I get this question a whole bunch:

What camera (or kind of camera) would you recommend for a beginner photographer wanting to take pictures of my family?

I have a 15 month old girl and like you have explained in your blog, since her birth, my interest in photography has just increased exponentially. I want to document every moment!
I want to invest in a camera that will get the job done. I know those kind of digital SLR’s cost $1000 or more plus a lens. But there are just so many different kinds of cameras out there and different opinions about which ones you “need” as a beginner photographer. I don’t have thousands of dollars to invest.
I know that your daughter Elle has a Canon Rebel xsi and her pictures look amazing, but I also know that she edits them. Do you think that camera is a good camera for a starter like me who simply wants to take professional looking pictures at an affordable price?

I have a few recommendations for you and the others who have asked.

1) Really weigh the pros and cons of investing in a high-tech camera. Yes, it may sound dreamy to have a whiz-bang camera that will help you capture every moment, but to be honest, lugging around a larger SLR camera can be a pain. Plus, you have to be willing to invest some time into learning how to really utilize all the great things it can do. There is a steep learning curve and I have several friends who have run out and purchased a newfangled camera only to find that it’s more work than they anticipated. So it sits in their closet and gathers dust while they stick to their point-and-shoots.

And there is nothing wrong with point-and-shoot cameras. They are awesome and they fit right in your purse so you can have them with you any time you see some beautiful light.  This is the one I have in my purse at all times: Canon PowerShot ELPH 110  I love that it will take video footage too.

But, if you are serious about making that investment of time and money, you’re in for the time of your life because as far as I’m concerned, photography is one of the best hobbies you can have 🙂

2) Remember that the lenses you use make a huge difference in the clarity of your photos. My favorite starter lens is a 50mm 1.8 lens
lens because they are super affordable and will make for great pictures. (I swear I’ve said some of this before…sorry if I’m redundant…)

3) My personal opinion is that Nikon and Canon cameras are neck and neck and completely comparable. Elle’s Canon Rebel xsi is such a perfect starter SLR (just put a 50mm 1.8 lens on it and you’re good to go). I know Nikon has some great starter cameras as well. SLR technology changes all the time and there are so many reviews full of information on the internet to help you with your decision.

4) No matter what camera you decide on, take a photoshop or Lightroom class! I think post-editing on digital photography is a must. Much more on that back here which answers this question as well:

I was wanting to buy a really good PhotoShop program but there are so many options out there now, I have no idea what is best. What do YOU use to get your pictures so amazing? And do you use anything other than PhotoShop? I have such a passion for photography, but have no practice or professionalism whatsoever! Would love to though, someday. What would you suggest I invest in?

Again, click here for more about what I do with that.

Good luck and I wish you many, many years of harnessing beautiful light and capturing the moments that make up the beautiful tapestry of life as we know it…the carefully positioned, posed shots as well as the scraggly-haired, dirty-face ones that you’ll want to remember forever.

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  1. I look so forward to checking your blog each day! Thank you for taking the time to update it often! I have a fun question…. Has Elle ever been approached to model? I wouldn't believe it if she hasn't! ALL of your kids are just gorgeous!! Happy Weekend!!

  2. Thank you so much for the recommendations! Can you recommend any good photography books for someone like me who wants to know the basics…..like what aperture, zoom, and ISO mean? I would love to start reading up on some photography terms before I invest in a camera!

  3. Thanks so much for the info! I've just bought my first separate lens as a belated Christmas gift to myself after using the kit lens since I got the camera in May. I bought a 50mm 1.8 and can't wait to try it out now after what you've just said!

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