A common question when starting out in photography is what starter equipment should be purchased.  After all, someone new to photography is generally limited on funds.  However, purchasing cheap equipment will turn out a lot more costly in the long run.  Not to mention, low cost equipment = low quality pictures = no/few (and low-paying) clients.

That is how I started out.  I first purchased a Canon Digital Rebel XTI when it first came out for $1000.  Then, I got a couple variable aperture lenses and off-brand flashes, because they were cheap.  After I photographed my first wedding, I realized that my camera wasn’t going to cut it.  So, I got a Canon 40D and a few new lenses.  Then, I realized that I needed a better low-light processor.  Within a year, I purchased a brand new Canon 7D.  After about 6 months, I found out that full-frame cameras were the true ‘pro’ camera, so I got my Canon 5D mk2.  I literally spent THOUSANDS that I didn’t actually have to spend before I discovered what it was that I really needed.

So, what is the minimum equipment does it take to be a photographer?  What should you put your limited resources toward in order to get started?

  • Canon 5D Mark 2 or Nikon equivalent, Nikon D700 (approximately $2400 new, but maybe less used on Craigslist or Amazon)
  • Canon or Nikon 50mm 1.4 Lens ($400)
  • Photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom (As low as $9.99/mo for Creative Cloud)
  • Yongnuo YN560-II manual flash (will not do ETTL/automatic, but you need to learn manual settings — $60)
  • A set of radio triggers (I use Phottix Strato II — $99 for trigger and receiver)

Now, I have a ton of equipment that wasn’t listed here.  I am not saying that is the only equipment you will ever need, but it will get you started.

I decided to do a little experiment.  I took a trip home to Indiana over Thanksgiving to see family.  I could only bring the bare minimum equipment with me, but I still wanted to take good quality images while there.  So, I shot all week long on just this equipment (minus the light and triggers… I didn’t use my flash at all!) Check out all the fun images I got.



My little guy on the plane.  We took an EARLY flight out to beat a storm that was delaying flights on the east coast.  It was not easy to get a proper exposure inside the plane without flash.  It was so bright outside and so dim in the plane.


There was snowfall on Thanksgiving day.  Cody was so excited.  Since we live in Texas, we don’t get many opportunities to see snow.  Snow poses some difficulties in photography because it is really easy to blow it out and not get any detail.



Every year in my hometown, an individual sets up the We Care Park full of lights.  You can drive or walk through.  We did both.  It was the first time I ever walked through.  It was soooo beautiful!!!!!!  They accept donations that go to We Care, a local charity.

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Another Christmastime tradition is going to the Seiberling Mansion.

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The day we flew back to Dallas, we left early and went to the Indianapolis 500 museum.  Cody LOVES cars.

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We got to the airport quite early.  We had a lot of time to kill, so we played a lot. =)


My little model.  =)

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That’s my silly boy on the plane, heading home to see daddy!


Dallas at night! How beautiful!

If you would like to know how I took any of these shots, or if you are interested in one-on-one or group instruction for photography, please contact me by emailing christina@christinatruelove.com or call 469-432-2245.