Photography can be an expensive hobby and a great side business. It’s good to know you can get started in photography on a budget. Looking to follow your passion doesn’t have to break the bank, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you get going.

Get Started in Photography

First, gather some ideas on what style of photography you want to shoot and then start your research. Don’t worry, you can always change your mind later, but this will give you an idea of where to start. Here is an article on different types of photography in case you need some ideas.

1. Rent gear first

The biggest recommendation I give anyone starting in photography is to rent gear first. There are a few online rental companies that will ship equipment to you and when you’re done, you simply put it back in the box and return it on time.

There are a few online companies I recommend like borrowlenses.com and lensrentals.com. Many will have recommendations or packages for beginners so take these into account when deciding what type of photography you would like to specialize in.

Canon, Sony, and Nikon tend to be the most well-known brands, but there are others you can try out as well. Figure out your overall budget for equipment and start an account online to begin renting.

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2. Research Cameras

When you’re ready to purchase, the bulk of your budget is going to be spent on your camera body and lenses. Once you have rented a few cameras and found a perfect match, research pricing and see if you can find any deals.  

Many deals allow you to get a camera body and lens combo to help get you started, but normally the lenses are not the best quality. Something to keep in mind for upgrading down the road. I shoot with the Sony A7ii mirrorless camera, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to get started with a full-frame camera.

There are also used camera options to consider. Companies like BHPhoto, Adorama, and MPB.com all sell used gear. They inspect all gear and let you know the condition upfront before you buy. This is a great place to start also if you don’t mind a used camera equipment.

Sony-24-70-gmaster3. Lens options

Once you have a camera body, you will want to find a great sharp lens. The lens choice will be based on your specific shooting needs. For landscapes, you will want a wide angle lens like the 16-35mm. Shooting portraits will make you consider the 50mm, 85mm or the 135mm. Weddings or events will most likely need a zoom lens like the 24-70mm or 70-200mm.

These are not your only choices, but recommendations when you get started in photography. Whatever your shooting preference, make sure you invest in good lenses. Renting a few lenses can help you narrow down the best options for your shooting style.

Godox-VING-V860IIS-TTL-Flash4. Lighting

I recommend waiting before you dive into flash photography. Many photographers start with natural light before jumping into off-camera flash systems or studio strobes.

If you feel you just can’t wait, then look into speedlights and remote triggers for your camera brand. There is a small learning curve to learning off-camera flash, but it can help with low light events and low-light shooting conditions.

Honestly, Youtube is an awesome resource for jumping into lighting. Do a few searches on “flash photography” or “single light photography” and you will find good how-to videos with links to equipment.

 

5. Editing Software

Post-production is an overlooked element of the photography process. You can outsource your editing, but I recommend keeping creative control over your work. Again, Youtube is an amazing resource for beginners looking to learn retouching techniques. You will find thousands of tutorials on Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

These programs are available for a monthly fee so you don’t have to make a huge purchase upfront. Be aware, there will be a learning curve when jumping into these programs. Keep practicing and you’ll get the hang of it.

6. Online Learning

Think you don’t have the time to learn photography? Think again. You don’t have to sit in a classroom for hours to learn a new skill. There are more and more online companies that specialize in creative learning. CreativeLive.com is one example.

They offer classes for all levels. From beginners to advanced students, you will find what you need. Learn at your own pace, and review items over-and-over until you feel comfortable moving on. Photography is a huge category along with design and branding. Need some help with social media? They got you covered. Check out more of the online courses here.

It’s a great time to start photography

There really is no better time to start like now. You can get started in photography on a budget and build as you grow. The best thing to do is start practicing and get your hands on a camera so you can go explore and discover your niche. You won’t regret it.

Checking out new Gear

If your interested in starting your own photography journey, I recommend checking out some of these great resources and gear!

Great Sony Full-Frame Cameras for Portrait Photography:

My Sony A7riii Mirrorless Camera – High resolution Sony Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A7rii – High resolution Sony Mirrorless Camera (2nd Generation)
Sony a7iii Mirrorless Camera
– 3rd Generation Sony Mirrorless Camera
Sony a7ii Mirrorless Camera w/IBIS – 2nd Generation Sony Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A7 Mirrorless Camera – Great full-frame starter camera for beginners

Sony Full-Frame Lenses for Portraits: (e-mount)

Sony 85mm f1.4 G-Master – Best 85mm portrait lens
Batis 85mm f1.8 – Lightweight 85mm portrait lens
Sony 85mm f1.8 – Smallest 85mm portrait lens
Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 – Small, sharp, lightweight portrait lens (my favorite lens)
The Sony 50mm f1.8 – Cheap starter nifty fifty
The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 – Great wide option for portraits and lifestyle images
Sony 24-70 G-Master f2.8 – Sharp and versatile zoom lens
Sony 24-105 G Lens f4.0 – One of the best zooms for Sony
Wide Angle 16-35mm F2.8 – G-Master wide angle lens
The Sony 70-200 G-Master Lens f2.8 – Long range telephoto zoom

Great Sony Starter Cameras for Portraits: (crop-sensor)

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera – Amazing eye auto-focus detection
Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera – Sony mirrorless camera (2nd generation)
The Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera – Great affordable interchangeable lens camera
Sony a6500 Mirrorless Camera w/IBIS – Amazing photography and video camera

Affordable Crop Sensor Lenses for Portraits: (e-mount)

Sigma 30mm f1.4 – Great for blurry backgrounds
Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS – Made for crop sensors and shallow depth of field
Sigma 16mm f1.4 – Amazing lens for Vloggers and video
Sony 35mm f1.8 – Super walk around lens for travel

Recommended Accessories:

Godox Ving V860IIS Camera Flash – Speedlight Paired w/ X1T-S Wireless Trigger
Meike Grip Sony a7 – Camera extension grip
Meike Grip Sony a7ii – Camera extension grip

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