Our Recommended Photography Equipment

Buying and researching photography equipment can be overwhelming! There are so many options out there it can difficult to know what will work best for you. So we’re here to help! 

On this page you’ll find the gear that we most recommend. We’ve spent nearly a decade researching, testing and experimenting with a mind-boggling amount of equipment, and have learned a ton along the way. Now we’re sharing everything we know with you!

The vast majority of these recommendations come from our own personal experience, although some are based on thorough research (for example we shoot with Canon and Sony cameras, so the Nikon equivalents suggested are based on comparative research). The opinions on this page are our own and we have not been paid for or endorsed by any manufacturer.

We want this page to be super useful for you, and so we’ve tried to keep the descriptions focused on how the equipment might benefit your photography, and not strictly about the features. Hopefully this helps gives the recommendations a bit more context, and helps you make better decisions about whether the equipment is right for you. You can click through on the product links if you’d like to know exact specifications and technical details.

If you find these recommendations useful you can help support Photography Concentrate and our family by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page. Most products have links to both B&H Photo and Amazon.com (both stores usually have the lowest available price). It costs you nothing extra to purchase through these affiliate links, but it does give us a small commission.Anything you purchase after visiting the links will help earn us a commission. We hope you find this page helpful, and you have our heartfelt thanks for your support!

P.S. If you’re new to photography, and need some help understanding the differences between the types of cameras and lenses, what features are actually essential, which accessories you really need, and more, make sure to check out our very awesome, very comprehensive, Ultimate Guide to Buying a New Camera!

Cameras & Lenses

These beginner cameras are an excellent way to get into photography! With these cameras you’ll be creating exceptional images in no time.

Pros:

  • Low prices ($400-$600)
  • Kit lens is included
  • Interchangeable lens mount (able to connect to other lenses)
  • Smaller than professional cameras
  • Great image quality, able to blur out backgrounds and help your subject stand out

Cons:

  • Smaller sized sensor compared to pro cameras
  • Slower autofocus compared to pro cameras
  • Less control dials for manually adjusting exposure settings
  • Included kit lens is a low cost lens not ideal for portraits or low light situations
  • Not sealed for weather
  • Not suggested for professional use

So who are these cameras best for? We recommend them for beginners who are just starting out with photography, folks who want to take great pictures of their family, and casual photographers!


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Sony a5000 with 16-50mm Lens

Note: both the a5000 and now a5100 appear to have been discontinued with no replacement model available. At this point I would recommend the Sony a6300 as the best option for this category. It's more expensive, but the features it offers makes it a really compelling camera (electronic viewfinder, extremely fast autofocus, 4K video)

This is our top recommendation for a beginner camera.
The Sony a5000 is a 20 megapixel mirrorless camera. The mirrorless design of the camera makes the camera much smaller than traditional DSLRs, yet it still has a large APS-C sized image sensor equivalent to the ones found in our Canon and Nikon recommendations. The small size of this camera makes it much easier to carry around, so you’re more likely to take it with you and use it more often. Awesome features of this camera include a screen that flips all the way up to make selfie portraits super easy and built in wifi and NFC to easily connect your camera to your smart phone for easy photo sharing. This kit comes with a 16-50mm lens and the next lens we would recommend for the camera is the 50mm f/1.8 which will be great for portraits. Note: A newer version of this camera is available, the Sony a5100, which features a higher resolution image sensor (24.3MP), a touchscreen LCD, a faster autofocus system, and a higher price tag! The older a5000 still offers great value!


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

Canon’s Rebel line has been a hugely popular beginner camera. The SL1 is Canon’s smallest DSLR camera. It has an 18 megapixel APS-C sized image sensor. It’s also one Canon’s first cameras to feature a touch screen LCD display. This kit includes a new version of the 18-55mm lens optimized for shooting video that also has optical stabilization. The next lens we would recommend for this camera is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 which will be great for portraits.


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

How does Nikon’s D3300 compare to Canon’s SL1 Rebel? First off, it’s important to point out that you’ll be happy with either camera! Both models will work equally well as beginner cameras. The D3300 features a higher resolution image sensor (24 megapixels). It also has a lower price (about $50 cheaper for the camera + lens kit). The D3300 is a bit bigger and also doesn’t feature a touch screen like the Canon SL1. Besides those main differences the Nikon D3300 and Canon SL1 are pretty much equal. The next lens we would recommend for this camera is the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 which will be great for portraits.


