It’s one of the coolest, yet one of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger, right?
You see all these beautiful images on your favorite blogs, on Pinterest, Instagram–everywhere you look. But how do you re-create them for yourself?
I don’t have to tell you that photography is one of the most important things to focus on when building your blog. But where do you begin? What equipment do you buy? Is it possible to do on a budget? We’re talking about ALL that and more today, lady!
First thing’s first–let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Do you need an expensive DSLR camera? Can you get away with taking photos on your iPhone?
The answer is… *ripping off band-aid*…
Yes, you need one. And no, there is no substitute.
This might be a harsh reality for you, because DSLR cameras can be expensive, but let’s talk about that for a second.
Why investing in a camera is investing in yourself
Photography equipment costs the dollars. We know this. But what doesn’t? I want you to get real with yourself for a second. What endeavor have you ever come across hasn’t required some investment upfront? Oh, the excuses we’ve heard.
“I just started out, I don’t want to invest that much in something that’s just a hobby!”
“I don’t want to spend a bunch of money when I’m not making any money yet in return!”
Really? How much have you spent on ugly bridesmaid dresses in your life that you’ll never wear again? How much do you spend eating out to dinner on a monthly basis? How much have you spent on expensive, cute workout clothes that don’t see the light of day as often as you’d care to admit?
My point is that everything worth doing costs money, even hobbies! A camera is something you’re going to use in so many other areas of your life–not just blogging. Travel, capturing special moments with your family, being able to photograph your best friend’s engagement–whatever.
Hell, your parents probably spent that much on your Little League baseball when you were a kid, and I’m pretty sure they knew your baseball career was going nowhere. But they knew that investing in you and your personal development as a human would always have a high ROI.
You with me?
Cool, now that you’re on board, let’s talk about types of cameras!
Best Cameras for Bloggers
A bit of advice: Before we jump into cameras, there’s a bit of advice that applies whenever you’re buying a new camera. Make sure to purchase the body only. Why? Because the lens that comes with your camera is total garbage and you don’t need to be waisting money on that! Save that money to put toward a better lens, which we’ll get to in a second!
Additionally, Blair and I have experience exclusively with Canons. While I’ve never shot with a Nikon, I do have friends that started out with Nikons, all who have now converted to Canon. We are huge fans of Canon, but if you prefer a Nikon, that’s totally ok too. You can typically google the Nikon equivalent of a Canon model, and find a pretty close comparison.
Now, let’s jump into cameras!
Low Budget: Canon Rebel ($350-$850)
Blair and I both started out shooting with Rebels. They really are fantastic little cameras, and their price point is great for those just starting out who don’t want to invest a ton of money upfront.
The Rebel comes in many different models–so make sure to do your research to figure out which is best for you! The latest model is obviously the best with the latest technology, but you might find that you’re OK with one that’s a bit older in exchange for a price cut. You can also find really good deals on “open box” models on Adorama–which essentially means the box has some wear and tear, but the inside is all original packaging with Canon’s 1 year warranty.
Medium Budget:Canon 60D, 70D or 80D ($999-$1200)
We both then upgraded to a Canon 60D. (Blair got hers first, and then I was like YEP. NEED THIS.) This model is now discontinued but is still available on Amazon, however, personally, I’d spend the extra few bucks to get the 70D.
The 60D model evolved into the 70D a couple years back, which then evolved into the 80D. (Note, we haven’t shot with the latter two models personally.)
Think of these cameras as a pretty big step up from a Rebel, but certainly not “crazy expensive” cameras by any means. What are the differences between these and the Rebel?
Higher, better ISO (meaning you’ll be able to shoot in darker lighting with less graininess), more focal points (meaning you’ll get better automatic focusing), a faster shutter, and built-in wifi, which is awesome for quickly sending photos to your iPhone if you want to Instagram on the fly!
A note on crop sensor vs full-frame cameras: Canon’s lower-tier, more affordable cameras have crop sensors. This essentially means that you can fit less in your shot than you can with a full-frame, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing–as they can give you some great detail, and the prices are WAYYY better.
If you’re a blogger who is shooting outfits, food, or things that generally require more up close shots, you likely don’t need a full frame camera. Where you might outgrow it, however, is if you’re doing interior shots, or any shoots that really require wide angles–as crop sensors really don’t deliver here.
