Want to know where to start as a begin­ner pho­tog­ra­ph­er? In the arti­cle we give advice on choos­ing equip­ment for shoot­ing, com­put­er equip­ment and pro­grams for pro­cess­ing fin­ished images. We also pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions from mod­ern pho­tog­ra­phers on how to become suc­cess­ful and devel­op pro­fes­sion­al skills.

Photographer’s equipment: what to buy for a beginner

Tech­nique is very impor­tant. But, as expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers say, “cool” equip­ment will not turn you into a “cool” spe­cial­ist. Below we under­stand how to make the right choice for a rea­son­able price.

Camera for beginners

It is quite obvi­ous that it makes no sense for a novice pho­tog­ra­ph­er to spend mon­ey on expen­sive equip­ment. If you have nev­er held a DSLR in your hands, even a bud­get sim­ple cam­era can be bewil­der­ing, not to men­tion acces­sories: lens­es, fil­ters, and so on. First you need to learn how to work with the set­tings, and in the process, the need for cer­tain para­me­ters and addi­tion­al equip­ment that you need to solve indi­vid­ual cre­ative prob­lems will already emerge by itself.

Author of the pho­to: Nadezh­da Shib­i­na

So where do you start as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er? Of course, from the cam­era. We rec­om­mend that you pay atten­tion to Nikon or Canon prod­ucts. Man­u­fac­tur­ers have a huge selec­tion of var­i­ous equip­ment, designed for dif­fer­ent lev­els of pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Focus on the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria:

  • full frame or crop. Pro­fes­sion­als, of course, pre­fer a full-for­mat matrix — it’s tech­ni­cal­ly eas­i­er to get a beau­ti­ful pic­ture and process it lat­er. But the choice of a begin­ner is a cropped matrix. Such mod­els are many times cheap­er;
  • zoom The size will depend on what you plan to shoot. For exam­ple, to cap­ture small objects locat­ed at a great dis­tance, you need a zoom of at least 10x;
  • num­ber of megapix­els. The more of them, the more detailed the pic­tures will be;
  • the weight. Com­pact­ness and light­ness are not the last fac­tors influ­enc­ing the pur­chase. If you plan to take the cam­era with you every­where, it will be much eas­i­er to car­ry it than bulky equip­ment, and even with a tri­pod.

A begin­ner needs to pay atten­tion to cam­eras already equipped with a remov­able lens. Such optics are called whale optics. It is dif­fer­ent — it depends on the spe­cif­ic mod­el of the cam­era.

Canon EOS 850D

Canon EOS 850D

Suit­able for cre­at­ing 4K pho­tos and videos. The weight of the cam­era is just over 500 grams, includ­ing the bat­tery and mem­o­ry card. The mod­el is equipped with a light­weight gen­er­al pur­pose lens EF‑S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS, designed for every­day shoot­ing with­out a tri­pod in dif­fer­ent light­ing con­di­tions. Due to the fact that the deliv­ery includes optics, the mod­el can­not be called cheap. At the time of this writ­ing, the price of the cam­era was 74,390 rubles.

Pen­tax K‑S2

Pen­tax K‑S2

Pen­tax are con­sid­ered more bud­get cam­eras than Canon and Nikon. The spe­cif­ic mod­el is aimed at ama­teurs. It has excel­lent col­or repro­duc­tion, a viewfind­er with 100% frame cov­er­age, and the body of the “car­cass” and the stan­dard lens are char­ac­ter­ized as “dust and mois­ture resis­tant”. The shoot­ing speed is 5.4 frames per sec­ond. Equipped with a 50mm zoom lens that folds (retracts) when not in use. The price of the cam­era is 48,990 rubles.

Nikon D5300 Body

Nikon D5300 Body

An excel­lent choice for begin­ners. It has a swiv­el dis­play, good light sen­si­tiv­i­ty and a built-in Wi-Fi mod­ule. It can shoot 5 frames per sec­ond, but in LV mode, the pic­ture on the screen slows down. This makes the cam­era unsuit­able for shoot­ing dynam­ic scenes, but is suit­able for sta­t­ic shots. The mod­el is not equipped with a lens — it is pur­chased sep­a­rate­ly. The cost of the cam­era is 27,950 rubles.

But what about sav­ings, you ask? In this case, you can be advised to pay atten­tion to used equip­ment. At first, this idea may seem intim­i­dat­ing, but after weigh­ing the pros and cons, you will come to the con­clu­sion that this is a real chance to buy those cam­eras and lens­es that are beyond your finan­cial lim­its.

Pho­to by: Adam Wawrzy­ni­ak

What else does a begin­ner pho­tog­ra­ph­er need? Of course, a com­put­er that will “pull” most mod­ern pho­to pro­cess­ing pro­grams. And the require­ments of the lat­ter are con­sid­er­able.

