Beginning Photography Equipment on a Budget

Beginning Photography Equipment
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I’ve had a few questions regarding what equipment I use and what is on my Wishlist as a beginning photographer. I gotta say, I am a Nikon girl, so most of these are Nikon specific. I am also the type of girl who reads endless reviews before making a big purchase, and I consider my camera equipment big purchases (no matter what the final cost), so I feel like I have gotten the most bang for my buck. Here is my beginning photography equipment:

Beginning Photography Equipment

What I Own:

Camera Body Nikon D3100 w/ 18-55 Kit Lens

I picked my camera body and 18-55 kit lens up at a local Wal-Mart many years back. This is my first Nikon and having had bad experiences with Canon cameras previously, I find that I prefer Nikon now. This is a very basic entry level DSLR camera. Since this model, many more have come out, but if you are looking to get into photography and get a DSLR on a budget, this may be an option for you. You can find them refurbished or second-hand at a great price.

Additional Camera Lens 55-200

When I purchased my camera, it actually came with two kit lens. The 18-55 mentioned above, and this 55-200. I found myself mostly using the 18-55 as I was shooting indoors a lot with little space, but as I am getting into outdoor shoots, I am loving the 55-200. It’s a decent zoom lens for the price.

Speedlight T556

Lighting is a struggle for almost any photographer. My first lighting purchase was the Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite. As with all of my equipment, this is a very basic speedlite, but does exactly what I need it to. As you can see below, studio lighting is on my wishlist, but for now, the versatility of a speedlite fit my needs (and budget) better.

Photoshop and Lightroom

A photography session doesn’t end when the last picture is taken. The work continues on the computer. Now that I feel like I have taking pictures under control, I am working on editing them. I held off so long on purchasing something that I had no clue how to use, but with the aide of lots of tutorials, webinars, and YouTube videos, I am learning how to edit. I like that it’s affordable and I will always have the latest version without having to fork over more money.

And that’s really about it. I have a tripod, but mostly use that for videography (*ahem YouTube*) and rarely for photography.

What’s on my Wishlist

Nikon D500 Body

I have told myself time and time again that I wanted to master my camera and learn all I could about photography before upgrading the body, and I feel like I am close to being there. I am currently looking at the D500 as a body upgrade. It costs about three times as much as my current body, but has so much more potential. Then again, I’d love to have a full-frame body.

50mm 1.8 Lens for Portraits

This lens has been on my wishlist for way too long. It’s not a particularly expensive lens, I just never have the extra cash for it. I feel like I am at the point where upgrading my lens will help me achieve the look in images that I can’t with the basic kit lenses I have.


As mentioned above, I currently only have a speedlite as far as lighting goes, but dream about some proper studio lights. I haven’t done too much research into exactly what I want, but have been eyeing these. I want the ability to light my subjects from different angles which a speedlite doesn’t have.

Clamps for Backdrops

I have always had a desire to photograph newborns. I’ve been practicing with my niece a lot and find that I really need to invest in some clamps to hold blankets and backdrops in place.

There are some other things I’d love to get like additional memory cards, a new camera strap, extra batteries and other “accessories” but find that those don’t particularly affect the quality of my images.

Curious to see the pictures I have taken? Find me on Facebook Aduke Schulist Photography.

Interested in any of this beginning photography equipment? Check out Amazon Prime Free Shipping to get it to you quicker. You can try it for free by clicking the image below.

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Author: Aduke Schulist

Aduke Schulist is a 30 something content creator living in the heart of Arkansas. She enjoys blogging, vlogging, and spending way too much time on social media. Aduke is a big fan of true crime documentaries and advocating for people with special needs. You can find Aduke on social media as @AdukeSchulist.

23 thoughts on “Beginning Photography Equipment on a Budget”

  1. I love this! So many beginning photographers – myself included, back in the day – think you need to buy everything in the photography store to take good photos.

  2. I think I clicked every link in this post. I am so in need of BEGINNER photog equipment. Some cameras leave me feeling lost. I get frustrated and give up. I love the simplicity of the one you posted about. Thanks for the help!

  3. Love your beginner’s list! I have a Nikon D5500 that I absolutely love. I think I’ll eventually upgrade, but the D5500 is nice and compact for a DSLR, which is awesome! I always have new lenses on my wishlist, too 😉

  4. This is awesome information for those interested in photography. I don’t own a DSLR but I may be trying to find my son one. This Nikon sounds like a camera he would love. Ever since he was young he always enjoyed photographing everything just for the beauty of it. Thanks for sharing the information.

  5. Nice resource list especially for bloggers. I’m a Nikon girl too. Or at least I used to be. I converted to mirrorless last June and have been Team Sony ever since. I still have all my Nikon cameras and equipment. Totally don’t want to part with them. But mirrorless has made traveling so much lighter and easier.

    1. I don’t have a mirrorless, but I have a Sony also (A5000)… It’s purpose is vlogging and it drives me crazy. It’s just a few months old but I must have gotten a bad lens or something. I have to send it back for a new one.

  6. I’d love to get the beginning products to help out with my photography soon, esp photoshop! I’m an aspiring children’s book author and would love to illustrate using photography and photoshop to make it look mystical! thanks for the list : )

    1. That would be a great use for it and I bet way more complicated than what I use it for lol. I kept putting off getting it because I didn’t know how to use it and couldn’t justify spending money on something I had no clue what I was doing with, but I finally bit the bullet and with the help of YouTube and Facebook groups, I am learning. My pictures are looking much better since I got Photoshop/Lightroom.

  7. I would love to upgrade my camera. I have been learning how to take better photos. Now I want to try different lenses.

    1. Me too! My friend has a Nikon and a lens that is on my wishlist (35mm) so we switched for a little bit. She is using my 18-55 and I’m using her 35. I am loving using her lens. I can definitely tell a difference between the 35mm lens and the 18-55 kit lens.

  8. I would love to have a nice DSLR camera. It is just never in my budget :(. I am currently using my cell phone. It works great when the lighting is right. If not, no way. I try to make sure to use as much natural light as possible.

  9. Lighting is a huge struggle for my wife as well, we’ve toyed around with some basic light boxes that have worked out pretty well for indoor shots during the long northern winters.

  10. I got a DSLR for Christmas and had been taking some fun pictures with it. Now I’m looking to get Photoshop and Lightroom (I had the trial version on my phone and LOVE it!!). Will also need some light and fun backdrops for when I take flat lays and food pictures.

  11. Buying photography equipment for the first time is a daunting task. Useful guides exist to help beginners choose a good camera, but few newcomers realize that the camera itself is only the first of many pieces of equipment necessary to create a full setup for photography.

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