Moving into our new house made me quickly realize I’m ready for an upgrade–shooting interiors is extremely challenging on crop sensor cameras, and several areas of my house are really dark–meaning I need a camera with better ISO capabilities to be able to photograph, say, Neal’s dark office. Not to mention, the image quality of Canon’s full-frame cameras are truly unparalleled.
Highest Budget: Canon 6D ($1500) and Canon 5D Mark III ($2,500)
Update: We’ve both upgraded to the 6D, which has been LIFE. CHANGING. It is essentially the smaller, lighter weight, less expensive version of the Mark III (below). To keep things brief, there’s about a 5% difference in features, but a massive difference in price. As soon as Blair shot with mine, she bought one, and so did our best friend Shaheen, haha! (That’s how great it is, guys!)
The Mark III’s are typically what professional photographers shoot with, but if you’re using it for your blog alone, I think the 6D would be all you need. If you want to know the biggest differences, this article is really useful.
Again though, for beginning purposes, you really don’t need the full-frame just yet! (But, I mean, if you have the money, and are willing to learn how to use it–by all means, go for it!)
Best Camera Lenses for Bloggers
When it comes to lenses, Canon, not surprisingly, has a wide variety at different price points–but one thing is for sure, that you should be investing in a “prime” lens.
Prime lenses are fixed length, meaning they don’t have a zoom. They have a fixed maximum aperture and fixed focal length, which to make a long story short, results in more professional, sharper photos with beautiful blurry backgrounds! (More on how to get a blurry background in your photos here.) They’re also much lighter, so it makes your camera easier to haul around with you.
It’s also important to know that many Canon lenses have an “L series” version and an non-“L series” version. You can think of “L series” lenses as the cream of the crop when it comes to camera lenses–and the reason so many people gravitate toward Canon. That’s not to say that “non L series” lenses aren’t good–Blair and I both shoot with non L-series lenses, so if you’re just starting out, don’t worry about that! (Just making sure you had all your facts straight!)
Here are our favorite lenses:
50mm–”the nifty fifty”
The “50” is a lens that everyone should have in their camera bag. It comes in several different varieties–ranging from very affordable to expensive.
For those first starting out, who don’t want to spend a ton of cash, I would highly recommend the f/1.8. It will only set you back around $150 and is a big difference between that and the lens your camera comes with. This will allow you to get that pretty, blurred background! (AKA “depth of field” or “bokeh.”) There is a newer version that came out recently, so make sure you’re going for the “STM” version, which is the new and improved kind!
One downside of the 50mm lens if you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera, is that it can be very challenging to photograph groups of people, entire rooms, or a wide angle of any kind, really.
For full-frame users, thef/1.2L series lenscannot be beat, and is Canon’s fastest All of my photographer friends say this is hands-down their favorite lens. However, be warned, it comes at a price–$1,200.
One to avoid, though, is the “shifty fifty.” The f/1.4 version isn’t one I’ve ever shot with personally, but it gets consistently poor reviews across the board.
The 35mm f/2 lens is my personal favorite right now, and what I shoot with most often. (This is the case for Blair as well.) I found that I was having quite a bit of trouble with the cropped factor of my crop-sensor x 50mm, which was alleviated with the 35mm. It’s allows you to shoot at much wider angles than you would with the 50mm, and churns out consistently pretty photos! If you’re looking for a big step up, the 35mm f/1.4 L series also gets fantastic reviews! Update: A year later, this is still the only lens we ever use. Also, I am convinced it is more flattering for outfit photos because the angle is wider. (Ahem, it just makes you look taller and thinner, just saying.)
BUT. Remember. Just because you have a nice camera doesn’t mean your photos are necessarily going to be better. If you don’t know how to work your settings, you aren’t going to have great photos no matter what! You will not be able to take beautiful photos right out of the box no matter which camera you choose.
The above is really all you need, but there are some other items that have come in handy as well for us over the years:
Lens hoods: Lens hoods offer protection for your lens and fight against sun glare, and can also result in photos with higher contrast and saturation.
A cute camera bag:The Claremont cross-body camera bag from Lo & Sons is our favorite! It looks like chic leather purse but fits all of your camera essentials.
Priority–what do you focus on first?
This is a tough question, because an expensive lens on a crappy camera won’t result in great images, but neither will an expensive camera with a crappy lens!
