Getting into photography is an exciting time. Just like any other hobby, there's all of these new 'toys' to play with and learn about. The key word there is learn. I just want to take a brief minute to describe simply, what a prime lens is, and what a zoom lens is.
A prime lens is a fixed lens, that cannot zoom. That's really the simplicity of it. Due to the lens not having the extra elements needed that zoom lenses require, zoom lenses can be sharper overall in comparison.
A zoom lens is, again simply, a lens that is capable of zooming. These lenses (the nicer ones I should say) tend to be a lot heavier in weight. Most differences in clarity/sharpness between prime and zoom lenses in the upper tier of it all are negligible in today's advanced world. The lower the quality lens you go, the sharper the primes appear to be.
So the question you're probably asking yourself is: Which do I go with? The best choice depends on what you're primarily photographing, along with what your budget is.
I personally use all zoom lenses for 99% of what I photograph. The reason is, with me working with bands, focusing on editorial candid style photography, I want to be able to have the most flexibility in my equipment as possible. I don't want to have to interfere in the natural moment I'm seeing by having to get closer due to not having enough reach with my lens. The downside to using all zoom lenses is of course, my bag becomes much heavier over the course of a day's worth of shooting. Not to mention for quality glass in the zoom department, you'll be paying thousands of dollars (ranging from 1800-2400 per lens in my bag!) to feel content with those lenses.
Prime lenses are a phenomenal investment if your focus tends to be high end portraits, fashion, street photography, or just a light walk-around lens that will provide sharp results. You can find something like a 50mm f/1.8 for as low as about 180 dollars USD. The lenses do start to get pricy the bigger and faster you go, but you can get a nice setup of lenses for the price of one higher end zoom lens. That's a great deal for someone who doesn't need the range versatility but would prefer the sharpness and extra low light capability.
So really, as you can see, there's no "correct" answer to this question! Any lens you end up with will allow you to capture photos all the same. The difference becomes quality, speed, weight, and versatility more than anything.
What lenses do you prefer? What kind of photography do you tend to do the most of? Let me know in the comments below!