Personal Computer

If you plan to buy a com­put­er in order to install Pho­to­shop on it lat­er, you need to approach the choice respon­si­bly. The lat­est ver­sions from Adobe (and oth­er seri­ous edi­tors) are demand­ing on resources. For exam­ple, the proces­sor clock speed must be at least 2 GHz, and the RAM must be at least 8 GB. The proces­sor itself can be cho­sen from bud­get mod­els — Pen­tium, Core i3. Col­or repro­duc­tion is high­ly depen­dent on the type of matrix, so pref­er­ence should be giv­en to IPS. But TN TFT is best avoid­ed. Mon­i­tors with such a fill­ing dis­tort col­ors. If you look at the mon­i­tor from dif­fer­ent angles, the pic­ture “floats”. Of the good mod­els, the fol­low­ing can be advised:

Xiaomi Mi Desktop Monitor 1C

Xiao­mi Mi Desk­top Mon­i­tor 1C

The screen diag­o­nal is 23.8 inch­es, Full HD res­o­lu­tion. There are sev­er­al con­nec­tors: VGA (suit­able if you have an old sys­tem unit) and HDMI — for mod­ern mod­els that do not have VGA out­puts at all. Matrix type — IPS.

Philips 241V8LA

Philips 241V8LA

This mod­el is equipped with a VA matrix, which is con­sid­ered a com­pro­mise solu­tion between TN and IPS. It pro­vides a high-con­trast pic­ture and improves the view­ing of dark scenes due to their greater expres­sive­ness. How­ev­er, at some view­ing angles, the pic­ture around the edges of the screen will look blur­ry.

AOC U27P2 27″

AOC U27P2 27″

A mon­i­tor that you can’t call bud­get. But it has the advan­tage of 4K res­o­lu­tion. There­fore, you will see a very high-qual­i­ty and clear pic­ture on the screen. The mon­i­tor is locat­ed on a swiv­el stand. Of the oth­er “buns” — built-in speak­ers and a USB hub.


Now you will not find a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, whether he is an ama­teur or a pro­fes­sion­al, who would not use pho­to edi­tors. In the mod­ern world, 50% of the beau­ty and orig­i­nal­i­ty of the frame is post-pro­cess­ing.

Adobe Photoshop

The most pop­u­lar edi­tor in the world with almost lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. Here you can cre­ate com­plex mul­ti­lay­er com­po­si­tions, do pro­fes­sion­al beau­ty retouch­ing, draw from scratch. Most mod­ern art pho­tog­ra­phers, por­trait and land­scape painters use Pho­to­shop. Learn­ing the pro­gram is not easy. If you want to mas­ter the edi­tor, be pre­pared to spend sev­er­al years learn­ing it. Luck­i­ly, there are plen­ty of tuto­ri­als avail­able in Russ­ian online, and grad­u­al­ly mas­ter­ing the skills will give you a boost, as you can cre­ate unusu­al effects and make your shots more and more orig­i­nal.

Work­ing in Pho­to­shop

Affinity Photo

Anoth­er pro­fes­sion­al pro­gram for image pro­cess­ing and dig­i­tal paint­ing. The offi­cial web­site has a detailed tuto­r­i­al on work­ing with tools and AI fil­ters. The devel­op­ers of the pro­gram have relied on process automa­tion. For exam­ple, fre­quen­cy decom­po­si­tion is imple­ment­ed as a ready-made fil­ter. All you need to do is just enter your val­ues ​​and pro­ceed direct­ly to the retouch­ing pro­ce­dure. There is also a func­tion of auto-cor­rec­tion of light and col­or. How­ev­er, the edi­tor menu will seem con­fus­ing even to an expe­ri­enced Pho­to­shop user.

Work­ing with Affin­i­ty Pho­to


A Pho­to­shop clone run­ning on an online plat­form. It has almost all the func­tions of its “old­er” broth­er, but when pro­cess­ing “heavy” files, it can freeze and slow down. It all depends on the speed of the Inter­net and the resources of your com­put­er. Works with RAW files, but does not sup­port the con­nec­tion of Pho­to­shop plu­g­ins (and there are a lot of them). For pro­fes­sion­als, it is of no inter­est, since a copy can­not be bet­ter than the orig­i­nal.

Work­ing with Pho­to­pea

Practical Tips

Tips for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers should be giv­en by an expert. We will rely on the expe­ri­ence of Mar­gari­ta Kare­va, which she talks about at one of her mas­ter class­es “10 Steps to Suc­cess”. Kare­va is a con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­ph­er known far beyond the bor­ders of Rus­sia. In just two years, from an unknown mid­dle man­ag­er, Mar­gari­ta turned into a suc­cess­ful pho­tog­ra­ph­er, and two more years lat­er she received inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion. Now she is in the TOP-100 of the best pho­tog­ra­phers in the world, and her fees reach 200 thou­sand for one pho­to ses­sion.

