Whenever I meet or start following newly discovered photographers, I always want to know what camera they are using, so I thought to share my own favorite/best photography cameras for beginners and other accessories!
I started out years ago with a very simple camera and have gotten very lucky to be exposed to professional gear through my husband’s photo and video business. It was very quickly that most of his accessories became my favorites too (with just a few add-ons). I mainly use these tools to create beautiful portrait photography, but I have tested them out in many scenarios and environments, and I’ve found that many of these are versatile for most types of photography including events, landscapes, and weddings.
Best Photography Cameras for Beginners
ESO Canon 1DX II
Out of the three cameras that I currently have, I prefer to use the ESO Canon 1DX II. While it is the heaviest piece of equipment I carry (no joke my arms hurt after sessions), its performance makes everything worth it. From videos to landscapes, portraits, and special occasions this camera produces photos with extreme precision and other-worldly color profiles.
The most important feature of this camera for my work is its full-frame 36.0 x 24.0mm 20.2 megapixel sensor. Its large size means that it will perform extremely well in low light conditions and not crop any of my photos. In portrait photography, this allows for ample creativity for post-production framing and composition. This camera has many more features to obsess over but for day-to-day work, the results of an incredibly bulky camera always, always pay off!
Canon EOS 80D
For simpler projects, or in places where I know the lighting environment will be perfect, I enjoy using my Canon EOS 80D camera. This camera is the perfect DSLR for a beginner photographer as well as for more advanced creatives. Some of the biggest pros for me are that it is lightweight (if you’re a frequent outdoor adventurer this is a MUST), is compatible with a large variety of lenses, and it has one of the best autofocus capabilities.
In daylight or good lighting conditions, the image quality is outstanding, especially with my lenses, however, it is more limited in darker settings. This is nothing that a flash can’t fix but because extra photography tools are needed for images, I find myself always falling back on the 1DX. I am planning to upgrade this model to another Canon camera that will match the full-frame sensor of the 1DX but will have a lot less bulk. But I already know that the simplicity of this camera will be hard to say farewell to.
Best Photography Lenses
I have to say that my absolute favorite lens is the Canon EF f2.8 24-70mm. When I say I love everything about it, I literally mean everything! This amazing piece of technology is incredibly versatile. When you don’t know what to expect from your environment, or on the contrary know that it will be a fast-paced environment this lens won’t fail; and for wedding and event photography, this is essential. If you’re in the market, look no further for a more dependable lens for quality images, because up close or far away, your subjects will always be beautifully captured.
My newly acquired EF Canon f1.4 50mm lens is my other go-to for portrait photography. For those in love with the blurred background look in photos, this lens has the dreamiest bokeh effect. While it does require a little experience to use as a prime lens (you must physically move to capture a picture because prime lenses do not zoom in or out) this lens works wonders for accent and detail shots.
Best Budget Flashes for Photography
The Neewer NW550 Camera Flash is the current flash that I use, and I must always have two – one for each camera, as backup, and for special effects. What I love about these, is that they already come in a pack of two and they allow plenty of room for light adjustability. From my experience, they have proven to work at a high speed and last incredibly long with the right batteries even on the highest intensity settings.
The absolute best part of these flashes is how budget-friendly they are, the price that you pay for what you get is amazing. Pro tip: staying on the topic of budgets, check out this Altura Photo Soft Box Diffuser. It works like literal magic saving you countless hours of editing work.
Favorite Reflectors for Photography
As a photographer, the most important skill is to know how to maximize and manipulate light to produce the desired effect. When creating portraits, certain locations and environments may be dark or create partial shadows. To correct this or to add some subtle glow (unlike) to a photo I often pull out the handy Neewer and Etekcity Reflectors. They fold super small making it easy to travel with. it also has many color options, giving me a lot of room for creativity in playing around with warm and light tones. For smaller portrait shoots I bring along the compact 24-inch reflector and for longer shoots or full-body pictures I use the 43-inch version.
Photography Accessories You Need
Smaller photography tools are not always as exciting but nevertheless essential, especially for portrait photography. In addition to the main items, I always carry extra batteries and memory cards; even with a full charge, you can’t take any pictures without the cards so having a backup is extremely important. On personal and family shoots I always grab a tripod or two. My go-to sturdy one for the camera is the Manfrotto Tripod. I also use a lightweight smaller tripod as a phone for those behind-the-scenes action shots to share on social media.
All packed up and ready my gear is usually stored in the Brevite Camera Backpack. What I love most is the movable compartments, no matter how many tools I bring with me or the need to change the layout the Velcro parts always make organization a breeze. Living in the city and often visiting high-traffic locations I know that my gear is securely put away in a zipped-up inner casing, giving me full security and helping me ensure that nothing falls or moves around during travel.
So, there you have it – my favorite photography tools and essentials! I am extremely happy with this collection, but I am sure that as my style and technology evolve, I will make upgrades; I will be sure to keep this list of the best photography cameras for beginners and other accessories updated for this reason. But if you’re looking for great gear to invest in or just looking around for gifts for photographers I highly recommend all of these. Remember though that gaining experience is much more important than the latest releases, so do your research get out there and keep practicing!
You should be a pro at the best tools now, but if you’re a beginner and don’t know where to begin in your photography journey then check out this blog that will help you get started!
Hi! I'm Mariya Maximtsev - a published Chicagoland portrait photographer. I love taking pictures of amazing families, and creating custom sessions for women and business owners!