My beginners photography kit and how to 'pro' up!

May 01, 2024

During one of our KAC's (kick ass chat) in Full House membership, we talked about the ideal photography kit, which led on to what makes up a professional kit. What's the difference, and what's in my kit bag? Here goes...

Beginner Kit

A DSLR or mirrorless camera which allows for detachable lens. I use a Sony A7iii and my main lens is a 35mm 1.4 lens.  I would say your main lens should be something you can use in low light, so a wide aperture is a must. If you start photography on a kit lens (eg, 18-55mm variable zoom lens), I'd recommend progressing to a prime lens with a wide aperture if you wanted to take your hobby further. 

I used to shoot with DSLR's but I'd 100% recommend mirrorless. It's the future of photography, and while I was happy with my DSLR, carrying around two at a wedding was hard work, so changing to mirrorless helped the way I shoot! It's been the best decision for my business!

 Depending on whether your camera has a crop sensor, I always recommend jumping from a kit lens to a nifty fifty (50mm fixed focal length) because of price. It's the cheapest prime around and if you buy from second hand sites like MPB or Wex, you can bring the investment down. Most come with a warranty, but please check. I always carry a microfibre cloth to clean my lenses, and before a wedding, I use wet and dry sensor swabs to make sure it's free of dust! I bought this cleaning kit at the start and still use the air blower!

When I first started out, I used this 5-1 light reflector quite a lot to bounce light on to my subjects, which may be a good option for you. You'll need one battery to begin but as you take on longer jobs, you'll need back up batteries. I purchase third party ones from Amazon that I've never had a problem with. I also carry this plastic memory card holder with me for my memory cards. I always use SanDisk Extreme Pro which have the best read and write speeds. 

The next thing you want to consider is a camera bag. I go for functionality over look, but luckily the ones I use feel and look good too! I use this one for my weddings which safely carries everything and opens up from the top, front and side. I can access everything I need really quickly, and after backpacking in Australia in my 20s with only a backpack that opens from the top, I learnt my lesson very quickly if I needed something from the bottom! The other one I use is the Betty bag by Fourteen04 which I can grab for smaller shoots and personal work. I also wear a smaller bumbag at all times for batteries and memory cards on the go!

I would recommend a tripod as a beginner and I've got this one by K&F Concept. It's great for capturing self-portraits which is a skill in itself, landscapes and slow exposures. Talking of a slow shutter speed, if you want to slow anything down in bright light, I recommend treating yourself to an ND filter. I have this one!

Lastly, for my beginner kit, I would recommend a flash gun. I use a Godox V1 compatible with my Sony which I love, and it comes with a diffuser to spread the light out. 

So what makes up a 'pro' kit?

Another camera body and lenses basically! Building up your photography kit takes time, as you trade old kit in for newer! The more you shoot, for yourself and clients, the more you'll realise what you need, and the same goes for your shoot locations. Not long ago, I was working more in a studio setting, so needed sturdy stands, a soft box and a constant light source, but for weddings, I have 2 x Sony mirrorless cameras, and the following lenses: 35mm 1.4 (main lens), 85mm 1.4 for candids and 18mm for the dancefloor! I have a 50mm and a 24-70mm zoom lens as back up, but I'm a prime gal at heart!

Growing your photography kit is a forever job, but I would always invest in lenses above the camera body if it wasn't struggling! Hope you've found my list useful and if you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Love Laura x