Every blogger and creative business owner need to be a photographer these days. It’s a must-have skill in this ever-connected, social media sharing world. We need to be able to generate on-brand photographs daily.
Why Invest in a Camera?
When I’m reviewing a potential client to see if we are a good fit, I assess the quality of their blog’s photography. Photography plays such a tremendous role in the site design. If the client has not already established a clear photography style, then I often recommend to them that they invest in one of the premade options and focus on generating better photography.
More importantly, brands look for collaborations with bloggers based on their photography (as well as site traffic). They want their products/sponsorships represented well, being able to generate high-quality photos is a must-have skill.
Stock photographs are a great temporary solution. I’ve used them for a while on my blog, but I noticed that I would see the same photos on repeat. I tried to avoid using general ones, but it all catches up! Stock photographs do not have that personalized, original touch that potential readers and customers are seeking.
Instead, for 2017, I’ve opted to create all my photography for the site. For the rebrand, I’m working with a photographer to get some photographs of myself as well.
What Camera Should I Get?
When selecting a DSLR Camera, you need to understand the difference between cropped-body cameras and full-frame cameras. Full-frame formats refer to the sensor size that is the same 35mm film format, the standard format since 1909. A crop sensor is smaller than a full-frame sensor; hence, the name “crop”. It has a smaller field of view.
What’s The Difference? A cropped body camera does not provide the same level of image quality as a full-frame DSLR camera, but it does offer significant advantages regarding cost. Full-frame cameras are more expensive to manufacture due to the full-frame sensor.
Let’s Compare Cameras! Camera cost will likely come down to your budget and dedication. If you are extremely new to DSLR photography, then I recommend keeping your budget low.
- Low-Budget: Canon Rebel ($350-$850) is a cropped body camera. It’s a great starting out camera for new photographers. I purchased the Canon Rebel T3 almost 4 years ago, and it has been an awesome resource for professional and personal use. (Early on in White Oak Creative, I use to take photographs for some bloggers). Now, I predominately use it for taking my onbrand photos of flat lays and lifestyle shots.
- Medium-Budget: If you’ve been playing around with digital photography for a while or you are very serious about your camera investment, then skip the cropped-body and go straight to full-frame with either a Camera 60D, 70D, or 80D ($850-$1100). This is the least expensive full-frame camera you are going to find. When it comes time to full-frame cameras, some people would argue that the lens you put on the camera is more important than the camera body. Food for thought.
- High-Budget: Canon 5D Mark III ($2500) or Canon 6D ($1500) are the top of the line camera bodies. The 6D is lighter, cheaper than the Mark III. Most professional photographers use the Mark III.
What Lens Should I Get?
Selecting the lens that you purchase depends on the type of photographs you will be taking (as well as your camera body).
Consider Your Subject Matter: Lens work best for particular types of uses, so definitely consider your photography needs. Do you take lots of overhead shots? Outfits? Recipes? You want to find a lens that is best for what you will use a majority of the time with it.
Be Mindful of Your Camera: If you have a cropped body camera, you want to purchase a lens with a shorter focal length, such as a 35mm. A 35mm lens on a cropped body camera will probably be the most used in your bag. If you have a full-frame camera like the Canon 5D Mark III, then a 50mm lens makes more sense.
Let’s Compare Lenses! You should have an idea of what you will be predominately shooting. You might be still iffy on your camera, especially if you are deciding between a cropped body and full-frame.
- 35mm is ideal for shooting larger spaces, such as interiors, outfits, and places. The wide-angle lens captures more. Recommended Lens: Canon 35mm 1.2f ($1500)
- 50mm is probably the most common lens used. This lens allows you to get the blurry background, depth of field that you see so often. It’s ideal for taking photographs from above and closer lifestyle shots. It’s the lens most people purchase when they are starting out! Just avoid the Canon 50mm 1.8f lens. Instead, buy the Canon 55mm 1.4f ($350), it’s a much better quality lens!
- 85mm is a perfect lens if details and small-scale product photography is your jam (i.e. jewelry shop owners). It’s ideal for detailed shots of small items. Recommended Lens: Canon 85mm 1.8f ($350).
If you are thinking about exploring new lenses, you can always rent lenses via lensrental.com. It’s a great way to see if a lens meets your photography needs.
What Gear Do I Need?
Now that you have spent a pretty penny on some quality photography equipment, you need some gear to protect and optimize your gear!
- SanDisk Ultra 64GB Memory Card ($35) is essential memory card for shooting in RAW with your cameras (need lots of space). I keep two memory cards in my camera bag just in case.
- Storing your camera and lens protects it from the elements. My favorite camera bag is The Claremont from Lo & Sons ($300); it’s so minimal and chic!
- Using a camera strap or wrist strap will protect your camera while shooting. ONA makes beautiful leather and waxed canvas straps ($80-$110). Personally, I just use a simple wrist strap ($8).
- Lens hood ($25) protect your lens and fight against glare.
- Tripods are game changers. They stabilize your camera and allow you the flexibility to shoot from different angles. I particularly like the Neewer Portable Camera TriPod ($120) because it is extremely flexible.
- Photoshop and Lightroom are premier photo editing software. Nothing is better. If you are investing in a camera, you might as well invest in the combo plan of Photoshop and Lightroom.
- Dropbox Storage for your photographs. I love using Dropbox to backup my photos. Not only does it make them accessible from anywhere, but it’s also secure!
Good camera equipment does not equal great photographs. You need to practice, practice, and practice shooting! I highly recommend the Harvard Photography course if you a new to DSLR photography; it’s free!More importantly, set aside some time each week for you to shoot! With anything, it’s always important to practice often.
You might also like Blogger’s Guide to Using Lightroom and Optimizing Images to Improve Your Blog’s Performance.
Want more Blog Design tutorials? Check out these posts on Blog Design! If you have any questions about this post, leave a comment below.
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