When people want to move away from being amateur photographers to experts, there are many different types of equipment that they should consider purchasing. A smartphone or simple point-and-shoot digital camera can be great tools for the inexperienced photographer, but an expert needs more complex equipment to make their art stand out. Lilly Goga, a freelance wildlife photographer, breaks down the kind of equipment that she takes on a shoot and explains how each piece makes a difference in the overall quality of her work.
A Professional Camera
A professional DSLR camera sets itself apart from point-and-shoot cameras through the complexity of its sensors. Professionals need a camera with a full-frame sensor rather than a cropped sensor. This can provide better color depth and variations in light.
Some professionals who travel light are beginning to turn to mirrorless cameras. These are lighter and less expensive than the full DSLR varieties, but their photo quality will always be lower.
You will need a variety of macro lenses, zoom lenses, and prime lenses for best results. Macro lenses will help you take photos of small objects at a large resolution. These are especially useful for professionals taking catalog photos or photographing food. Zoom lenses are useful for taking photos of items that are further away. These are perfect for the event photographer. Prime lenses are good for the portrait photographer who does not need to capture moving images. Finally, for a sports or wildlife photographers like Lilly Goga, a good quality telephoto lens is an absolute must.
A tripod or monopod will help you hold your camera steady so that you can take the best quality shots. Long exposures make tripods vital equipment. The least expensive type of tripod is the all-in-one. These tripods are one piece and have their heads and legs connected permanently. These are a good choice for the beginning professional photographer.
The studio tripod is the best type of tripod for indoor situations, but it is too heavy to carry with you. These are excellent for portrait photographers and those who need the best functionality.
Many professional photographers also carry a travel tripod. They are light and maneuverable, which means they may be prone to blowing over in strong winds. They should be anchored to the ground in this situation.
Monopods are great for sports and wildlife photographers who need to shoot moving subjects. The monopod makes a single-legged stand for the camera, enabling the photographer to take pictures without camera shake. They can help to support the heaviest telephoto lenses.
Camera Bags and Accessories
All photographers need good quality bags for their cameras and lenses. Buying cheap bags will only lead to equipment damage. Professional photographers invest a great deal in their equipment, so they need the best bags to transport their cameras and equipment.
Professional photographers need to have an array of memory cards. It is best to assume that you will always run out of space on one card and need several more. Memory cards are much less expensive than they used to be. Even casual photographers should consider carrying ample extra memory cards.
For indoor shots, a portable light kit is a great choice. This is especially useful for real estate interior shots. In addition to lighting, photographers should also carry a light meter. These can be used in all conditions to double-check on lighting. This will enable you to set your aperture and exposure properly.
Studio photographers need to have indoor lighting options as well as backgrounds and reflectors. They also need backdrops, props, and stools. It is a good idea to keep a variety of toys on hand if you plan to photograph children.
Outdoor portrait photographers should have reflectors and blockers. This will help control the natural light in a shot. Remote shutter buttons are also a good idea for long exposures.
Simplify Your Equipment
When you are first starting out, stick to the basics for each type of photography. As you make a profit, you can continue to invest in various types of equipment. Lilly Goga recommends this suite of equipment for professional photographers in any discipline.