Do You Need A DSLR Camera For Blogging?

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model in the city 2 fujifilm fx1 compact camera

When I started blogging, I asked myself, “Do I need a DSLR camera for blogging?”

All my fashion blogger friends swear by their DSLR, and they all told me to get one.

If there is an Elle magazine for fashion blogging, a DSLR will be in the must have list. It is a necessary like the 50 shades of pink POI nail polishes. Back then it made a lot of sense to invest in one.

One day I was trying to find room for a gifted unwanted dress, it made me think. If I don’t let my friends tell me how I should dress, why would I let them tell me what I should purchase?

Listening to the people who sold their souls to companies for invitations to exclusive parties or a free dress tell you what to buy is never a good idea. I am too poor to listen to my friends.

I am lucky to meet a lot of photographers. They told me that I shouldn’t buy an expensive camera before I grow out of the one I have. It is not about the camera, but the photographer.

You can give a blogger a Hasselblad H4D, the Ferrari of studio cameras, the photos can still be out of focus and noisy, if you don’t know how to use it.

The fancier the camera gets, the harder to control it.

If you still don’t believe me that you don’t need a fancy camera to take amazing photos, read this book Low Cost High Impact Photography by Steve Johnson. It is the best 99 cents I have spent in a long time. Please read it before you spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars or even thousands on the new fancy camera. If you still don’t think it is enough. Here are my 3 reasons for not buying a DSLR for your blog.

1. I am too poor to afford a DSLR and so are you.

What are you talking about? I am going to be a fashion blogger, companies are going to invite me to sit in the front row and pay me like a celebrity.

Wake up, darling. Most bloggers don’t make money. Most of the bloggers who make money don’t make money directly from blogging. If an Amazon best selling author made nothing from his book, do you think you will make money from your blog?

If you are a blogger, expect to get poorer. You are signing up for an unpaid full-time job with a lot of expenses.

It is not free to go to events every night. You need new clothes, cab/gas money and lots of valuable time. At the end of the month, free lipstick and shoes won’t pay your rent.

Just to get this straight, you are going to invest a lot of money into a camera for a job that might put you into debt. Bad idea.

I have a mortgage to pay, a family to feed and a future to build. I wasn’t ready to get into debt for something that is not worth it. I can afford a DSLR, but in the long run it is still too expensive.

Buying a camera body is the cheapest part. Buying the lenses is the real deal. Once you get in and fall in love with photography, it only gets more expensive.

I know I will be so sad if I have an awesome camera body without an amazing lens. Just like I try to stay away from the mall, I don’t want to get into photography. It is too expensive for me. I prefer to be financial independent before I get into photography. Unless you make decent money or have a wealthy father/boyfriend, you are too poor for a DSLR camera.

2. I am too pretty to carry a DSLR camera.

If you have seen a DSLR camera, you know it is HUGE. Not only you need to carry a body, you will need to carry the lenses. I know people who carry a tripod with them too.

I am the girl who always carries a tiny little clutch to events. My camera bag cannot be bigger than my clutch.

Do you know how hard it is to find a beautiful camera bag to match your outfit?

My photographer friends always ask me to start a camera bag line because they can’t find a nice one.

If you take blogging seriously, you should carry your camera with you everywhere. Any moment can be a special moment.

I have a micro four third camera (the newest model) that I love to death, but after a week carrying it to the office with my laptop bag, purses, I gave up. I knew I needed something smaller and lighter. Luckily, Fujifilm was so kind and sent me a Christmas gift, their newest compact camera FX1. I have been carrying it with me everywhere.

If my micro four thirds camera was too chunky for everyday life, what would it feel if you have to carry your DSLR camera with you everywhere?

If you don’t love photography enough, this is painful.

3. I don’t have the skills for a DSLR camera

Most bloggers think fancy camera = beautiful photos. This is not true. Photography is an art and there is so much you need to understand. I am building an eCommerce marketing agency, I don’t have a lot of time to learn a new skill after a 16 hour working day.

I don’t have the skills to get the most value out of a DSLR camera and I don’t have the time to learn it. If I get one, it will cost me more than just money it will cost me time.  It is better to settle for something that is right for me. I can always upgrade when I outgrow it. I like to keep my life simple.

As you might know, I am a big fan of 80/20 rule. I’d rather focus most of my time doing something I am good at and get the most value out of. I know it is not photography. Instead of trying to learn photography, I collaborate with people who have the skill. It is so much easier and I like being in front of the camera so much more than being behind it.

Which camera should a blogger buy?

I don’t have the answer for you. Nobody can understand what you need better than yourself.

However, I know most of the time that a  DSLR is not the answer.

Sit down and ask yourself what you want to do with your camera. Do your research before you buy one.

Don’t buy something that you don’t need, otherwise, one day you will have to sell something that you need. 

Most successful fashion bloggers have more than just a fancy camera, usually the photographer boyfriend/husband comes with it. You should spend less time searching for a camera and more time on building relationship and collaborate with people. It is easier to find a photographer to collaborate with than learning how to take great photos and carry a giant camera everywhere.

