When I first started my journey in photography, I believed the lie that I had to own this camera body and that lens with this flash and that lighting equipment. I was under the impression that to take good photographs I had to have the gear with all the bells and whistles. I was so intimidated by the expenses of this hobby and I started to second guess myself and even worse, my ability. If you find yourself thinking this then you're not alone, but the good news is... it's a lie. 

I honestly do not feel qualified to give advice, but please hear my heart. I want to tell you things I wish someone would've told me. And if there is one bit of advice I can give to new photographers or anyone interested or even just starting out, it's this: do not let anyone tell you are aren't good enough. I struggled with this in the beginning of my journey because I didn't go to college for it and felt like people who were doing this longer than me must make them "better." If you have integrity and do the very best you can, you've already won. 

I started out with a Canon RebelT2i, which was (and still is) a great DSLR camera. I got to know the functions and was really comfortable with it. I utilized the factory lens which was an 18-55mm (a.k.a. the one that comes with the camera) for the first six months or so, and had so much fun shooting with it. You name it, and I probably took a picture of it. I couldn't believe this new hobby of mine was taking up such a big space in my heart.

Great photos do not come from the type of gear you have, but from the love you have for the art and passion that is placed inside of you.

Now moving on to the technical side of things; learn the functions of your camera inside and out. Who cares about what type of camera the next person is shooting with, be comfortable with what you have before moving on to more expensive gear that you don't know how to use. Coming from someone who is self-taught, Youtube works wonders. Trust me. (So does lots of coffee and late night photography blog reading.) Other important tips I wish someone would've told me: learn how to shoot in manual and know the variables of the histogram (exposure/blacks). Those are just some basic principles that every new photographer needs to take the time to learn. (It will be worth it, and it will show in your work.) 

One rather inexpensive lens I suggest investing into is the 50mm 1.8 prime. For about $100 on amazon you can get a great portrait lens, with great bokeh, and incredible low light capability. This lens gives quite the bang for its buck. Hashtag nifty fifty. Below is an example.

A photo from my sisters senior session I took in 2012. Shot with my Canon RebelT2i and 50mm 1.8 lens.

Looking at the photo above, I can list (a pretty long one, too) a number of things wrong with this photo... but thats not the point ;). The point i'm trying to make is this: I shot with my T2i and 50mm 1.8 for two years before moving on to a more advanced camera body and higher quality lenses.

The beauty of photography is that I'm still learning and I still have SO much to learn. We all do, even the photographers who have been doing this full time and own a studio. I have a real admiration for photographers who cultivate creativity and share what they've learned with others. The idea of everyone competing against each other is pointless, because we should be helping each other. Its about community, not competition. 

So, go take some photos, experiment. Mess up, and ask a lot of questions. You can do whatever is placed in your heart, so be encouraged that it CAN be done if you have the eye and the ambition to do so.