The question most often asked to a Professional Photographer !

I don’t know about other professional Photographers but it seems to me that the most often asked question i get is NOT, how much do you charge but “what type of camera would you recommend I buy”.  It is actually a bit of a ” How long is a piece of string ” type question with a multitude of answers.  I thought I would try and address some of the responses to that question here !

Firstly, I would usually respond to that question with 3 questions of my own, what type of photography do you do, where do the images end up and what is your budget.

Let me deal with what type of photography do you do.  I use Nikon, so let me get that out there ” straight off the bat “.  I use Nikon for no fantastic reason other than the first really decent camera i bought 30 years ago was a Nikon and all the lenses i bought since that time fit onto the various Nikon camera bodies that i have.   I am not against Canon its just that i see no reason to switch and have to buy a whole new kit of lenses.

I am a full time freelance Photographer in that, it is all i do to pay the rent each week and feed my family.  I use a Nikon D7000 ! Why do I use this particular camera, because it does everything i need it to do and it fits into my budget.  For all you equipment snobs out there, It is NOT the most expensive Nikon Camera on the market and it does NOT have the most Megapixels of any camera on the market. I shoot mostly Commercial Headshots, buildings, products & Weddings.  In most of these situations I have good control over the light and I have a good understanding of where the Images will be used. Why is this important, because in my business, right now anything more expensive with more mega pixels is just not needed.  That’s not to say that that won’t change in the future but that’s how it is right now.

What will you use your new camera for ?  If you tell me that you are going to turn Pro well then i would be asking what type 0f Images are you going to shoot.  If you said that you will be shooting commercial billboard advertising then i would probably suggest you get a full frame, 35 megapixel Nikon d4 or something of that ilk for about $8000.00 because if the Images are going to end up on billboards then you will need something with lots of megapixels so the images can be enlarged.  If you said that you will be shooting kids portraits in a studio then you could get a D7000 or something with a few less bells & whistles for a few less $$$$$.   If you tell me that you just want to be able to take really nice pictures of your kids for use on social media then you could get  any one of the point & shoot cameras on the market that range from $150.00 – $1000.00  In fact if you have an Iphone or anyone of the smartphone cameras out there, you have an amazing camera already.

If you want to get a bit more creative and step up to DSLR( DIGITAL SINGLE LENS REFLEX ) then be prepared to carry around lots of stuff.  I carry the very minimum I can to each shoot but I still carry a bag with 2 bodies, 2 flashes, 3 lenses, close up lens set, 4 sets of batteries, a tripod, a light stand & a laptop.  Now, you probably won’t want all that gear just to shoot photos of the kids playing at the park or the beach but a DSLR where you can change lenses are heavy, and the lenses for them are heavy so you will need a bag, that is heavy and if you want to use them to their full capacity which means in low light and those types of situations then you will need a tripod, which are also heavy !

You can see where this is going, I’m not that into the equipment side of things so I use what I need to get the job done and i believe the best camera is the one that you have with you.  The camera is just a tool you use to take great images.  If you see a really nice house, does anybody care what type of hammer the builder used ( maybe I’m showing my age, should i change hammer for nail gun ?) Does anybody care what type of brushes a painter used if he has painted an amazing picture ?

Affordability !  If you have $10,000 to spend on a top of the range Professional camera, I’m jealous.  If you buy one to take photos of the kids at the beach, its like buying a Ferrari to go food shopping in on a Saturday afternoon.    DSLR Prosumer cameras can range from $800.00 up to $2500 and there are so many choices.

I would suggest buying a decent camera for about $1000.00 and then investing the rest in a really good course of training.  Buying a camera for $2500 and then not knowing how to balance shutter speed, aperture, ISO or white balance is a waste, like buying a Ferrari that goes at 320klms per hour but driving in a 60 klm per hour zone.

After you tackle the digital Camera question you then have to think about computers & computer software. Top of the range cameras that take 35 megapixel images take up lots of space on your hard drive and you need lots of processing speed just to be able to view the images. More food for thought  and a whole new discussion for another day.


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