 

 

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  • http://www.hometohem.com/ HOME TO HEM

    This post came right in time for me. I’ve been wanting a DSLR for a while now and not only because I just started a blog, but because I take so many pics everyday. So far my iPhone and point-and-shoot is doing a great job but I know that it will only last for so long… I think I can put off buying a DSLR for a bit longer now but I can’t deny that I don’t feel the pressure since starting a new blog. But I know once I’m ready, I’ll have the technical know-how since I’ve taken a few classes and am always researching new tips…

    Thanks for the honesty and real talk!

    xx / http://www.hometohem.com

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      @hometohemblog:disqus :) my pleasure someone has to say it right?

  • Steve Wakeman

    Excellent post, I shared it on G+ in the hope that more amateur photographers will read it as it applies to almost anyone wanting to buy a camera and or get into photography.
    As for the unanswered question, “what camera should a blogger buy”. I’m not a ‘pro-blogger’ but I would suggest looking into the rapidly expanding mirrorless camera market.
    Mirrorless cameras are a lot smaller than a DSLR, cheaper for the most part and offer similar, or in some cases the same or slightly better image quality than DSLR bodies.
    For example the new Sony RX1 and RX1R while very expensive, offer a full frame sensor with a fixed 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens. IMO it has equal or slightly superior image quality than any DSLR currently on the market. At $3k it isn’t cheap but with a fixed lens it’s still cheaper than buying a full framed DSLR then buying a lens or lesnses.
    Perhaps not the best example in terms of pricing but it illustrates how good small mirrorless cameras have become and they’re only going to get better.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      @stevewakeman:disqus thanks for resharing my post :) I learned so much about photography and camera from G+. It is a great community

  • http://ericjess.net/ Eric Jess

    This was definitely a interesting post to read. I agree everyone doesn’t need professional equipment but I do think everyone can benefit from learning how to use a good camera.

    If you aren’t willing to learn than a SLR is not for you. But if you are it will probably pay itself off for you pretty quick.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      Of course, if photography is something you love, picking up a SLR is not a bad idea :D For most blogger, blogging is more important than photography

  • Crystal

    Thanks for for this article! I just purchased a Nikon Coolpix L820 and I was conflicted at first. A lot of fashion bloggers I know use SLRS but I started to realize that their pictures often didn’t look much too different from your average point and shoot. You’re absolutely right, if you don’t have photography skills it shows no matter how fancy or expensive your camera is. I’m so glad I chose this toute bc I don’t have the time to figure out how to use a fancy camera and the pics on here are just as good as the girls with the SLRs.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      @disqus_43Dw2gQsWL:disqus the blogger who has amazing photos usually have a photographer boyfriend. If you don’t know how to manually adjust the setting DSLR can be a pain

  • http://www.asplashoftan.blogspot.com/ Joyce

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading it and I’m glad you shared :) I have been contemplating whether I should invest in a DSLR. You made some great points! I normally take all my blogging photos when I’m at school so lugging a large camera around everyday is definitely out of the picture. It’s so true that any camera can take excellent photos as long as you know how to take them!

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      I tried to bring a camera to school before it was a nightmare. Laptop + textbook + a huge camera, it wasn’t very easy to carry especially I wore 5 inches heels during that period. Now I just have my Fuji in my purse wherever I go

  • http://makingourlifematter.com/ Making Our Life Matter

    Okay, I just wrote a long blog post about how I needed a new camera for my blog. Someone from the SITS site pointed me to your blog post, and I am glad I found it.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      I am glad to hear that my post was helpful. :)

  • Ernie Basher

    I wouldn’t mind using my old camera for blogging. Nikon rocks when it comes to perfomance and quality. Taking photo’s its like your style, your passion in doing great pictures.You can check some great durable camera’s here for example http://buyadslrcamera.org/.

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  • http://estherkimani.wordpress.com Esther Nduta

    This post was both enlightning and entertaining am glad i found it, am going to stop blaming my nikon camera.

  • Melissa

    just reading this post again. love it ❤

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      @disqus_VkGWdQzKLf:disqus Thanks.

  • Tiffany C

    Finally someone who has given me a refreshing point of view!! Because I’m newer to fashion photography, I am one of those that are instantly influenced when I see all the hoopla all over the web on DSLR’s. Your view really opened my eyes and made me realize how ridiculous I was to even consider buying a $600 camera when I can’t even keep my shopping problem under control. (I too enjoy good food.) Also, with all of the filters and photo apps nowadays, there are ways to create beautiful, artistic photos while not having to spend a fortune. I’m really glad I came across your post after reading *MANY* camera comparison sites.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      @disqus_HbcgWdh2DV:disqus Your phone or a nice compact camera are usually good enough. Fancy camera are usually only good if you know how to use all the fancy function and have fancy lenses. Most people only use the auto mode on DSLR. It is a waste of a good camera.

      Save your money. The filters are so amazing now but don’t over use them. No filter is the most popular filter. You should spend a lot of time on Instagram learning how to style your photos. It is very helpful.

  • Rejie Talagtag

    I am not into fashion but I find this article honest and amazing. It made me realize how foolish I am into thinking that high-end cameras produce great pictures which in reality, it is the person behind the lens that make them look beautiful. I am a blogger and a writer that only wants to add color into my work. Clearly, its not the camera that I needed cause I can always make colorful words that can balance the pictures that I am taking, despite using my digicam or my phone.

    • http://www.cammipham.com CamMi Pham

      I have seen amazing photos that were taken with smartphone. Fancy cameras are only useful if you know how to use fancy features and have fancy lenses. There are a lot of great free stock photos on the internet. If you are not a lifestyle blogger, you should use them. Your smartphone is usually good enough most of the time.