Pro Photography Tips | buying the right camera
Photo answers- which camera should I buy?
How to choose a camera
Several years ago - long before I decided to pursue pro photography - the only cameras I had experience with were Brownies, Polaroids (anyone remember these?), and a variety of disposable cameras that offered different film speeds.
That was then - this is now. Today I work full time as a writer and photographer and I'm a Nikon DSLR junkie.
Why did I choose Nikon? Because I was once told by a successful pro photographer to choose either Nikon or Cannon. I looked at both and liked some of the reviews from Nikon over Cannon.
Which brand to buy should be your first decision. Choosing a camera, especially one that has interchangeable lenses, will be one of the most important choices you make.
Because the camera body is the least of your investment. The lenses will be where you spend the bulk of your camera budget once you get beyond inexpensive compacts.
Which camera should I buy?
OK, let's talk about why you want to buy a camera.
If you want a camera that will take nice pictures of your family and you never plan on making a living as a photographer, there are a lot of great choices available to you.
If this describes you, the driving force behind your decision will probably be your budget. You can get a lot of great point-and-shoot type cameras for under $300.
At the lower end of the budget, you will find that cameras won't last very long. They often have cheap plastic parts that wear out quickly (gears, shutter, buttons). At the upper end, you can get decent cameras that could last for years.
The next step up from a compact point-and-shoot are more serious gear that allow photographers to get artsy with their work.
One of these cameras that I like is Nikon's D3100 for around $500. The nice things about this camera are the great photos you get by using the automatic settings for different scenarios and the high resolution that allows for great wall art.
Close up? Action shots? Night time? All the settings are there. I would recommend this camera to anyone who wants to practice composition and playing with light without having to know about f-stops and what-not. This is also a nice camera to help you learn some pro photography skills (if that is the direction you are heading).
Personally, if all I wanted were nice photos of the family, most smart phones will do. Skip dual hardware and just use your smart phone. Just make sure to dump the photos often. Pictures take up a lot of your storage space.
Recap- Which camera should I buy?
If you want a nice compact camera for your family photos, anything over $150 will be good for you. Or you can use your smart phone.
If you want more capabilities and are thinking about going pro, the Nikon 3100 (or other similar brand offering) will be good. Some of the lenses you collect now can carry on with you when you go pro.
Warning: When you buy a lens make sure it is compatible with your camera. For the Nikon D3100 here is the compatibility chart.
Pro Photographer gig
What's your photography question?
When I started out as a pro photographer, I had a bazillion questions. I didn't go to school. I didn't earn a degree in photography ...at least not from a traditional photography school. I learned by reading EVERYTHING I could. I watched videos. I asked questions in forums. I practiced and made lots of mistakes. One of these times I will tell you about my very first fashion shoot in San Francisco.
So what's your photography question? If I can help you, I will. Just ask.
Until next post...happy shooting!
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