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12 tips to consider before buying your first dslr camera

how to choose a camera, choose a dslr, dslr, momtographer

Ready to upgrade to a DSLR? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the different options, here are some points to consider.

  1. Budget. Before considering (and falling in love with) the bells and whistles of a certain camera, set your budget. Keep in mind that you’ll need a camera case, lenses, batteries, and memory cards. 

  2. Portability. If you’re used to the ease and convenience of your cell phone camera, ask yourself: Will your DSLR collect dust while you continue to shoot with your phone because it’s waaay lighter and always with you? 

  3. Verify the release date. There’s NO worse feeling than buying version 4 … and then version 5 comes out two days later (and is 100 times better!). That can be so frustrating if the upgrade is something you would have really loved. If not, however, you may be able to save some $$$ on version 4 after version 5 hits the shelves.

  4. What about updates and upgrades? Will this camera allow for them? 

  5. Is there full manual mode? A whole new world of creativity awaits anyone who is brave enough to learn how to shoot manually. Double check that this camera will allow you to easily adjust your settings in manual mode.

  6. Lenses. Most DSLRs come with a kit lens. Some people, however, find they like working with a variety of lenses, which can be as expensive or more expensive than camera bodies. A 50 mm lens is my favorite for kids portraits. And Canon just so happens to offer one at a not-too-crazy price.

  7. When in doubt, rent. If you’re REALLY stumped and just aren’t sure which camera to choose, go online or to a local camera store and rent a camera for the weekend.

  8. Don’t be overly swayed by megapixels. Each generation of camera is offering higher amounts of megapixels. Truthfully, unless you’re a professional, plan on printing billboards, or LOOOOOOVE to crop in tight in your images, anything at 10 megapixels or above is going to be great. 

  9. Full frame or no? I love my full-frame camera. Is it necessary? Of course not. Does it have advantages? Of course… but it has drawbacks, too. Including price. Learn more about full-frame cameras here. (

  10. Try shooting with the camera to see if you like the size and weight. Does it feel good in your hands? Anything too heavy or too small to hold with a solid grip is going to lead to shaky shooting … which leads to blur. It doesn’t matter how much someone else loves a camera … if it doesn’t feel good in your hands, then it’s not for you! 

  11. What about video capability? If you know you’d like to shoot video, then make sure the camera you’re considering offers good video capabilities. 

  12. Check out reviews and feedbacks about specific cameras.

Happy shooting!


Kate Callahan is an on-location photographer who LOVES to capture authentic memories for families. She’s available for weddings, senior photos, child photo sessions, and family photography.  Kate works with clients throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC,  Delaware (and the tri-state area), and beyond. Visit her photography blog.

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