Complete basic photography training

Study the set­tings of your cam­era from “A” to “Z”. This can be done inde­pen­dent­ly by read­ing spe­cial­ized lit­er­a­ture. Or you can sign up for cours­es. So the learn­ing process will go much faster. Expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers will tell you how to set the shut­ter speed, how much to open the aper­ture, which ISO val­ue to choose, focus­ing on light­ing con­di­tions and oth­er shoot­ing fac­tors.

Author of the pho­to: Mar­gari­ta Kare­va

Practice to the max

Try to set aside time every day to shoot. Any the­o­ry with­out prac­tice is dead. If you can’t do your hob­by on a dai­ly basis, hold a pho­to ses­sion at least once a week. Learn Pho­to­shop at the same time. Look through the works of rec­og­nized pho­tog­ra­phers and try to ana­lyze them (under what light­ing con­di­tions it was tak­en, with what set­tings, etc.).

Author of the pho­to: Mar­gari­ta Kare­va

Invest in your education

Today, there are many tech­niques for pro­cess­ing pho­tographs. Some lessons can be found online for free (for exam­ple, in tor­rents), but the most “deli­cious”, of course, are sold for mon­ey. It makes sense to spend mon­ey on them, because in the future it will improve your skills as a pro­fes­sion­al. Attend mas­ter class­es of your favorite pho­tog­ra­phers, since pro­fes­sion­als often tour major cities.

Author of the pho­to: Nadezh­da Shib­i­na

Decide on a niche

As a result of prac­tice and learn­ing, you will under­stand which genre is clos­er to you. It is the direc­tion of shoot­ing that will dic­tate the nec­es­sary optics and “car­cass” — reach­ing a new lev­el will nec­es­sar­i­ly entail the need for more expen­sive equip­ment.

Author of the pho­to: Dani­il Korzhonov

Register on specialized sites

There are many sites where pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phers post their work. For exam­ple, 35photo or 500px. What will it give you? Usu­al­ly, in the descrip­tion of the pho­to, the authors indi­cate what type of lens, cam­era, and what set­tings the frame was shot with. By com­par­ing infor­ma­tion, you will learn a lot of what a novice pho­tog­ra­ph­er needs to know, with­out the “pulling the blan­ket” char­ac­ter­is­tic of the forums, when one prais­es one thing, and the sec­ond scolds the same thing.

Author of the pho­to: Mar­gari­ta Kare­va

Shoot not for sale

At first, nev­er think about fees, likes and oth­er peo­ple’s approval. This will only slow you down, give rise to self-doubt. Indeed, on the Inter­net, espe­cial­ly in spe­cial­ized groups in social net­works, there will always be those who will crit­i­cize you. Refrain from post­ing your work in these groups until you are sure that your pho­tos are, if not per­fect, then def­i­nite­ly good. Take pic­tures and retouch for your­self. Only then will the process give you real plea­sure. The same Kare­va notes that at first her work was smashed to smithereens, and in 90% of all cas­es, the offer to hold a pho­to ses­sion was refused.

Author of the pho­to: Yulia Petro­va

Think through all the stages of shooting in advance

Learn how to pre­pare all stages of a pho­to shoot from scratch. Think about where you will shoot, what your mod­el will be wear­ing, what kind of light­ing you will have to work with — whether you need addi­tion­al or get by with nat­ur­al. If you shoot in the style of genre, por­trait or art pho­tog­ra­phy, in a word, you need peo­ple to shoot, you can search social net­works for mod­els work­ing on TFP. Sim­i­lar­ly, find begin­ner make­up artists and styl­ists who need to build their port­fo­lio. Thus, you can con­duct quite a bud­get pho­to shoot.

Pho­to by: Mar­i­o­la Glikar

Be mentally prepared for a creative crisis

Pho­tog­ra­phers, like all cre­ative peo­ple, have their ups and downs. Cre­ative burnout is pos­si­ble — the main thing is to tune in, and you will over­come every­thing!

Pho­to by: Jill Green­berg


Of course, no mat­ter how many arti­cles you read on the top­ic “what is need­ed for a begin­ner pho­tog­ra­ph­er”, you will still make mis­takes, which, unfor­tu­nate­ly, will entail finan­cial costs. How­ev­er, mis­takes are nor­mal. They are what make us bet­ter. Being a begin­ner is inter­est­ing. Use a fresh eye, a non-stan­dard point of view and do not chase “cool” tech­nique. Also, get ready for a long siege — mas­tery comes with time.