When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Photography can be a fun way to document your life or experience the world around you.
- We spoke to two professional photographers about the best supplies and tips for beginners.
- Below, they share their recommendations for the best DSLR camera, SD card, books, and more.
These days, it may seem like everyone is a photographer, with quality cameras built into smartphones and apps like Instagram available to edit and upload all your snapshots.
But there are techniques and skills behind taking the best photographs, and working with a physical camera can be a rewarding experience on its own.
"Photographs have this ability to take the familiar and make it new, transforming the world around us into something wholly different and charged with emotion," says Andrew Frost, MFA, photographer, Lecturer & Senior Media Tech at the University of Vermont. "Unlike most other art forms, photography tends to use the raw material of the world around us."
"I love photography because it allows you to freeze time and create lifelong memories," says Mena Darré, a professional photographer and entrepreneur. "The world is forever changing and photography allows you to document the journey."
Learn more about how Insider Reviews reviews and researches books and hobby-based products.
If you've wanted to take the leap from your iPhone to a Canon DSLR, here are the best tips and supplies for photography beginners.
1. Get a versatile camera and (if applicable) an SD card.
When it comes to deciding on what camera to use, Frost is practical: "Every camera in the world is just a black box with an opening on one end and a sensor of some kind on the other — ultimately, it's what you do with it that matters."
According to Frost, the best way to get started is by using what you have accessible, whether it's a phone or a physical camera. "I tell my students that ultimately, you want to be in control of your tool, so the more settings you're able to adjust, the more control you can have," he says.
"For a beginner, I do recommend a DSLR because these particular cameras are what's current in modern technology," says Darré. DSLRs give you the option to change lenses and take different types of photos.
But she's clear about what not to buy. "If you do not want to purchase a DSLR, I would not recommend purchasing a point-and-shoot; you are better off just using an up-to-date smartphone since most people have them."
So what should you consider if you're in the market for a camera? "It's hard to go wrong with something like the Canon Rebel line for starter DSLRs; they're nothing fancy, but they're great," says Frost.
Another great, non-DSLR Canon model is the Canon EOS R, which Darré says "is lightweight, [has an autofocus that's] so much better than the Rebel, and has 30MP, which is great for a beginner's camera."
Once you have your camera, SD cards allow you to take numerous photos with them. "SD cards have to have the capability to keep up with the speed of the camera [or] you can end up losing your photos," says Darré. For Frost, he recommends smaller size cards and just taking the photos off the card more frequently.
2. Invest in a few extra helpful items.
A tripod may not be a fundamental item to get started snapping photos, but using one can help you take them in a different way. "[Tripods] force you to slow down — when you're starting, and even when you have a ton of experience, it's easy to move too fast and be sloppy," says Frost.
Tripods also give you more options, such as shooting in different lighting conditions and providing more stability. "I think the ZIKZOK has a good starter tripod," says Darré. "The camera load is 33 lbs, it allows you to attach a phone mount, and it can be used as a monopod."
When it comes to your actual camera, one simple way to take good care of it is to invest in microfiber cloths to clean the lens and sensors. "Just think how quickly a pair of eyeglasses can become dirty," says Darré.
3. Learn basic techniques and photography principles.
For total beginners, "Digital Photography Complete Course" "is a great resource because it covers digital photography from A to Z," says Darré. "Although I think you'll only get better with practice, I think it's good to understand the principles of photography."
And to help keep you motivated, "The Photographer's Playbook" is full of photography ideas so you can get out and practice by putting different techniques and concepts to use. "It's an excellent starting place for ideas and assignments from some of the best photographers," says Frost.
Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.
Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at email@example.com.