CANON DSLR CAMERAS

Canon EOS 5D MK III

A durable work horse that won’t let you down. This is Canon’s premiere professional full frame DSLR. It’s pricey, but if you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer who shoots Canon then this will likely be your camera of choice. The autofocus is fantastic and so is the low light performance.


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Canon EOS 6D

One of the most affordable full frame DSLRs available. It’s not as feature packed as the 5D MK III, but still offers excellent value for the price. Semi-professionals, or advanced amateurs will love this camera.


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Canon EOS 70D

We started out with a 10D, an earlier version of this camera, and moved through several subsequent models (20D, 30D, 40D). These cameras are fantastic and very affordable. They have the ergonomics and controls of the more expensive pro cameras but with a smaller APS-C sized sensor. You can find more expensive APS-C sized DSLRs from Canon, but for the features it includes, the 70D offers the best value. The flip out touchscreen, and excellent video autofocus make this a fantastic choice as a family camera.


PRIME LENSES FOR CANON

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS

This is an affordable wide angle prime lens with a fast aperture and optical stabilization. The 35mm focal length is great for street photography and photojournalism. We use our 35mm for wide portrait shots as well.


Sigma 35mm f/1.4

This is an affordable wide angle prime lens with a fast aperture and optical stabilization. The 35mm focal length is great for street photography and photojournalism. We use our 35mm for wide portrait shots as well.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

The most affordable lens that will improve your portrait photography. The fast f/1.8 aperture will help you blur your backgrounds and also allow you to shoot in lower light situations. It’s a fantastic all-around beginner lens and definitely our top recommendation to all new photographers.


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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

We’ve used this lens professionally for years (we actually have two copies!). It has a larger maximum aperture (f/1.4) compared to the 50mm f/1.8 that makes it even better for portraits and low light shooting. It also features better build quality compared to the f/1.8 version.


Sigma 50mm f/1.4

Sigma only recently began making lenses that beat the pants off Canon and Nikon. This lens is the best 50mm autofocus lens available. With this lens you’ll get better sharpness, colour, contrast, and less lens distortion. It’s a big heavy lens that produces outstanding results.


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Canon 85mm f/1.8

An affordable telephoto portrait lens. You’ll love the way your subjects pop out with this lens because of the longer focal length combined with the large f/1.8 aperture. This lens is great for taking very flattering portraits, though you might find that it seems a bit too long sometimes. We personally use our 35mm and 50mm focal lengths more because the angle of view they produce is more similar to human vision, giving more natural looking results. There are more expensive versions of the 85mm, but depending on how often you use it, the 85mm f/1.8 will probably be the best value for you.


ZOOM LENSES FOR CANON

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II

A great choice for nature or architectural photography. Canon offers slower wide angle zooms (like the 17-40mm f/4 and 16-35mm f/4), but if you ever need to shoot in low light conditions you’ll be glad you have the 16-35mm f/2.8.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II

A phenomenal lens. If you could only have one lens this would be it. The color, contrast, and sharpness from this lens are unbelievable. It’s a huge improvement from the previous Mark I version. An excellent choice for photojournalism, travel, weddings, portraits, or anything really.


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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

When you need to get closer, this is the lens to grab. Wedding photographers will find this lens an absolute necessity during ceremonies and dimly lit receptions (when the optical stabilization becomes quite useful). Wildlife photographers and sports photographers will also find the longer reach of this lens quite valuable.


NIKON DSLR CAMERAS

Nikon D810

This is Nikon’s flagship professional full frame camera. It shoots a whopping 36 megapixels! Canon doesn’t currently have any cameras that even come close to this much resolution. This camera might be pushing the limits of what’s necessary for a wedding or portrait photographer. If you’re a commercial photographer or serious landscape photographer then this is probably the camera for you.


Nikon D610

This is Nikon’s most affordable full frame DSLR. This could easily be used professionally, and would be an ideal choice for most wedding and portrait photographers.


Nikon D7100

Perfect for advanced amateurs and semi-professionals. This has a DX sized sensor, which is smaller than a full frame camera, but it still offers a lot of the features of the more expensive full frame professional cameras.


