You’ve decided you want to get a better camera. Your cell phone just isn’t cutting it.  As a Christiansburg, VA photographer, I get asked a lot “What camera should I buy?”

My response is usually a series of questions that you need to consider before I can make a recommendation.

It’s important to have these realizations before you make your purchase because if not, you’ll just have a camera collecting dust on the shelf and that’s what we want to avoid.

Let’s go over a few of the most popular responses I give. After you make your decision, I hope your next search of “photography classes near me” will lead you right to my door. You’ll need help and inspiration to use your camera BEFORE you get frustrated. Unfortunately, those great photos will not happen straight out of the box and you’ll need a little help to get started.

What Should You Ask Before You Buy

Why do you want a better camera?

Do you want to take photos of your kids without the blurriness that happens in low light? Are you hoping to start your own photography business?  Do you need photos for your business?

Do you want to be able to have different lenses for different situations? Do you plan to travel with it and you’re hoping for something more compact? How much do you want to invest?

MOST IMPORTANTLY, how much effort are you willing to put into learning about your camera?

I want to take better photos of my family and I don’t want anything bulky.

If this is you and you don’t want the added weight of a larger camera, my suggestion is the Canon G series.  There are several options in the category – you don’t have to get the newest model and it may depend on how much you want to invest. But if you just want a better camera than your phone (thus a better print quality), this model is for you. It would be great for travel too.

Now don’t let the automatic fool you. You still need to learn what goes into taking a good photo to avoid mistakes with your photo.  There will be a learning curve with any camera you choose.

I want to be able to have different lenses, but I am still looking for a smaller camera.

For you, I would recommend a mirrorless camera.  They have the advantage of being lighter and more compact than the larger DSLR cameras that you’re used to seeing AND you can still change out the lenses for your preferences. The lens choices are growing and growing as well.

I would recommend the Sony Alpha a6000 if you’re just starting out. It’s a great camera and has a more affordable price than some others. You can start easily with the kit lenses, but there is room to grow. And again, it’s important to have a foundation of good photography skills to make it work.

This camera would be a great choice for traveling as well as outdoor sports and some indoor.

I want to be able to take photos in lower light (think “my kids on stage or indoor sports or at home) and grow my skills.

If you fall into this category, I suggest you start with the big dog! You should start with a Canon Rebel. Again, you don’t have to get the biggest and the newest. One of the older models would be just fine. When you gain control of these cameras, they really can do it all.

Starting with the kit lens will be just fine, but if you know that you’re hoping to get new lenses quickly, I would suggest to just purchase the body of the camera and then a couple of quality lenses.

What lenses can I get?

A nice budget friendly lens with a lot of versatility is the Tamron 28-70mm. You could keep that on your camera at all times and easily do it all and it’s also nice for traveling or just around the house.

Of course, you always want to start out with a good 50mm prime lens and that gives you those beautiful creamy backgrounds, so if that’s something you want then you have to snag this lens. It’s definitely the best bang for your buck.

{Side note for all you Nikon (or other brands) fans, you’ll notice that I mainly spoke of Canon models and that’s because it’s what I know. This is only my opinion and of course, if you’re taking my suggestions, I want to be better able to serve you in the future and I have found these cameras to be very user-friendly and I know you can’t go wrong with these purchases.}

Let’s start working on those photography skills right now!

Once you learn the basics of photography, half the battle is over.  And you can do that with just your cell phone! Curious to learn how?

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