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Best Equipment for Beginner Photographers

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

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With all the travel, nature, & landscape photography that I share online, I get asked all the time what camera, lens, phone & accessories do I use. Thought I would provide Amy B's 'must have' list of best travel photography gear all the way down to the backpack I use on my favorite hiking trails.

Do you have the photography bug or know someone that does?

This list of best gifts for the amateur photographers contains recommendations from Amy B and you can see all of her travel, nature & landscape photography at the Change N Focus Art Gallery.

Best Gifts for Amateur Photographers

First, let me be completely honest, I do not consider myself a professional photographer. In fact, I use the automatic mode on my camera when I'm hiking [gasp, I know!], because I prefer to enjoy each moment in the great outdoors as opposed to playing around with settings and tripods on the trail. I also don't use a professional grade camera, but my photography has taken top prize over professional photographers. Not to brag, but to show you that it doesn't take ridiculously expensive camera equipment to take fabulous travel, nature & landscape photos. I'll share some of my favorite photos later in this post that I've taken using the products that I'm recommending.


Nikon Digital Cameras & Kits

The Digital SLR Camera that I use is the Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Camera. I own two Nikon D3300 camera bodies one that I keep a wide angle lens for landscape captures and the other a zoom lens when I want to capture nature details, wildlife or any kind of action shot.

The following package is the Nikon D3300 camera that includes a wide angle lens and a starter zoom lens. I bought a second Nikon D3300 camera body only when I got tired of switching out lenses to capture wildlife while hiking since I usually use the wide angle lens to capture landscapes on a hike.

NIKON D3300 Digital Camera Double Zoom Kit 18-55mm DX VR II & 55-200mm DX VR II Lenses Black

NIKON D3300 Digital SLF Camera Body ONLY - Black

sunrise moraine lake in banff national park alberta canada
Amy B's favorite landscape photo taken at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park Canada.

Nikon Camera How-to Photography Book

I was gifted the Nikon D3300: From Snapshots to Great Shots book that is incredible helpful and filled with great tips and tons of photography content. The Nikon manual doesn't show exactly how to use the camera, so you will want this educational how-to photography series that offers practical advice on what settings to use, great shooting tips and provides the perfect blend of instruction, inspiration and reference for all camera features. This book can give amateur photographer a great jump start into the world of travel, nature & landscape photography.

Nikon D3300: From Snapshots to Great Shots (1st edition)

Nikon Digital Camera Accessories

There are a few true necessities that you will definitely need for your camera when traveling. First is spare Nikon lithium-ion batteries for those long trails or days exploring a new travel destination. I have four total batteries, one for each camera and a backup for each as well. Second is a SanDisk 128GB Ultra Memory Card to store all of your fabulous photo memories until you can transfer them to another device. And finally, the Nikon D3300 is not Wi-Fi enabled, which I choose for privacy reasons as well as a cheaper price tag. Instead I use the Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter that I keep attached to each camera and when I want to quickly transfer photos to my phone for a social share, you simply connect it to camera, it emits a Wi-Fi signal that your phone connects to and you can download selected images to your phone!

Nikon Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery

SanDisk 128GB Ultra SDXC UHS-1 Memory Card

Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter

Additional Nikon Digital Camera Lenses

The lenses listed below are the ones that I purchased when I needed a little more range in the zoom, plus the Nikon Nikkor 50mm Lens that is great for every day and for those times family and friends want their pictures taken. The extra length in the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm Lens allowed me to shoot wildlife from a greater distance, and the lens is still light enough to hold still and take on hiking trails. This lens also takes wonderful macro shots of insects and flowers. This is probably my favorite lens, because I love capturing birds and wildlife while exploring nature trails. Finally, the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens is a fabulous wide angle lens for all of those outdoors landscapes and small spaces that you need to capture the entire scene.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens

Nikon AF-FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

Phone Camera & GoPro Recommendations

There are two other cameras that I travel and hike with and I'm currently using both. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S9 which I adore and have used ALL Samsung Galaxy phone cameras. They take incredibly clear videos and photos and have a professional camera mode as well. I have used iPhones in the past, but prefer the quality of Samsung! Although most phones have come a very long way on the camera features. Just before COVID quarantine, I purchase a GoPro Hero 8 Package to play with. The video clarity is stunning and has a great stabilizing feature.

Samsung Galaxy S9, 64 GB - Fully Unlocked [Renewed]

GoPro Hero 8 Digital Action Pack

Best Travel & Hiking Camera Backpack

The product that I get the most use out of is my S-Zone Waterproof Canvas Camera Backpack with storage for both my DSLR cameras, extra batteries, my Microsoft Surface Pro as well as a few more accessories, my GoPro and my bottle of hiking water.

S-Zone Waterproof Canvas Camera Backpack

To show you a few of my favorite travel, nature & landscape photography, please see below or visit the Change N Focus Art Gallery. Affordable fine art prints can be purchased on metal, canvas and matted framed prints in array of sizes. Twenty 20% of net profits from print sales are donated to a charity annually chosen by those that purchase photography prints.

light beams upper antelope canyon in Page, Arizona
Award Winning Photo taken in Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona
California Scrub Jay taken on hike in Big Sur
California Scrub Jay taken on hike in Big Sur

I hope you enjoyed my best travel photography gear guide, please let me know if you try any of these products, would love to hear your thoughts on them. Thank you so much for reading, you can read more about travel photography tips from San Francisco and San Diego at blogs below.

Travel Photography Tips San Francisco

Travel Photography Guide to San Diego

all equipment ever new photographer needs
equipment guide for new photographers

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