PRIME LENSES FOR NIKON

Nikon 35mm f/2

This is an affordable wide angle prime lens with a fast aperture. The 35mm focal length is great for street photography and photojournalism. We use our 35mm for wide portrait shots as well.


Sigma 35mm f/1.4

A high quality 35mm prime. At f/1.4 it’s faster than the Nikon 35mm f/2, and it offers better quality and value than Nikon’s own 35mm f/1.4.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

The most affordable lens that will improve your portrait photography. The fast f/1.8 aperture will help you blur your backgrounds and also allow you to shoot in lower light situations. It’s a fantastic all-around beginner lens and definitely our top recommendation to all new photographers.


Sigma 50mm f/1.4

Sigma only recently began making lenses that beat the pants off Canon and Nikon. This lens is the best 50mm autofocus lens available. With this lens you’ll get better sharpness, colour, contrast, and less lens distortion. It’s a big heavy lens that produces outstanding results.


Nikon 85mm f/1.8

An affordable telephoto portrait lens. You’ll love the way your subjects pop out with this lens because of the longer focal length combined with the large f/1.8 aperture. This lens is great for taking very flattering portraits, though you might find that it seems a bit too long sometimes. We personally use our 35mm and 50mm focal lengths more because the angle of view they produce is more similar to human vision, giving more natural looking results. There are more expensive versions of the 85mm, but depending on how often you use it, the 85mm f/1.8 will probably be the best value for you.


ZOOM LENSES FOR NIKON

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8

A legendary lens. This is possibly the best wide angle zoom lens in existence and provides incredible image quality. Perfect for landscape and architectural photography.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

An excellent mid-range zoom. This is a very versatile lens, and a great choice for photojournalism, travel, weddings, portraits, or anything really.


Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II

When you need to get closer this is the lens to grab. Wedding photographers will find this lens an absolute necessity during ceremonies and dimly lit receptions (when the optical stabilization becomes quite useful). Wildlife photographers and sports photographers will also find the longer reach of this lens quite valuable.


THIRD PARTY LENSES FOR BOTH CANON AND NIKON

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

This is a much more affordable alternative to Canon’s own 24-70mm f/2.8. Performance is nearly on par with the Canon version, and the Tamron actually has the benefit of image stabilization (a feature not found on Canon’s 24-70). Tamron actually offers quite a few different SP lenses that are both affordable and offer good image quality).

FOR CANON:

FOR NIKON:


Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8

An affordable wide angle zoom. It doesn’t have the same build quality compared to Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8, and the autofocus is slower, but it’s still a sharp, fast lens and it’s way cheaper!

FOR CANON:

FOR NIKON:


SPECIALTY LENSES

These lenses are fun to experiment with and can give you some really creative results! The recommendations here are very general. You can find these specialty lenses available in different focal lengths and from many different manufactures. Do your research! Try to borrow or rent these lenses before actually purchasing them, you might find them fun for a weekend but they’re probably not the type of lens you’ll use as often as your other prime and zoom lenses. These are also great lenses to search for on the used market.

MACRO LENSES

Macro lenses allow you to do extreme close up photography. These are fun lenses to experiment with. We use them in wedding photography for wedding ring shots.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro

A newer, more expensive, version of this lens is available that features image stabilization. This older version is still excellent, especially if you can find a good used copy.


Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

This is Nikon’s 100mm macro lens, that will let you get really, really close! This lens does feature image stabilization, which helps you keep your shot steady when you need to use slower shutter speeds.


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Extension Tubes

A more affordable option compared to the macro options above are extension tubes. You attach these tubes to your camera, and then attach any lens to the tube, and you’ll be able to focus much more closely than the lens is normally does.


TILT SHIFT LENSES

A tilt shift lens allows you to tilt and/or shift the plane of focus by moving the lens around. This allows you to control depth of field in really special ways. Tilt shift lenses require focusing manually. They also require a lot of patience! To learn how to use a tilt shift lens, check out our introduction post here!

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Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

A more affordable option compared to the macro options above are extension tubes. You attach these tubes to your camera, and then attach any lens to the tube, and you’ll be able to focus much more closely than the lens is normally does.


Nikon PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED Manual Focus Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras

Nikon calls their tilt shift lenses “Perspective control” (PC). Focal lengths available include:24mm, 45mm, 85mm.


