Going Pro in 2020 - What does it take to become a Professional Photographer
To give any kind of useful answer to the question, 'What do I need to get started as a professional photographer in today's market?' I would start by asking, "What type of photography are you interested in?'.
A young photojournalist applied to and was accepted into Magnum Photos, the premier press photo agency in the world, on the merits of a portfolio shot entirely with an iPhone.
So if you are interested in photojournalism you may not even need a camera anymore. I would say that in addition to a phone you would also need a business plan of some sort, insurance and for photojournalists, a passport.
If you are more interested in becoming a commercial and advertising photographer or a portraits and wedding photographer or a sports photographer you would be looking at spending some money on cameras with interchangeable lenses, a tripod, possibly some lighting equipment and maybe a background system.
Which exact tools you need depends on your own personal style and what types of jobs you plan to encounter.
As a commercial and advertising photographer I will usually take a selection of lenses, two zooms and a prime, covering from 16mm to 85mm in and 2 camera bodies in a shoulder bag and another large case full of lighting gear and some additional lenses that I only rarely use.
A wedding or events photographer would possibly bring pretty much the same amount of gear.
One young portrait photographer whose progress I have been following uses an original Canon 5D and just a few of the less expensive Canon prime lenses. Only recently he has started to use one inexpensive flash unit. His work is stunning and for me, he is really proving it's not necessary to have a mountain of expensive kit do get started.
In my new Apprenticeship program I will be helping people work out which tools to invest in first to maximize their chances of success but one thing I could say is that Canon, Nikon and Sony all make great mid-range zooms with Image Stabilization, 24-105 f/4 for Canon and Sony while Nikon's is a 24-120 f/4. Paired with a full frame camera any of those lenses would be a great stating point for a new professional photographer.
If you are interested in joining my Apprenticeship program please use the form on this page to contact me - http://www.aarongeis.com/associates