Mentioned in this Episode



Henry’s (Canada)


ConvertKit  –  Mailing List – Free for up to 1000


Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones, and this is episode 145 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.

This week’s episode idea came from Shannon Doheny Dougherty in the Facebook group.

One of her suggestions was … “What gear do I need besides a camera, Computer, Reflector?”

Halfway through writing this, I decided to organize my podcast room / spare bedroom, and I was going through some camera equipment I hadn’t used in years.

I still have two Canon 30D bodies that I was meant to trade in when I moved up to the 1D MK4 bodies. The reason I didn’t trade them was they offered me peanuts for them. I think it was less than $100 each.

Right up to that point, I had been using them to make money. They worked great and never let me down, so I kept them.

I checked the KEH website today, and they have some 30D bodies for sale, ranging from $46 to $72. Yes, they are only 8MP cameras, but they still capture the scene in front of you just like any other body.

Back in 2006, photographers produced large prints and photobooks just like they do today using eight and 10-megapixel cameras.

Today’s camera bodies are incredible, but do you need to spend thousands of dollars on one when you can buy a 5-year-old body for hundreds?

Okay, let’s go through the list of things you need to get started making money as a photographer.

Camera Body
Obviously, you need a camera body, but you also need a backup body, just in case. If you are shooting a wedding, it is very important that you have a backup camera body.

99.9% of the time, your camera will work great, but all electronics fail at some point. If that happens to you, you need to be able to pull a second body out of your bag and continue working.

This is where buying used equipment pays off. Instead of buying this year’s model for $2000, buy two used bodies for $1500 or less.

You don’t need a 61-megapixel camera. Anything around 20MP will be fine; if money is tight, you can use anything you can afford. I know I can get great results using my old 8MP 30D bodies. My daughter’s backup bodies are Canon 60D’s; they are 18MP, and I wouldn’t have a problem putting pro lenses on them and doing a shoot. You can buy 60D bodies on the KEH website for $220.

I’m using for these examples, but you can buy used equipment from B&H, Adorama, Henrys in Canada, and lots of other dealers.

So, don’t think you need to break the bank on camera bodies.

Next is …
Now, this is where you need to spend the most money. Again, you don’t need to buy new. There are lots of deals to be had buying used lenses. If you are going to be shooting for money, you need to buy professional lenses.

Lenses don’t need changing very often. I still have lenses that I bought new in 2005/2006. If you look after them, there will be no reason to replace them.

Okay, your first decision is whether you want to shoot using Prime lenses, Zooms, or a mixture of both.

Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, like 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, etc. Most primes have a maximum aperture of 1.8, 1.4, and 1.2. That means they let a lot of light in and are great for shooting in low-light situations.

Professional zooms have focal lengths like 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 100-300mm and generally have a maximum aperture of 2.8. That also lets in a lot of light, but not as much as prime lenses. An f/1.4 lens lets in 4x the amount of light an f/2.8 lens. F/1.4 lets in 2 stops more light than f/2.8.

I bought a 50mm 1.4 lens so I could shoot at wedding receptions without a flash. If I were using ISO 800 with the 50mm lens, I would have had to use ISO 3200 with an f/2.8 lens. That would make the photos very grainy.

A plus to using a newer body is the graininess caused by a high ISO isn’t anywhere as bad as it used to be. I am confident I could use my newer R6 MK2 body at ISO 3200 without a grain problem.

So, which focal lengths should you use?

If you will be shooting groups of people, you will need a wider lens. But it depends on what type of body you are using. On a full-frame body, a 35mm lens will let you capture groups. An APS-C crop body has a smaller sensor and gives the lens a narrower field of view.

So, you need to use a multiplier of 1.5x for Nikon and 1.6x for Canon. A 35mm lens on a Nikon APS-C body acts like a 52.5mm lens. That wouldn’t be good for capturing groups of people. If you used a 24mm lens on a Nikon APS-C body, it would be similar to a 36mm lens. So, 24mm would be perfect for group shots.

Lenses with lower numbers capture a wider view; higher numbers are used to bring subjects closer and fill the frame.

If you are just starting out, the cheapest lens is usually the 50mm 1.8. This lens will transform your photography if you are currently using an 18-55mm kit lens. I highly recommend it.

Okay, next …
Camera Bag
When I started out, I went through lots of camera bags. Each bag was bigger than the last one. The good ones aren’t cheap, but they protect your gear, so buy the best one you can afford.

Memory Cards
All I can say is to buy twice as many as you think you will need. Buy Sandisk, Lexar, ProGrade, and Sony brands. Avoid cheaper no-name cards on Amazon. Just because it says something on the label doesn’t mean it is. Stick with the best brands.

Cleaning Kit
Keep your gear clean, and check it before every session. Cleaning kits are inexpensive, so don’t work with a dirty lens.


An average computer will be fine when you are starting out. It might take more time to edit, so add it to your list of things you need to upgrade.

There are lots of free editing programs available, but if you want to compete as a photographer, I strongly recommend you get a subscription to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I think they call it the Photographer’s Plan.

Editing is 50% of a photographer’s workload. A properly edited photo is easier to sell.
External Hard Drives
Back up your work. It is so important. You are dealing with customer’s memories; don’t lose them.

Every professional photographer needs a website to show their portfolio and take bookings. Show the world how professional and trustworthy you are.

Mailing List
Just like a website, every business needs a mailing list. Collect website visitor’s email addresses and contact them with your offers.


Shooting with a flash will solve a lot of problems you might have when shooting outdoors. They are easy to use, and you can be up and running in no time at all.
If you are shooting sports with a big lens, then a monopod is a must-have. For landscape photographers, a tripod is a big piece of your equipment.
Filters are being used less and less these days due to what you can do when editing. Again, it’s landscape photographers who use them more than anyone else. Although a circular polarizer is something everyone should have in their bag.
Great for reflecting sunlight or flash onto the subject’s face to remove shadows.

Okay, those are the things you need to get started.

Before I go, I want to mention something that shocked me.
I watched a video by Marques Brownlee on YouTube called “AI-Generated Videos Just Changed Forever.”

The AI he talks about is SORA, and it is owned by OpenAI, the same company that gave us ChatGPT.

The AI videos are 95% there. In a few months, you won’t know if it’s real or AI-generated. SORA works the same as ChatGPT; you put in a prompt, and it makes a video for you. Anyone who makes videos for commercial use should be worried.

Check it out. I’ll put a link in the show notes and over at

While you’re there, you can support the show and buy me a coffee.

Right then, that is it for another week. I’ll talk to you soon, bye.