Beginning Photography Equipment on a Budget

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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.

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