Lensbaby

These lenses are kind of like the poor man’s tilt shift. They allow you some control over the plane of focus, not nearly as precise as a real tilt-shift. The image quality that they produce also isn’t as good as a dedicated tilt shift – but sometimes you might want a softer dreamier look. Lots of fun to experiment with and a whole lot cheaper!


fisheye LENSES

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens

A fisheye lens allows you to exaggerate perspective giving you an extremely wide angle of view, curving lines that would normally be straight. This Sigma lens produces pretty good results and is one of the more affordable options out there.

FOR CANON:

FOR NIKON:


other

Teleconverters

A teleconverter allows you to extend the focal length of a lens. So for example if you have a 70-200mm lens, once you attach a 2x teleconverter that lens will then become 140-400mm. The downside of using a teleconverter is that is reduces your effective aperture, so f/2.8 would become f/5.6. Teleconverters are available for both Canon and Nikon.


POINT AND SHOOT CAMERAS

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Sony RX100 III

An incredibly powerful compact point and shoot camera. Highly recommended. Stand out features include a 1 inch 20MP sensor, the ability to shoot in the raw format, a pop up electronic viewfinder (EVF), flip up screen (for easy selfies), a fast equivalent 24-70mm Zeiss zoom lens, and tons of other features. This is basically the unicorn of point and shoot cameras, and it’s expensive. Note: A newer version of this camera has been released (RX100IV) which shoots 4K video and his a higher resolution EVF.


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Canon S120

Everything you need in a point and shoot. It’s affordable, super compact, has a touch screen, and a nice long fast zoom lens. It’s also capable of shooting in the raw format, and has two control dials that make adjusting settings easy.


Accessories

MEMORY CARDS AND READERS

Using a brand name memory card is important (especially for professional use). We’ve always trusted SanDisk memory cards, and the few times we’ve tried off-brand cards they produced a few errors (which means lost photos. Not good.) The main features of memory cards (besides SD vs. Compact Flash) are the capacity of the card and how fast data can be written to, and read from, the card. Larger and faster cards cost more. We recommend getting larger memory cards where possible (click here to find out why).

SanDisk SD Memory Cards

The two main categories of SD cards you’ll run into are SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity). The SDHC cards are basically memory cards up to 32GB, SDXC are memory cards over 32GB. Some newer cameras (like the Sony RX100 III) will only allow you to shoot high quality video when using an SDXC memory card. Check your camera’s manual to see what type of memory card you need.


SanDisk Compact Flash Cards

This is another type of memory card that is used more commonly with professional cameras. They are physically larger and a bit more durable than SD cards. Just like with SD cards, they vary in terms of their capacity and read/write speed.


Transcend Memory Card Reader

An affordable, fast, USB 3.0 memory card reader. It reads different types of memory cards, like compact flash, SD and microSD. It’s also backwards compatible with USB 2.0.


Memory Card Wallet

A safe place to keep your memory cards. Tip: place memory cards in the wallet so that label up means they’re ready to use, and label down means the memory card has been filled.


CLEANING

LensPen

Highly recommended. This is one of our most used accessories. It’s a pen shaped tool and one end has a special felt tip that removes smudges from the front of your lens. The other end has a retractable soft brush tip that makes it easy to remove dust and dirt from the lens and camera. We have at least one of these in each of our camera bags.


LensPen Sensor Klear

This type of Lenspen is useful for removing stubborn spots and dust from your camera sensor. It has a smaller tip, and the head can be angled so you can easily get into those hard-to-reach places to clean.


Rocket Blower

When cleaning our camera’s sensor we use this first to try blasting away loose dust. Do not try blowing a puff of air from your mouth to clean your camera’s sensor. You also should not use canned compressed air to clean your sensor.


CAMERA FLASHES

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

Canon’s most powerful flash. Useful for professional wedding and event photographers shooting in low light conditions. The flash is weather sealed and also features a wireless triggering function (for using multiple flashes).


Canon 430EX II Speedlite

A good entry-level flash. Perfect for advanced amateurs, or as a backup flash. It does not recycle fast enough for professional use. And when your flash doesn’t fire when you need it to, you’re missing the shot!


Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack

A good entry-level flash. Perfect for advanced amateurs, or as a backup flash. It does not recycle fast enough for professional use. And when your flash doesn’t fire when you need it to, you’re missing the shot!


Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight

This is Nikon’s most powerful flash. It’s useful for professional wedding and event photographers shooting in low light conditions. It features a wireless triggering function (for using multiple flashes).


Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight

A good light-duty flash. Perfect for advanced amateurs, or as a backup flash. It does not recycle fast enough for professional use. And when your flash doesn’t fire when you need it to, you’re missing the shot!


Nikon SD-9 Battery Pack

A battery pack is incredibly useful for wedding and event photography. It allows you to connect more batteries to your flash, allowing your flash to recycle much much faster. Only compatible with the SB-910 and older SB-900 flash units (not the SB-500).


DEMB Flash Diffuser Pro

This is the best flash diffuser available and highly recommended if you need to use flash at an event like a wedding. It allows you to easily adjust between from bouncing flash off ceiling and walls, to bouncing off the white card and diffuser.


BATTERIES

Spare Camera Batteries

You can save some money purchasing 3rd party compatible batteries for your cameras. Watson is B&H’s line of batteries compatible with many different makes and models of cameras. In our experience they don’t last as longs the original batteries, but they are much more affordable. You can also find spare or replacement chargers from Watson.


AA Batteries

Your flash needs AA batteries and these ones are the best. Flashes eat batteries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you don’t want to skimp here, or you’ll find yourself struggling to get through an event without needing to change them every half hour.


AA Battery Charger

This is the best AA battery charger available. It contains microprocessors that ensure each battery connected is optimally charged. Very useful if you are recharging your batteries frequently!

TRIPODS

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MeFOTO RoadTrip Travel Tripod Kit

Most of the time you don’t need a tripod. A tripod is useful for specific situations that require long exposure times (like star trails, or some landscape photography). Here are the reasons why this tripod and head are great: it’s lightweight, it folds up small, converts to a monopod, holds up to 17lbs (which is fantastic!), has an arca-type quick release, comes with a carrying case, and most important, it’s super affordable for the features it offers.

Cullmann Magnesit Copter Mini Tripod with CB-2 Mini Ball Head

This is a mini tabletop tripod with a ball head. It’s an excellent accessory for point and shoot cameras – small, compact, light, and easy to use.


Gorilla Pod

These funky mini tripods have become hugely popular. You can twist and bend the legs in any direction allowing you to wrap the legs onto different objects. In reality I find we use it mainly as a mini tripod (instead of twisting and bending the legs). I’d recommending getting the version with the aluminum joint sockets as we have broken the plastic only ones.


CAMERA BAGS

Domke

Domke offers a whole line of very durable, affordable and downright beautiful camera bags. My personal favorite are the satchel bags.


Lowepro Stealth Reporter AW650

Our main camera bag. This bag will hold a 15in laptop, two DSLRs, about 5-6 lenses, and various accessories. And when it’s full of gear it’s heavy! If you don’t fill the front pockets this bag easily fits under airplane seats. It’s a super durable bag that we’ve had for years. We’ve tried other big bags (like the Think Tank roller bags) but nothing easily fit as much gear as this bag does. Just beware of how heavy it gets when it’s full!


Kelly Moore Camera Bags

It looks like an awesome purse but it’s actually an awesome camera bag that can also be used as a purse. Lots of space, good padding to keep your camera safe, and lots of handy pockets. This is what Lauren uses to carry around her camera every day.


Shootsac

These are the bags we carry on us during weddings and portrait sessions. The shoot sac is a super minimalist, soft neoprene, bag that’s designed to hold the essential gear you’ll need (a couple spare lenses, memory card wallet, spare batteries). None of the openings have zippers which means its easy to reach into any of the 6 different pouches to grab the gear you need. In particular this bag makes changing lenses really fast.


National Geographic

These bags are well made, rugged, and look like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. We travelled India using this bag and it held up really well. As a bonus for travel, they don’t really look like a typical black camera bag, so they blend in nicely.


STUDIO LIGHTS

Alien Bees

If you’d like to try out using studio strobe lights Alien Bees are a really affordable place to start. Plus they come in some pretty cool colours! If you find yourself shooting a lot more in studio you can always move up to the much more expensive strobe options out there.


