So, you are ready to take the plunge and dive into a journey of photography. You have mentally prepared for your course and are excited to see a whole new world through your lens, but you find yourself asking “what lens will I need?” And then you worry you don’t know what else is required. Let us stop you there. Don’t worry, we have got you covered! This blog will introduce you to the photography equipment needed to complete your course assignments. From cameras to lenses, and tripods to memory cards, we'll guide you through the essentials. We are also aware of the costs involved and we understand that all this kit can be quite an investment for beginners.
Let us walk you through some tips and tricks to help you reduce costs without compromising on quality. Whether you choose a Certificate, Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, or an academic pathway such as Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma, we’ll take you through all the equipment, where to purchase it and how to make the most of your photography course.
What equipment do I need for the photography course?
The following is a list of photography equipment that you will need to complete your course assignments. Photography equipment can be expensive so here are some tips to help reduce costs, especially when you’re starting out.
It is essential that you have access to the following equipment as you will need these to complete your assignments:
1. A digital camera
You can use any digital camera, however it must include:
- a manual mode
- a changeable lens
- a zoom lens (kit lens e.g. 18-55mm)
- RAW format capabilities
- a flash with both manual and TTL (‘Through the Lens’) functions
- a means to connect remotely to an external flash
If you are unsure whether your camera meets these requirements then check your manual, search for help online. If you still struggle to find answers, you can simply get in touch with us. As menu settings vary from camera to camera, you should familiarise yourself with your own camera’s menu settings before you start your course. Remember to hold on to your instruction manual as you may need to refer to this.
If you are buying a new or second hand camera, it is advisable to shop around and do some research. Camera technology is constantly evolving and no camera is perfect. There will always be some form of limitations in terms of quality, cost or weight.
Tips when buying a camera:
Read reviews, compare prices and always check for student discounts.
If buying second hand, use a reputable camera shop and remember to check if a battery is included.
Canon and Nikon are recommended and offer a wide range of cameras depending on your budget and requirements. Other recommended brands are Sony, Olympus and Pentax.
If you are purchasing a memory card you will need to ensure it is compatible with your camera.
2. Lightroom Classic and/or Photoshop
Recommended: We have a separate blog post about this, so please check it out for more information.
Please note: It will not be sufficient to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop on a tablet/iPad to complete your course assignments.
3. An off-camera flash, flash trigger (receiver + transmitter) flash stand and modifier
During your course you will learn about flash and studio lighting techniques. Although many cameras have a built-in ‘pop up flash’, you will need an off-camera flash to complete your assignments as it opens up many more creative options when it comes to your photography.
It is recommended that you use the same brand of flash as your camera but, third-party options like Godox, YongNuo or Neewer for example, are less expensive options. If choosing one of these, you will still need to match the camera brand to their flash. Look for a YongNuo flash for Canon or a YongNuo flash for Nikon for example.
A flash trigger is a small piece of equipment that will allow you to operate your speedlight or strobe remotely. Even though wired options such as hot shoe extension or sync cords are available, these can potentially limit your creativity and even your speedlight’s TTL mode (if available). Therefore, a wireless flash trigger is the best option.
A flash trigger is divided into two parts, 1) a transmitter that attaches to your camera and 2) a receiver that will be attached to your Speedlight or Strobe. There are several options available such as Neewer, JJC, Aodelan, Andoer, Phottix Godox and PocketWizard.
Flash stand and modifier
You will need a stand to mount your flash, a bracket to connect the flash to the stand and a softbox or umbrella.
The Godox Foldable Softbox Kit with S-Type Flash Bracket or the Interfit Photographic Strobies S-Type Speedlight Bracket & Softbox Kit are good options.
Tips for reducing the cost of the equipment
Remember your student discount.
Many photography shops offer a student discount. When purchasing photography equipment use your student card or add a comment to an online order letting them know you are a student with us and they may include a discount. Wherever you buy equipment, you should always ask if they have a student discount, you never know!.
Don't have a student card yet? Just email us with a recent headshot and your student number and we will post one to you.
Keep in mind that it’s worthwhile shopping around for the best deals. It’s also worth considering hiring or borrowing equipment as well as buying second hand.
If you have any questions about the photography equipment required for your course, you can email our Student Services team who will be happy to guide you and answer all your questions.