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What gear do you really need when you first start your photography business?

What gear should I start out with?

These are all questions that every beginner photographer starts to ask early in their journey.

It can be so tempting to see all the reviews and think “I need the latest gear/ the best gear / the most gear” in order to be a good photographer.

Honestly, as long as you have some simple equipment pieces, some education and some heart, you can accomplish A LOT with a little.

Honestly, just don’t. Have the stuff you’ll lose. The other half is crap. And it just takes space in a bag. The kit lens, you won’t use anyway.


Honestly, When you first start out. Get a “Body only” camera- one that is completely bear-bones with no lens. That way you can get the lens that you want right off the bat.

Getting your first beginner camera- you first have to think about the end in mind.

It might be tempting to get the cheapest camera on EBAY, but then when you actually book clients and try to upgrade your gear or want to shoot video, you will be very limited on what you can do. Then you will be like be and upgrade your camera three times in three years. If I would have just saved up for what I wanted in the first place, then I would have been farther ahead early on.

For Sony Users,

you will want to start off with the A6000 for it’s awesome video and photo quality. Throw on this beautiful 50mm lens to get you going.

For my fellow Nikon shooters.

Nikon has a great beginning level mirrorless z50 camera with adapter bundle. Grab your nifty fifty and get started!


Let’s talk lighting. No you can’t shoot “natural light” forever. You WILL have to start doing headshots or event photography inside (gasp) sometimes. For MOST weddings and events that you will need to have at least the basic knowledge in off-camera flash and simple lighting.

Before you update your camera OR lens, you should be thinking about lighting. I DID NOT early on in my career.

I thought that getting an 85mm 1.8 with an upgraded body would help me automatically become a better photographer. But what I really needed was more lighting knowledge.

I used to stick people right in front of a chalkboard at my church under the fluorescent lighting and think “I have $2,000 worth of camera gear shooting this headshot, it’s going to be beautiful.” But my photos unfortunately came out no better than a cellphone in portrait mode.

I should have used basic softbox and off-camera flash to do the same headshot and turn off the lights!

This godox ad200 is my absolutely favorite mini strobe for headshots, travel and weddings.

Of course you have to buy the matching remote that fits your canon, Nikonor sony camera

I love coupling it with The matching godox portable softbox kit that fits so well in a carry-on bag for travel.

This a great little lighting tool that you can use in a small studio space, in hotel rooms, during events or weddings. I like walking around tables or events with this type of flash so that I am not constantly trying to walk around with a giant soft box.

Of course these external flashes are available for different brands as well. Yes, you can go cheap and get cheaper flashes. But I have tried and failed using cheaper brands that use a TON of AA batteries (I would go through 16 in a wedding). Believe me, the rechargeable battery pack will be your favorite feature!

Here is the canon, the sony and the Nikon godox versions of this awesome flash.

Do not forget about these essential accessories to get your started:

Number one: GOOD light stands. You don’t want to be at a wedding or on location and your gear is toppled over by the wind or a bump and your light goes into the wedding cake.

Cheap light stands will break within a few shoots. I know because I’ve been through at lease 20 different kinds over the past ten years.

Number two, never do an event with harsh lighting. Use this nifty little softbox during events and weddings.

Never get a bad camera bag. Use something that will fit your gear and be portable to take with you on a plane or car with no problem.

I love backpack style bags for just this reason. Easy to carry and pick up on long walks on the beach.

Believe me, I bought THOUSANDS of dollars worth of gear, just starting out and the lighting especially is want I use on a DAILY basis for of my wedding and corporate clients.

Simple is better.

Getting a simple kit and educating your self through awesome sties like will be a game changer for your business.

Christal Marshall is the owner of Virginia Photos and Films,

She lives, breathes and does media and marketing pretty much 24-7 for over 14 local business through social media management, website design, photo, video or media coverage or graphic design.

She is a homeschool mom of three, cat lover, sushi eater and poke fan! She started her business in 2011 with nothing but a $400 camera from Amazon, now she is has been published in over 60 different blogs and websites for her media work and rank top Wedding Photographers in Virginia

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