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I put together this page of resources for photographers to help you if you’re just getting started with photography.
These are all the tools, apps and gear items I recommend to all my friends.
I personally have used each and every item recommended here and am confident that they’ll help you grow as a photographer too.
I highly recommend you invest in a camera if you want to take up photography as a hobby. It’s fine to keep taking snaps with your smart phone, but if you want to improve, a dedicated camera is essential.
The 3 cameras I recommend for beginners are the Sony a6000, the Fujifilm X-T100 and the Nikon D3400. They’re all very popular, high quality cameras that offer great features, can shoot in RAW, and include a flexible zoom lens.
Yes, you can get cheaper cameras than this but I don’t recommend them if you want to grow as a photographer. I usually buy my camera gear from Amazon.
Recommended Image Editors
The next thing you absolutely need to make the photos you take look their best is an image editor (image editing software). Every single image you see nowadays has been edited in some way to make it look better.
All the cameras above can shoot in ‘RAW’ format (as well as JPEG). With the RAW file, you’ll be able to make changes to your images, making darker areas lighter, add sharpening, boost colours and do all kinds of other fun things.
I highly recommend the software Luminar to edit your photos – it’s powerful, fun and above all very easy to use (much easier than Adobe Lightroom, which I recommend to pros). Remember to use coupon code SHOTKIT to save $10 (see here for instructions).
Recommend App for Editing
If you need just one app on your phone for editing images, I highly recommend Lightroom CC. It’s a free app, but the true power of it is in the paid version.
When you subscribe each month for the main (computer) version of Lightroom Classic CC, you also unlock the Premium Features of the Lightroom app (otherwise known as Lightroom CC, or Lightroom Mobile – check out this guide for clarification).
The Premium Features of the Lightroom CC mobile app allow you to edit RAW photos on your tablet or phone, access powerful editing tools, and sync all your edits across your devices – it really is revolutionary.
Check out the different ways to subscribe to Lightroom here.
Recommended Photography Course
This is the video course that I wish existed when I was starting out with photography many years ago. Photo All Star teaches you how to get the most out of your new camera – most importantly, how to get off AUTO mode and using the manual settings.
The teacher is Peter Eastway, a certified Master of Photography and the most awarded photographer in Australia. He’s very knowledgeable (obviously!), but more importantly he’s also very good at teaching in a simple, understandable and fun way.
If you’re overwhelmed with all the information on learning photography and how to use your camera, I highly recommend you sign up for this course.
Recommended Photography Assignments
When you’ve learnt how to take a great photo, you’ll need to practice to keep on improving. Some people are good at getting out there with their camera and inventing ‘projects’ or ‘assignments’ for themselves to do.
For everyone else, the Photzy Action Cards are a great solution – printable project sheets with over 100 photography assignments to expand you shooting skills. Having these in your pocket and a plan to follow will encourage you get out there and shoot, and you’ll improve much quicker.
They’re often on sale at an 80% discount – check here.
Recommended Website Hosting
When you start wanting to show your photos to the world, you’ll need a website. It’s fine to post images on Facebook and Instagram, but I recommend you invest in your own little corner of the Internet too. That way you’ll have full control of your images.
The first thing you’ll need is website hosting. If you’re just starting out, I recommend Bluehost – it’s the most affordable option out there, has great customer support and is simple to use (particularly if you’re setting up a WordPress website for the first time).
For step by step instructions, check out my guide on how to start a photography blog.
Recommended Website Platform
There are numerous platforms on which to build your first photography website but I always recommend WordPress.
You can download WordPress separately, but it’s a little technical to set up, especially if it’s your first time. I recommend you sign up with Bluehost, where you can set up a WordPress website with one-click - it’s so much easier than trying youself.
WordPress allows you to create a blog easily, and have somewhere to show off your photos and write about them too. It’s simple to start, but also offers a lot of flexibility and powerful features when you start getting the hang of it.
Recommended Website Themes
Think of your website ‘theme’ as the clothes that it wears to make it look pretty :-) WordPress comes with several free themes, and there are thousands more to choose from.
However, if you simply want the best looking photo website straight out the gate, I highly recommend Flothemes. They’re specifically built with the photographer in mind, and their selection of themes are fully featured, fast loading and absolutely beautiful.
Remember to use coupon code: shotkit25 to save 25%.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.