Explore the pros + cons for each camera type
As you get your marketing legs underneath you, you're inevitably thinking about how you can best take photos for your blog or business. Blogs and businesses take photos for a variety of reasons: product photography, styled shoots, lifestyle images, etc. Before you dive into which camera to buy, you need to figure out which type of camera to buy. Here, we dive into the pros + cons of each category.
If you're thinking about stepping up your photography game, you'll likely consider a DSLR first. DSLRs are those bigger, professional-looking cameras you likely saw your wedding or family photographer carrying around his/her neck. DSLRs became standard in the photography community in the early 2000s as digital photography grew and film photography declined. Following are reasons for and against a DSLR camera for your blogging needs.
- Lots of brands to choose from
- Affordable camera options within each brand
- Tons of well-priced lenses to choose from
- Second-hand cameras are easily available
- Huge knowledge base of tutorials to help you learn your camera
- Fantastic image quality (IQ) (even in entry-level cameras!)
- Heavy and bulky compared to other options
- More conspicuous; less opportunity for discreet photography
- Often (but, not always) louder shutter sound
- Too many features/options for some individuals
- Other than high end options bodies and lenses, DSLRs depreciate in value quickly
The bottom line: DSLRs offer you many options, many price points, and room to grow. But if you're going to be taking this camera around town or on trips with you, consider lighter options.
Mirrorless cameras are sort of the new kid on the block. First popping up around 2008, they didn't seem to gain steam until 2011. These days, mirrorless cameras are all the rage as more and more professional photographers trade in their bulky DSLRs for something a little sexier. Here are some reasons a mirrorless camera may or may not be right for your business photography:
- Lighter than DSLRs with similar features and capabilities
- You can find very small body/lens combinations that pack a big punch
- Cutting edge technology
- Camera companies are investing more heavily in mirrorless lineups
- Mirrorless camera currently retain their value longer than other types of cameras
- Mirrorless bodies/lenses are more expensive than comparable DSLR options
- Fewer mirrorless bodies to choose from
- Fewer lenses to choose from within each brand
- Local camera repair shops cannot repair most mirrorless issues (you must mail your camera in to a brand-approved location for repairs)
The bottom line: mirrorless camera lineups have fewer options and cost more than DSLRs, but they're rapidly growing in popularity and they have excellent resale value. If having a small form factor or the latest technology is up your alley, this is the category to consider.
POINT & SHOOT CAMERAS
When most people think of point & shoot cameras they think of the camera their parents use (and often with not very good results). And that's fair—the vast majority point & shoot consumers are individuals looking to document personal or family events. It's a mistake, though, to think that's all there is to the point & shoot market. In the era of smartphone cameras, camera companies want to give consumers a reason to buy their products. Many companies invested heavily in packing serious photography capabilities into a small camera body.
- The best combination of small form and photography capability
- Easy to travel with; great for discreet photography
- You can store point & shoots in your purse or briefcase so you always have it with you
- The image quality (IQ) of many point & shoot cameras is far superior to that of your smartphone camera
- Fixed lenses; you can't change the lens to accommodate different creative or environmental needs
- Feature-packed point & shoot cameras are pricey
- Very few point & shoots have a view finder
- The IQ of many point & shoot cameras (except for the most high end cameras) is less than the IQ of mirrorless cameras or DSLRs
The bottom line: If you don't need a camera with interchangeable lenses, and the ability to travel with your camera is a top priority, there are some great options to consider in the point & shoot category.
When I start talking with small businesses about improving their photography, my first question is: do you have a relatively new smartphone? For many individuals, this is all you need to get started. A tiny percentage of photo quality has to do with the camera and a large percentage has to do with the photographer. If you follow a few basic rules, learn how to find and shoot in good light, and do some light editing, you'll find you can build a base of fantastic brand-worth photos with your smartphone camera.
- Low cost solution; you may want to invest in smartphone lenses or small studio lighting, but you don't have to shell out tons of cash
- You can shoot, edit, and upload everything from your smartphone and/or tablet which saves you time and the cost of computer software
- Smartphone cameras have fantastic IQ these days; many allow shooting options like as creating panoramas or bokeh
- If you need to to print large copies of your photos (larger than an 8x10) you'll want a camera with higher resolution
- Smartphone cameras do not shoot RAW photo files so you have a smaller editing range
- Not great in low light situations (such as concerts, dimly lit restaurants, etc.)
The bottom line: I always recommend learning some photography basics with your smartphone and then upgrading once you've clearly identified your technical and creative needs. Many small businesses find they never need more than their smartphone to create stellar visuals for their brand.