Picking the Right Camera

Diving into photography is a daunting task — add in trying to choose the right camera without any photography knowledge, and you’ve got an even bigger problem. We’ve been there. Finding the right technology for you is a necessary first step.

 First question to ask yourself: What do I want to use this camera for?
What kind of shots are you aiming to capture?

For this tutorial, we’ll be focusing on a few types of photography: portraits, landscapes and events. Portrait photography is pretty straight-forward. Whether you want to create personalized images of your loved ones or you lean towards more artistic portraiture, this style of photography requires a certain amount of familiarity with the camera.

According to Jared Bash, a photographer and Digital Media student assistant, “fiddling too much with the camera may cause your subject to become uncomfortable, especially if they aren’t used to posing for photos.” Jared recommends a fairly simple camera to start off with. He suggests the Canon T5i  which gives you the quality of a high-end camera but with “not so many bells and whistles,” he said.

Canon t5i / Wikipedia Commons

Canon t5i / Wikipedia Commons

Landscape photography entails taking shots of scenery and wildlife. Raizel Coimanan intern at UAB Digital Media, takes landscape and architecture photos in her spare time. She uses a Canon T3i but emphasizes that a large part of that decision was the camera’s low cost.

Raizel believes the most important part of choosing a camera for landscape photography is the ability to switch lenses. “If you can switch out different, nice lenses, that’s how you’re going to change things up,” she says. Raizel says that the most important investment for a landscape photographer is a wide-angle lens in order to capture landscape scope.

Many people choose landscape photography because it’s less challenging to begin with scenery rather than people. There’s less pressure and it “doesn’t feel as awkward,” according to Raizel.

Event photography can be more difficult than landscape or portrait photography because it requires quick-thinking and the ability to manipulate camera settings with short notice. Ty Harris, event/documentary photographer and Digital Media Fellow, recommends the Canon 7D for beginners. While it may be expensive, Ty says that the Canon 7D is on par with the Canon 5D Mark III, which is much more pricy. In fact, the 7D shoots more frames per second than the 5D Mark III, an essential factor of event photography, especially with high action shots. 

canon 70d / wikipedia commons

canon 70d / wikipedia commons

Events like weddings and graduations don’t occur everyday — you can’t recreate these moments. It requires skill to capture the right photo at the right moment. Before investing multiple paychecks into a camera, make sure you’re utilizing the technology available to learn as much as you can.

As Ansel Adams, renowned photographer, said,“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 

Whether you want to work on anything from editing to lighting, photography is a hobby that requires patience and growth.