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3 questions your salesman DIDN’T ask you when you bought your camera

I love black friday.  PJ’s, Lego’s, and Blu-rays are always on my list.

Cameras also appear on Black Friday Ads & might be tempting!  However – be careful, here are three questions your salesman should ask you BEFORE paying the big bucks for that advertised dSLR.


#1: Do you plan to shoot your dSLR in manual?

FACT: A DSLR is meant to be shot in Manual mode. 

I may sound like grumpy-pants here, but if you aren’t going to learn to use your camera in Manual mode, then save your pennies, and get a high-end Point-and-Shoot.  If a dSLR is shot in AUTO mode, it’s a pretty expensive point-and-shoot.  In fact, I was shocked to go through old photos (for this blog post), and to find THIS comparison:

L to R:  

(dog) Point-and-Shoot,

(soccer arena) dSLR in AUTO Mode, 

(Tulip) dSLR in MANUAL Mode 

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Clearly, the tulip pictures is the most stunning + artistic.  Sadly, the 2nd best image might  be the image from the point-and-shoot!  Gasp!

Manual mode gives you total freedom to shoot in every light situation, and problem solve photos that aren’t coming out quite right on the back of

the camera.

Learn. Your.Camera.

Best resource for learning Manual:  Check out the lovely Brooke Snow’s Shoot Like a Pro online class.  It’s BEYOND Fab.


#2:  What do you plan on using this camera for?

FACT: If your camera doesn’t fit your needs or lifestyle, you might not use it.

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The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is the most popular Canon-portrait camera body on the market.   It is a beauty.  It is also…BIG.  I mean, seriously – physically big.  It has guts, durability, and produces fabulous images (when photographers learn how to use it!).  That being said, before you go out and pay the $3,000+ pricetag, remind yourself what you are using the camera for.  Do you plan on taking gorgeous photos of your own family, taking it on family vacations, to the park, sporting events, and little Lily’s first recital?  Fabulous.  Now get real with yourself, will the bulky size of the higher-end dSLR’s deter you from bringing it in the first place?  Will you end up saying “I’ll just use my phone to snap a few pics” or “I’m too nervous it will get broken if I take it to ________”?  If that is the case, reconsider.  Buy a more intermediate model, which will be smaller, less expensive, and replaceable (hint: consider buying a personal effects policy through your car/home insurance company).   Take the extra time to find any camera store that carries the camera you are considering and HOLD IT.  See how it feels in your hands.  Magical things might just happen.


The wand chooses the wizard, Harry.

—  Ollivander, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  



#3:  This camera has TONS of Megapixels, so it’s the best.

(disclaimer, I know this isn’t a question…..bear with me)

FACT: High Megapixels are NOT that important to the average photographer.  In fact, it’s not that important to $20,000 wedding photographers.


L to R:

10.2 Megapixels           vs.           16.2 Megapixels

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These two images were taken with 2 totally different cameras, with 2  different Megapixel (MP) counts.

 These days, almost all cameras have double digits of megapixels, making this spec irrelevant when it comes to image quality.

Let’s put it into perspective, with a question:


How many megapixels do I need if I…….?


Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 9.50.11 PM

FYI:  Even for POSTER-SIZED images, 7 megapixels can be enough simply because how often do you stand inches away from a print that large?  Typically we stand further back to view images of that size, which doesn’t make the megapixels the best indicator of image quality.  Long story short – double-digit megapixels = plenty of megapixels.

So, what is the best indicator of image quality?
YOU + YOUR skills with the camera.

Want to refine YOUR skills?

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