LENS FILTERS

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Zeiss T* UV Filters

These Zeiss T* UV filters are the best. They’re basically clear filters that you leave attached to the front of the lens to protect the front lens element from dirt and scratches. It’s important to get a good quality filter, as putting low quality glass in front of the lens is a bad idea! We started out using cheap filters and they quickly get foggy/hazy (and were impossible to keep clean and clear).


MISC GEAR

Go Pro Hero4

The most recent versions of GoPro’s famous action cameras feature Ultra HD 4K video recording, and one model has a built-in touch screen. These cameras are fun to use and experiment with, especially if you do a lot of high intensity sports.


Holga

A cheap plastic “toy” camera that takes medium format film. The Holga is a really popular camera known for the imperfections it produces. Every shot is unique!


Fujifilm Instax 210 Instant Film Camera

Polaroid cameras were awesome. This Instax camera is the next best thing (and much more affordable for film!). It’s a bit of a big, cumbersome camera, but the instant prints it produces are great. One downside is that the film it uses doesn’t work well in really bright sunlight (overexposes).


Nikon 8×42 Monarch 3 ATB Binocular

Perfect for adventure! One of the reasons these binoculars are so good is that they have really long eye relief, which makes them quite easy to look through. Excellent image quality, and great value!


Computer Stuff

COMPUTERS & MONITORS

Hackintosh

We currently use two custom built Hackintosh computers. A Hackintosh is a computer built from off the shelf PC parts that is capable of running Apple’s OSX operating system. I wouldn’t recommend this option to most people since it does require a fair bit of work building the computer, getting the operating system running properly, and then keeping the operating system up to date. If you’re a computer enthusiast then this might be a good option for you. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a real Apple computer, and you have a lot more flexibility choosing the parts you want to use.


Mac Pro

We used Mac Pros for years and we loved them. We switched over to Hackintoshes when the Mac Pro’s fate seemed uncertain (Apple had failed to release any updates to the Mac Pro for 2 years, and there were rumours it would be discontinued). Fast forward to today and Apple has completely redesigned the Mac Pro, and it’s amazing. These are extremely powerful computers that will provide excellent value to any professional photographer. A couple big downsides to these computers are the price (expensive!) and also the lack of additional internal storage space (you need to buy additional hard drive enclosures like these).


iMac with 5K Display

The display resolution on this computer is a mind boggling 5120×2880 pixels (5K). It’s a gorgeous screen perfect for photographers. This is a really compelling all-in-one computer that could be suitable for both advanced amateurs and professionals. The one problem with this computer for serious professional use is that the internal components of the computer (which aren’t very upgradeable) are going to age a lot faster than the display (which you could easily be using for the next 5 years). Still, for the low price this computer is and the fact that there are almost no other 5K screens available, this is a great option for photographers (of any level) looking to purchase a computer right now.


MacBook Pro

We’ve used a 15inch MacBook Pro for years as a portable workstation. We would bring it to weddings, and during the reception we would quickly edit about 20 of the best photos from the day and put together a quick slideshow using the screen saver function. It’s also great having a powerful laptop that can function as a backup in case one of our main computers dies.


MacBook Air

This computer is so convenient for personal use. It bounces around from kitchen to couch. We even take it traveling, to do light-duty work like emails and blog posts.


NEC PA Series Color Accurate Monitors

If you’re printing your photography then a colour accurate monitor will help to ensure that your prints match what you see on your screen. The PA line of monitors from NEC are some of the best.


PHOTO STORAGE AND BACKUP

Western Digital MyBook

You need to backup your photos. You need multiple copies and you need at least one copy in a secure off site location. These external hard drives from Western Digital are affordable, and easy to use.


Western Digital My Passport

These mini drives are really useful for travel, or for offsite backup. They don’t require an extra power cord, and draw their power directly from the USB port.


INPUT DEVICES

Wacom Tablet

A helpful tool for retouching and photo editing. A tablet and stylus allow you to control your cursor like a pen and paper. The stylus gives you much more dextrous control compared the bear claw movements of a mouse. Plus they’re a lot of fun to play with too!


Razer Death Adder Mouse

Highly recommended. Using an ultra sensitive gaming mouse like the Death Adder allows you to make much more precise movements around your screen. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but a fast mouse will save you tons of time.


