Right off the bat, let me just start off by confessing that when I first started taking photography seriously this year, I was sooo fixated on saving up to invest in top of the line gear (even though it would've buried me in a deep money pit). I wanted the best camera body, the biggest and best lenses on the market, and a whole bunch of those strobe lights that the pros use. But when the total tab of everything I wanted was added up, I realized that the gear could literally pay for one semester at USC…

That honestly was a "smack in the face" moment for me and I realized I had to be more practical and invest in gear that was more in my range. With all my money saved up, I decided to invest in some gear that I know would last me a very long time and would enable me to do a variety of things. So here are some of my tips for you talented photographers out there who may be interested in taking the next step to invest some quality photography gear:

Camera: BODY

This is the area of photography where people get messed up. So many people have a tendency and desire to believe that the latest and most expensive camera bodies have the capability of producing some Vogue quality images with an editorial flare to them. Moreover, what gets people really messed up is when brands flex the number of Megapixels that their camera bodies offer (i.e., 18MP, 24MP, 42MP, etc.) From anyone's perspective, the more Megapixels, the better the camera and image quality is right? Not necessarily. In my opinion, all you need is at least 18MP. Bottom line, don't fall for those Best Buy display traps…

Camera: LENS

Ohhhhhh boy, I can't even stress how important this area is— so many professionals will tell you nowadays to prioritize the "lens and not the body", which is absolutely true. Quality glass makes better-quality images and let's be real— camera bodies (regardless of price range) all have the capability to capture an image in most situations. Granted, the lens is super important and I would recommend investing in either a 50mm f1.8 lens to start off. Not only is this actually on the cheaper side in terms of lens options, but it is a great lens to practice with considering how it forces you to use your feet to zoom and play around with composition. In essence, I genuinely believe that the 50mm will constantly encourage you to exercise your creativity. You'll be very surprised on the results!

So there you have it, that is one topic that is of GREAT importance in the photography world and speaking from experience, I think more and more people ought to know about it too. Don't get me wrong, iPhones have amazing camera lenses attached to them and I am always amazed on how Apple produced such an amazing camera on their phones. There will be a point in our lives where we will find ourselves pressured to invest in those fancy DSLRs, so in anticipation of that, my hope is that this article will educate and give you the confidence to make your selection! Now when you head out to Best Buy, you can actually educate some of those Best Buy employees working at the camera station!