Here’s what I will say–buy the best camera your budget will allow. I know plenty of bloggers who shoot with nicer cameras and the affordable 50mm 1/8 lens, and they have really good photos! You could also look into purchasing refurbished models, which will save you some money. (Just make sure to read the fine print!)
The biggest issue, we often find, is that many bloggers think they need better equipment, when in reality, they just need better knowledge on how to use their cameras and how to edit their photos properly! Which brings me to my next point…
Great equipment doesn’t equal perfect photos!
You have to know how to use your equipment in order to get the photos that you like! Immerse yourself in learning the art of photography. Learn how to shoot in manual mode–understand how ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture work together, and master editing in Lightroom.
If you have any of the above equipment, but still don’t have the photos you want, focus first on perfecting your photography skills with what you have before you go out and upgrade!
Not sure where to start? We have a big ole photography section of BFK that you can peruse right over here.
Whew! That was a ton of info. Which camera and lens is best for you? Click the graphic below to download our DSLR for Bloggers flow chart to find out!
Want more photography tips? Check out “How to Create a Unique Image Look,” “Shooting In RAW & Why You Need Lightroom” “Lightroom Editing 101“32
Best Cameras and Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017
Great photography is a must for any successful fashion blogs. With so many options available in today’s market, it’s hard to decide what cameras and lenses you should get for your fashion blog. Today, I want to share a dummy guide to picking the best cameras and lenses for a fashion blog in 2017. I will explain various options based on my experience and provide picture examples to illustrate the differences.
Cameras recommended for fashion blogs in this post:
Lenses recommended for fashion blogs in this post:
I have also used:
I own a Sony Alpha a7ii and a Sony 35mm f1.4, and I shoot most of my blog pictures with this combo.
The Best Point-and-Shoot Camera for Fashion Blogs in 2017
When you are shooting photos for a fashion blog, the number one feature you need is the ability to shoot in the aperture mode. To achieve a blurry background, you usually need a DSLR. However, in 2017, you can use a point-and-shoot camera to achieve a nice bokeh too, aka a blurry background.
1. Sony Cybershot RX100 V
If you don’t want to invest more than US$1000 in cameras and lenses for your fashion blog, Sony Cybershot RX100 V will be one to consider. Compact and multi-functional, this Sony Cybershot RX100 V is a point-and-shoot camera perfect for any serious fashion bloggers.
I love Sony Cybershot RX100V for fashion blogs due to many reasons:
- Compact – This is the smallest camera you can find in 2017 that lets you shoot in the aperture mode. Weighing at just 0.6 pounds, this tiny Sony cybershot RX100V trumps all other DSLR’s that typically weigh about 4-5 pounds.
- All-in-one lens – The built-in lens is suitable for both portrait and landscape shots. With a 24-70mm focal length, you can zoom in to snap a detailed shot and zoom out to get a good landscape shot. This lens also allows you to shoot at f1.8 to get a nice blurry background.
- Aperture mode and Shutter-speed mode – Usually, point-and-shoot cameras don’t come with aperture mode or shutter-speed mode. This difference is the main reason why people usually opt for a DSLR for fashion blogs. However, in 2017, some point-and-shoot cameras let you shoot in aperture mode to achieve a blurry background.
- RAW or JPEG – If you are going to edit your photos later, it’s very important to shoot your images in RAW. This is because RAW image format captures more details and data compared to JPEG. This point-and-shoot camera from Sony lets you shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats.
Here are some pictures I shot with a Sony Cybershot RX100V:
2. Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera (High End)
If I were to choose an all-in-one camera, I would recommend this Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera. Even though it is compact, it carries a full frame sensor and performs just like a high-end DSLR. Additionally, it also comes with a 35mm f2 lens, making it perfect for both landscape and portrait. Also, this camera shoots HD 1080i videos in case you have a youtube chanel. I think this camera is not only perfect for blogging but also for vlogging.
However, if you opt for flexibility over convenience, then you should consider a DSLR because you can interchange lenses. Read below!
The Best DSLR Camera for Fashion Blogs in 2017
When I was shopping for a DSLC camera for my fashion blog, I gravitated toward mirrorless and full-frame camera bodies.
What does ‘mirrorless’ mean?
Mirrorless DSLR camera bodies are less bulky and more compact than traditional DSLR camera bodies.
What does ‘full-frame’ mean?
