So you’ve decided that you want to start doing photography. Maybe you dream of becoming a newborn or portrait photographer. You see all those cute babies and you’re like, ah, I can do this! You also have this burning question. Where do I start? What camera do I buy? What lens? How do I do it?
In part one of this series, we will look at selecting your first camera and lens. One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is, do I want this as a hobby, or do I want to pursue this as a business? Starting photography whether it be a hobby or a business can be expensive. Knowing what your intentions are both short and long term can help you decide exactly how much you’re going to invest.
For those of you who are new around here, I’m Victoria from Lifetime Story Photography. I have been running my successful studio out of my home for the last three years. My advice, start your photography journey as a hobby, take time to fall in love with the craft and then once you feel like you have found your stride, try adding the pressure of running a business.
I suggest buying the best camera body and lenses that you can afford. This will set you up for the long term. This will set you in good stead and save you money down the line.
Choosing Your First Camera Equipment
I think by far choosing your first camera has to be the most exciting part of the journey. Taking time to research what equipment suits your purpose and make the right choice for you. I personally shoot with Canon. Let me preface by saying that I personally don’t think you can beat their glass. The cameras referenced in this guide will lean heavily towards Canon. That being said Nikon and Sony have some amazing bodies in their range as well.
When I say buy a good camera body, that doesn’t mean you have to spend $10k. There are some amazing full-frame cameras that will fit into most budgets. Starting at the 6D Mark II a great entry-level full-frame camera, right on through to the 1DX II which will set you back around 8K. My first camera cost me a little over six thousand dollars. I knew that it was a solid investment and would last me for many years. I decided to buy the Canon 5D Mark III. It was the industry professional standard at the time and I still use that camera today. Technology has come a long way since I started.
There are some really exciting new camera bodies on the market. Especially with the introduction of the new mirrorless systems first introduced by Sony. Canon and Nikon have now joined the race and it has become a really competitive industry. One day I will make the leap but for now, my original body is still doing everything I could wish for.
Selecting The Perfect Lens
If you want outstanding image quality investing in good quality lenses is a must. Whilst the camera and lens go hand in hand you could definitely argue that the lens is more important in image quality. My go-to lens is the Canon 24-70mm II f2.8 L series. I choose this lens as it allows me to safely take over headshots without compromising the ability to shoot portraits without distortion. The aperture on this lens allows me to get beautiful shallow depth of field. Other great options for studio portraits are the 35mm or 50mm lenses or if you have a new mirrorless system the new 28-70 f2 sounds really exciting to me. If you are planning to shoot portraits on location 3 of my favourite lenses are the 135mm, 70-200mm or the big boy 200mm at a whopping $6k (if you’re buying one of those, I’ll have one too please)
Things to consider when selecting your lens equipment is the aperture which will control your depth of field and how much light you can let into the camera. The focal length is important as well you need to be able to fit your subject in the frame with as minimal distortion as possible. Then there’s image stabilization which is always a good thing!
Look out for our Equipment part 2 where we will discuss all things lighting