Before you decide what camera to buy, I have 3 questions to ask you. Actually, I want you to ask yourself these questions. You may not know the answers yet, but you probably do have a general idea. Our goal is to be able to answer these questions with full confidence knowing you’re picking the right photography gear that’s perfect for you.

1. Why am I inspired to buy a new camera now?

To begin anything new in life, I always ask myself one question first. Why? The answer to this question will help you make all your buying decisions. Once we know WHY we want to capture our stories, we will know what features and gear that is best and we can choose accordingly.

Are you inspired to dive into this new hobby by taking your camera with you everywhere to shoot family adventures, travel photography, and other great experiences? Then you may want to buy a smaller camera that’s lightweight, and easy to learn so you’ll have no excuse but to bring it along all the time.

Are you inspired to learn portrait photography and possibly start a new side business? Then you’ll want to know which portrait lens is best for your budget so you can start out taking gorgeous portraits right away.

Are you inspired to capture your favorite memories as your kids grow up and you just want a camera that takes great shots, doesn’t break the bank and isn’t too daunting to learn? Then a budget-friendly beginner camera is perfect for you.

2. How much am I willing to spend on a digital camera?

It’s okay if you’re not quite sure what your budget is yet. The point of this question is to give yourself a baseline. You can find great digital cameras from $300 to $3000 or more. But don’t forget to add in all the extras, like batteries, cards, a camera bag, maybe a tripod and who knows what else. We know this is not a cheap hobby or career path. Investing in the right gear is important no matter what your budget is.

Giving yourself a budget is important for obvious reasons. But we’ll go over some not so obvious reasons throughout this guide. For instance, did you know that a great camera lens is just as important as the camera body, and it usually costs more?! Don’t worry, we’re going to give you plenty of great tips to find budget-friendly options that fit your photography goals. Which brings me to the next question to ask…

3. What are my photography goals?

As you think about why you’re inspired to get a camera right now and how much you are willing to spend, you also have to consider your overall goals. Will you travel a lot and like to pack light? Will you want to buy other lenses and more gear in the future? Do you want your camera to be easy to learn or have tons of extra features to dive in deeper right away? We all know how much time and practice goes into any new creative hobby. So think ahead. How much will energy will you dedicate to photography?

I knew right away that photography was an obsession for me. When I got my first camera (a DSLR Canon Rebel) over 15 years ago, it was a gift. The perfect gift for me; a budget-friendly DSLR that allowed me to play and learn without feeling the pressure to be perfect right away. If I had gotten a more advanced camera, I would have been too intimidated and afraid to practice with it.