PRINTERS AND PAPER

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Epson SureColor P800 Inkjet Printer

A professional level inkjet printer. Uses archival quality pigment ink. If you’re a professional, I would highly recommend checking this printer out. It’s the best printer you can buy for around $1000 (make sure to look out for rebates and sales). We use an older model (Epson 3880) and it's been an essential piece of gear. Not only do we use it for client prints, it’s also excellent for printing custom stationary and business cards. The color and detail of the photos it produces is outstanding.


GREAT FOR
BEGINNERS

Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Wireless Professional Inkjet Photo Printer

Possibly the best value semi-professional photo printer. Make sure to get it when it’s on sale for only $150.


Epson Expression Premium XP-620 Small-in-One Inkjet Printer

Highly Recommended. We use an older version of this printer as our office printer. It can print two sided, has a scanner, and does a decent job with quick photo 4×6 prints. And at less than $100 this printer is cheap!


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Moab Entrada Bright 300

This is our favourite matte paper (and we’ve tried quite a few). This is a nice heavy stock matte paper with very little texture. What we love about this paper so much is that you can print on both sides (most fine art papers you can only print on one side). This two-side features makes it a very versatile paper choice capable of handling both fine art prints, and also greeting cards, and business cards. We always have a supply of this paper.


Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper

Excellent photo paper. While we love the Moab Entrada Bright paper, it’s not always the best choice because the matte paper produces a very low contrast look. With the Epson Lustre paper you’ll get colour, contrast, and sharpness that knock your socks off. It’s the ideal paper for client photos, and any other situation you want that “true photographic print” look.


Dahle Professional Paper Cutter

If you’re doing prints you’ll need to cut paper. This paper cutter does a great job. Depending on the largest size prints you do, you might be able to get away with a smaller one. This paper cutter is the perfect size for handling the largest prints possible from the Epson 3880 (17x22inches).


SOFTWARE

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Adobe Lightroom 6

Highly recommended photo editing software available for both Mac and PC. With Lightroom you’ll be able to quickly bring the best out of your photos by making adjustments to settings like exposure, contrast, saturation, and white balance, and so much more! If you’re a new photographer Lightroom should be one of the first things you purchase. Adobe offers a free 30-day trial here.


Adobe Creative Cloud

One of the most popular photography programs of all time is Photoshop. Despite it’s name, Photoshop is an extremely powerful graphics editor rather than strictly a photo editor. Some photographers will find Photoshop useful for tasks like retouching, and more advanced photo editing – but for most photographers Lightroom will be sufficient (or Photoshop’s little brother; Photoshop Elements). Now if you are a professional photographer then you might need Photoshop. It’s available from Adobe on a subscription basis. You can purchase a subscription for both Photoshop + Lightroom for only $10/month. If you need the rest of the Creative Suite of programs (Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere, Etc) then you’ll need to purchase a subscription for $50/month. It might seem steep but if you’re using these programs to earn income then it’s pretty easy to justify the price.


Photo Mechanic

We recommend this program to professional photographers who often have to sort through a lot of photos, it’s an essential part of our workflow. Photo Mechanic has a minimalist design, and loads photos super fast.


BUSINESS

Neat Receipts

Never lose a receipt again! If you’re running a photography business then organization is key! Neat Receipts includes a document scanner and organizational software available for both Mac and PC. They used to sell the software separately, but unfortunately you have to purchase one of their scanners now in order to get the software. One of the things I like most about the software is that you’re actually able to “print” receipts directly into the software. So all the receipts you receive by email when you purchase something online can be saved into the software right along next to the paper receipts that you scan in.


Fuji Scansnap S1300i

An excellent scanner. We got this when you could purchase the Neat Receipts Software separately. It also works with programs like Evernote.


CONCLUSION

Well, that brings us to the end! We hope you’ve found this list of recommended gear useful, and want to say a final thank you for choosing to make any of your gear purchases through the Amazon and B&H links on this page. Your support is greatly appreciated, and helps us bring you tons of useful photography resources!

One final recommendation: don’t worry too much about the equipment that you’re using. It isn’t the camera that takes great photos, it’s the person behind the camera. You can make amazing photos with the gear you have right now. New gear can help you, but the way to really improve your photography is to practice and keep learning!

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Thanks for reading, and happy photographing!

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