I regularly have clients that come to me asking what equipment they should invest in to take better photos. Many families now have an SLR camera (single lens reflex...one of those cameras where the lenses are screwed off/on and the mirror inside makes a click sound when you take a photo).
One of the best investments you can make after buying an SLR, is a good prime lens. Now, you may not know this, but I shoot with Canon. Typically photographers are either Canon or Nikon...and the equipment is not interchangeable. If you are a Canon user, I suggest you invest in a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. This lens runs around $120, and is fabulous. It is one the cheapest (if not THE cheapest) Canon lens you can buy. It is fabulous and you'll still find me using it on occasion.
Here are a few examples of photos I've taken with that lens.
It is also the first lens I would suggest that you purchase if you're looking to try to shoot in Manual Mode. It gives you a lot more flexibility than other lenses, for a fraction of the cost!
Nikon has a similar lens from what I've read, although I've personally never used it. Nikon 50mm f/1.8G would be the most comparable, running about $215.
I am a strong believer that it is the skill and expertise of the person behind the camera that makes a picture wonderful! Once you have that mastered, it is all about the lens. So many people want to upgrade to the newest camera body to enhance their photography...but wait! Wait until you've exhausted every possible learning opportunity for yourself, and then the 50mm lens...then consider investing in another camera body if you feel like you really need it!
Want to learn more about photography? Check out this post to read about how I teach one-on-one photography classes! They are just $35 for one person, or $55 for two people to come to the class! I'll explain why I love this lens, how to best use it, learn to shoot in manual mode and walk you through the specifics of what you hope to capture in your photos!