Photography Tip of the Day: Which camera should I buy?

Photography Tip of the Day: Which camera should I buy?


As a professional, full-time photographer I get this questions all the time. “You take great pictures, what kind of camera do you use, and what type of camera can I buy to help me take those photos?” Here’s my two-cents on this:

Do you want to shoot like this? (get ready for the good news, and the “not so good” news?

emily shadow  Truck photo

emily boat emily scarf

The good news….yes you can!! These were taken with an iPhone!!

What’s the bad news? In order to take great photos it doesn’t have much to do with the actual camera but more with the photographer’s skill and expertise. Bottom line is that you need to learn photography basics and, more importantly…lighting. (But, I’ll post about that later. I tell my clients and students that 75% of photography to me is in the lighting. Without it, you have nothing; with it you can have a masterpiece. The other 25% is camera knowledge, operation, and the ability to “see things differently”…which can be learned.)

So, the question goes beyond “what camera should I buy” or “what is the best camera to buy” as you need to know that a camera is just a device. Having a nicer camera will definitely give you more options as a photographer. For example, in a very low light scenario, having a camera that has a very high ISO setting is great, so it can also make your job as a photographer easier. BUT, and that’s a big BUT, it will not make you a better photographer. Just like having the most expensive pen and highest quality paper won’t make you a better author.

Learning the camera basics and lighting are beyond this post, but I can share my ideas on some cameras that may work for you.

POINT & SHOOT CAMERAS: (here are some in the $75-$250 range)

These little suckers are great. Lightweight, cute little pocket cameras that have the ability to shoot great JPEGs (Not RAW) pictures, (and some even take great video). You can not change out the lenses. But picture quality is good, and some even have a 10x zoom. (and some are even waterproof!)

The Canon Powershots , SONY Point and Shoots, Fuji Point and Shoots & Olympus P&S’s

(I personally have an Olympus  point and shoot that is waterproof and took this amazing photo!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (above…I was in the water with her and camera was 1/2 in and 1/2 out.)


OK, let’s step it up a notch to the DSLR’s!

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) – DSLR is an enthusiast level full-sized DSLR systems with advanced functionality and removable lenses. Yay!! You can start buying lenses!! You will begin to feel these in your wallets…ranges around $300-$600 for a kit. (camera, lenses and accessories…look for bundles!)

The CANON Rebels (my faves), followed by the NIKON Family.


THE BIG LEAGUES: (when you’re ready to go pro!) Get ready to add the word “thousands” to your vocabulary…and that’s just for the camera body. 🙂  (Look to spend $3,000 – $10,000 on a camera body and some lenses) (I won’t even touch on the $20,ooo+ Hasselblad)

Some examples of the Advanced DSLR’s: The Canon 6D , The NIKON D800, and the Canon 5D Mark III (my BABY!!) You can go to my business website to see my work using the Canon 5D Mark II and III. Elaine Zelker Photography   It took me a few years to get this camera. Take your time, invest when you can…and when you are ready.


Some things to ask yourself:




You can go to SAM’s, BJ’s or Costco and get a great Bundle DSLR Camera, but will you utilize it to it’s fullest potential, and do you need that much camera? So for some, the advanced point and shoot systems work just fine. But, if you are truly interested in doing photography beyond a hobby…go with the advanced Point and Shoot or if money allows one of the Canon Rebels (the bundle is great!). (I’m not a sponsor of Canon, but like I said in my other post, I’m a Canon-girl!!)

I know I didn’t cover every make and model and every scenario, but I hope this helps a bit. 🙂

Check back for tips and tutorials coming soon!











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