Last week Julia talked about why it's important to take your own photos for a fashion blogger. In addition to your writing, photos can really help develop a blog's voice and make it stand out from every other blog that's out there. Photography can also be fun! And with so many fantastic blogging cameras available now, there's no reason not to dive in.
When I started blogging in 2007, it was the norm to use your digital camera, or your webcam to take photos. It was also the norm for images to be blurry, and taken in the mirror. The blog world has evolved. Taking good photos is important and the first thing you'll need is a decent camera.
Just like Air Jordans aren't going to make you into a great basket ball player, a good camera isn't going to make you a great photographer. My photographer friends can take beautiful photos with cheap disposable cameras, even the crappiest flip phone camera phone you can find. However, they also put in the time to learn the craft of photography. They understand composition, light, and how to use a camera….that's another post. However my quick tip is just to start snapping, try all the settings, experiment. Fear and over-thinking are the biggest enemies to learning how to take pictures.
…my quick tip is just to start snapping. Try all the settings. Experiment. Fear and over-thinking are the biggest enemies to learning how to take great pictures.
When choosing to invest in a camera, you don't have to get the top of the line, but if you're planning on taking your photos seriously, invest in a SLR (my first SLR made it's money back several times over). You can find great deals for used cameras on sites like B&H, or refurbished on Amazon. Hey, you can even take a chance with Craigslist. SLRs will help you understand how to use light and how photography works. For that reason, most photography classes will require you to get an SLR. They always have.
If you chose to to get a new blogging camera (or blogging cameras–we won't judge), there a plenty to chose from! I tried to keep cost in mind, because it's a big investment, but they have the exciting features you'll need for your blog.
Our Favorite Blogging Cameras for Fashion Bloggers
When you go the SLR route, most photographers will tell you to get either a Nikon or a Canon. They're both great quality, but they each have their own lens system, so you pretty much have to chose before you start getting into lenses. When I first started, I just had the lens that came with the camera, now I have three, and thinking about a fourth. The Nikon D5100 has excellent reviews, as it's one of the best under $1000, and this one you can get for under $500. It can take photos in low light and has video capability. Knowing that even professional videographers are using DSLR's to shoot their video these days, it would also be a great entry into video as well as photography.
You can't talk about SLRs without bringing Canon into the mix. When I said everyone usually chooses a path between Nikon and Canon, I chose Canon. This model set to come out next month, will be the smallest SLR on the market. Which is great for those of us who carry our cameras in our handbags. This camera is about 2/3 the size of the T5i, yet has many of the same capabilities (although the ISO only goes up to 12800 instead of 25600 for super low-light). Since it's a new camera, it will set you back about $650 for the body only (you can also get used lenses for new cameras to save $$ or get a 50mm lens for about $90.) I would say that with this camera and a Macbook Air, you'll have the ultimate compact blogger's kit!
If SLRs are scary, and you would like more automatic features, yet have the flexibility to expand your lens collection. This Olympus E-PL1 just might be the one for you. It reigns in at $499, so the price advantage is not much different (than the Nikkon) but it's compact as mirrorless SLRs tend to be. It has fully automatic settings and image stabilization in the lens it comes with. On top of that, if you decide you want to experiment with lenses there are quite a number of great lenses you can choose from.
Note: Olympus has updated their E-PL1 with their E-PL7 and we recommend it in the E-PL1's place. You can get it for under $500 on Amazon.
If you're into stylish looking cameras that pack a lot of punch. This Olympus OM-D E-M5 has a lot to offer. Aside from the vintage look to the camera, as a mirrorless camera, it's nice that they've included a view finder in this model. This camera comes in at 16 megapixels as compared with the 12 MP of the Canon. It also has interchangeable lenses, and plenty of add-ons. It also can take photos at 9 frames per second (great for gifs!) and has superb image stabilization (for those with less than steady hands) But what's nice is that it's built to be sturdy camera. Fantastic if you're traveling a lot. The one thing reviews revealed was that it doesn't do well with moving objects, so if you're planning on going to fashion week, it might be good to save this camera for presentations and backstage.
Another mirrorless SLR, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is also a compact camera like the Canon above. This model has 16MP, takes 5 frames per second. It costs about $799, but with rebate you can sometimes get a deal.
Note: Panasonic has replaced the DMC-G5 with the DMC-G7 and we now recommend it for the same price. You can get it at Amazon here.
We have a TON of other great posts about photography. Please check them out here.