • GIMP: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful open-source program that offers many features similar to those found in high-end, paid software. With GIMP, you can adjust colors, retouch blemishes, and even work with layers—perfect for beginners who want to explore advanced editing techniques without the hefty price tag.
  • Paint.NET: Paint.NET is another excellent option for beginners looking for free editing software. It's user-friendly, lightweight, and offers a good selection of editing tools, such as color correction, filters, and cropping. While it may not have all the features of GIMP, Paint.NET provides a great starting point for those new to photo editing.

By experimenting with free editing software, you can learn the basics and develop your skills without investing in expensive programs right away.

If you're ready to take your photo editing to the next level, investing in paid editing software can open up a world of possibilities. Here are two popular choices for beginners that are part of the best photography gear for beginners:

  • Adobe Lightroom: Lightroom is a favorite among photographers for its intuitive interface and powerful editing tools. With Lightroom, you can easily organize and edit your photos, apply presets, and even sync your edits across multiple devices. The software is available through a monthly subscription, making it more accessible for beginners on a budget.
  • Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop is the industry standard for photo editing, and for a good reason. It offers an extensive range of tools and features that allow you to manipulate your images in countless ways. However, it can be overwhelming for beginners, so it's best to start with Lightroom and gradually transition to Photoshop once you've mastered the basics.

Keep in mind that paid software often comes with a learning curve, but there are plenty of tutorials and resources available to help you get the hang of it.

Mobile Apps for Editing

For those who prefer editing on the go or simply want a quick way to enhance their photos, mobile apps can be a convenient option. Here are three popular mobile apps that are great for beginners:

  • Snapseed: Snapseed is a powerful, free mobile app that offers a variety of editing tools, such as cropping, exposure adjustment, and filters. You can also use selective adjustments to edit specific areas of your image, making it a versatile option for beginners.
  • VSCO: VSCO is both a photo editing app and a creative community. It offers a range of filters and editing tools, with a focus on achieving a film-like aesthetic. While some filters are free, you can access a more extensive collection by subscribing to VSCO X.
  • Adobe Lightroom Mobile: If you're already using Lightroom on your computer, the mobile app is a fantastic addition to your best photography gear for beginners. It offers many of the same editing tools as the desktop version and allows you to sync your edits across devices, making it perfect for editing on the go.

By exploring different mobile apps, you can find the one that best suits your editing style and workflow.

In conclusion, photo editing is an essential skill for every photographer, and finding the right software to match your needs and skill level is crucial. Whether you opt for free software, invest in professional programs, or edit on your mobile device, you'll be well on your way to creating stunning images that showcase your photography talents. So dive in, experiment with different tools, and watch as your photos come to life!

If you're looking to dive deeper into the world of photography gear and make an informed decision on which camera is best for you, check out the workshop 'Choosing the Perfect Camera for You' by Louis Bever. This workshop will provide you with expert advice and guidance on selecting the right camera to match your needs and skill level.