How to Choose Professional Camera Equipment

Professional camera equipment is a big investment, and choosing what's right for you can be the difference between making a lot of money in the future or being in debt. So how do you choose what to buy?

Set a Budget

Professional equipment costs a lot of money, and without a budget, you can easily spend more than you can afford. The first step is figuring out how much money you can spend. Price out a few items based on listings you see online, and decide what you need versus what you can afford.

Start with the Basics

Obviously a digital camera with basic lenses is the first thing to get. A camera is the bare basics you need to create your business. Pick a digital model with a high resolution that can capture great images in low amounts of light. You should also make sure your camera has a flash.


The next step in building your equipment arsenal is to get some basic lights. If you need lights but can't afford them, you can rent. However, if you're getting consistent work, you should buy a few of your own lights and charge your client the rental. This is a great way to make money over a long period of time.


As you grow as a photographer, finding a specialty helps your business. Do you want to do executive portraits, products, fashion, family portraits or events? Each of these categories has their own techniques and styles that require specific equipment.

Specializing also helps your business by creating customer confidence. If your portfolio is mostly fashion, you won't get hired to shoot a CEO's portrait over a guy whose portfolio is full of executive portraits. Clients feel more comfortable hiring someone who has experience shooting something similar to what they want.

Pick Your Equipment Carefully

As a specialized photographer, you know what tools you need to get your jobs done. Pick out equipment that you know will work for you often because you'll be able to rent these the most. Get stuff that is affordable. 

There are some items that you'll want, but know you won't use them that often. If you can't make that money back in a few months, skip the item. If it's something that you will only use once or twice a year, you are better off renting.

Photography is a business and a passion. Getting equipment is like a child getting toys. It can be very exciting, but you have to remember that as a professional, you need to make money.

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