“Full frame” refers to the camera’s sensor size. Typically, you are choosing between a crop sensor (APS-C) and a full frame sensor. The No.1 reasons photographers prefer a full frame sensor because of the higher resolution and the higher quality images.
Additionally, a full-frame sensor allows you to get more background. If I stand at the same location to shoot this picture using the same lens, I will get more background using a full-frame camera body compared to using a APS-C camera body:
With that being said, here are my camera recommendations for fashion blogs in 2017:
1. Sony Alpha a7ii (Mid Ranged)
I take majority of my fashion blog pictures using a Sony Alpha a7ii. I chose this camera mainly for two features that other cameras cannot offer. These two features help me take sharper pictures.
Here are some pictures I shot with a Sony Alpha a7ii:
If you do a lot of event shooting such as fashion shows and wedding, Sony A9 is probably the best bet for your fashion blog. Because of the higher processing power and the better auto-focusing capability, this Sony A9 can do continuous shooting very well. Additionally, this camera is also very good for low-light shooting (night time shooting) and sport shooting as well. Personally, I don’t have a YouTube chanel. However, if you care about making a high quality video, Sony A9 offers 4K!
Best Camera Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017
Before diving in, you need to understand these two technical terms about lenses:
The focal length of a lens ranges from 16mm to 300mm+. Typically, the smaller the number is, the more background the lens can capture in a picture. In other words, you have to stand way further to get a full body picture with a 85mm lens than with a 35mm lens.
When choosing lenses for your fashion blog, make sure to pick a lens with a minimum focal length of 35mm. This is because a focal length shorter than 35mm will create distortion and make your body look disproportional.
However, if your camera body has a crop sensor, you need a shorter focal length to achieve the same result. For example, a 35mm lens on a crop sensor camera is equivalent to a 50mm lens on a full frame camera.
A prime lens has only one focal length, while a non-prime lens has a range of focal lengths. Personally, I only looked into prime lenses when I was shopping for my fashion blog because of higher quality images. However, if you are a travel blogger and want a flexible lens for both landscapes and portraits, then a non-prime lens is a good option because it lets you zoom in and out.
To achieve a nice blurry background in all your fashion blog’s photos, you need a small f-stop. I recommend you to look for a f-stop that’s lower than f 2.0.
I bought a Sony 35mm f1.4 prime lens because the small f-stop gives a nice bokeh, while the 35 mm is suitable for both landscapes and portraits. If you are only getting one prime lens, I highly recommend getting this lens.
Picture Examples with Various Lenses
Shopping for lenses can be confusing. To be honest with you, when I shopped for camera lenses for my fashion blog, I researched a lot. But after reading so many articles, it was still difficult for me to grasp all the concept until I actually used and tried out all the different lenses. To help you decide which lense to get, here are some picture examples.
When I shot this picture, the photographer stood 3 feet away from me to achieve this full body image. However, if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, you will have to stand 5 feet away to get the same photo.
This lens has a f-stop of 1.4 and gives me a nice blurry background. However, as the focal length increases, the same f-stop will give you an even blurrier background. Don’t know what I meant? Let’s see another example:
I shot this picture with a 85mm f1.4 lens. Notice the difference? The blurry background with this lens appeared to be much smoother and buttery compared to the 35mm f1.4 lens. However, standing at 3 ft. away from me, the photography was only able to get my upper body.
If you are only getting one lens for your fashion blog, I do not recommend a 85mm lens because you have to stand so far away in order to get a full body shot.
So what about 50mm? I think either 35 or 50mm will work for fashion blogs. However, you lose the flexibility to shoot any landscape photos if you only own a 50mm lens.
This is a picture I took using a Nikon 50mm F18 on a Nikon D80. The blur was buttery, however, the photography had to stand 7 ft away from me to achieve this effect.
I think 24mm f1.8 can make a good portrait lens if you know how to correct distortions. However, a 24mm lens is good for landscape photos, and I will not recommend this lens for fashion blogs.
Here are some pictures taken using Sony 24mm f1.8:
As you can see, these pictures accentuated the background more than the details of my outfits. If you have money to spare, I will say go for a 50mm f1.8 and a 24mm f1.8 camera lens combo for your fashion blog. But if you are investing in only one camera lens, I will suggest you to get a 35mm f1.4 or a 35mm 1.8 camera lens.
These are my recommended cameras and lenses for fashion blogs in 2017. I hope you find this post helpful! If you have any questions, please comment below!
Smile and style on!