How To Become A Better Photographer | The BEST Photography Equipment To Buy

I get this question SO often. "What camera should I buy?" or "What's your favorite lens to shoot with?" are probably amongst the top questions I get asked, especially by beginners.

So today I've decided to answer these questions and put together a guide for THE BEST photography equipment you can have in your bag. Keep reading if you're ready to grow your photography skills with the help of a few key tools:

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1. A camera

Yes. You read it right. No, there's not more to it. This is not a trick answer. I really meant to say A CAMERA. Nope, not a specific camera. Just A CAMERA.

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a FIRM believer (strong emphasis on firm) that it's not about the camera, it's about the photographer HOLDING the camera. 

You can have the most high-tech camera in the world and still produce boring photos. It's VERY possible. Inversely, you can create the most compelling images with an iPhone 7 Plus. 

2. A lens

Which lens depends upon what you want to shoot, really. A 24mm is gonna be great for landscapes. An 85mm is standard for portraiture. A 50mm is the sweet spot that you really can't go wrong with. 

My point is this: no one lens is going to be EVERYONE'S cup of tea. It's just not possible. 

Instead of focusing on buying every lens ever made and accumulating a kit that consists of thousands of dollars worth of equipment you'll hardly EVER touch, find the 1 or 2 lenses that work for you and master those. Then add on if you find need.

But trust me: if your photo looks subpar with that 50mm 1.8, going out and buying the 135mm isn't going to solve all of your problems. You're still going to feel like your photos aren't enough. Save yourself some possible coins and master what you have, then move on when you find your needs aren't being met by your current equipment.

Sidenote: I am FULLY supportive of buying a lens beyond the kit lens your camera comes with. Often times those lenses just aren't the best quality. But they are good to learn the basics on so don't immediately shove them to the side when you're first starting out.

My whole point is this:

When you're just starting out in photography and your images don't look like what you expect or envision, DON'T look to your gear because that's probably not what's at fault.

If you know your photos aren't good, but you don't know WHY they aren't good or HOW to make them better... THAT'S where you need to start.

If you bake a cake and it tastes like poo, you don't go out and buy a new mixer. NO, you take a look at the recipe because something is missing. Something is off.

So if your photo looks like poo (sorry!), go back to the recipe (aka your SKILLSET) and look there. Something is missing. Something is off. 

Here's a few keys items I think it's important for every photographer to possess:

1. An understanding of shooting in manual mode
2. Creativity to see beyond what IS and envision what COULD BE
3. An appreciation for light and how to use it in photography
4. Comprehension of color theory and its importance

With these 4 tools, you can create impactful photos no matter what equipment is in your hand. 

Make sure when you're trying to grow your craft, you're focusing on what's really important.

Having the items that TRULY matter in your possession is worth more than any equipment your wallet can ever purchase.

What do you value most as a photographer - a refined skillset or more equipment? Share your feelings on the topic below.