Since I started taking my Instagram more seriously, I have had many people ask me questions about how I shoot certain photos, what camera do I use and how I edit my photos. So I decided to come up with a little series of posts sharing my knowledge of Instagram photography. I want to keep this guide pretty simple, so feel free to contact me if you want to know anything in more depth.
What I Use
Currently, I’m using two cameras for my OOTDs + Instagram Stories. For my regular posts, I use a Nikon D5100 with either a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 or a Nikon 85mm f1.8. I find these lenses work well for the style of shots I like to take.
As for my Instagram stories, I currently use a Fujifilm X70 (mostly because my phone camera is garbage and refuses to focus.) I also love using this camera because it’s small enough to throw in my bag to keep with me every day when I’m not actively looking to shoot OOTD photos.
How to Choose the Right Camera
There are a few points to consider when you’re trying to buy the right camera for your Instagram needs – budget, size, detachable lenses, WiFi capabilities, and a flip screen.
Your budget will basically dictate what you decide on getting. If you’re under $500 range, you’ll probably be looking at a small camera or a used DSLR/mirrorless camera. If you’re looking around $500-$1000, you can definitely buy something brand new and maybe even an extra lens. If you’re >$1000, there are plenty of options to fit your needs!
The other thing to consider is the extra accessories you may want to buy (especially if you’ll be taking photos by yourself). A tripod, wireless remote, camera bag, memory card and filters could easily add up to an additional $150+ in your budget.
2 . Size
A lot of people think you need a DSLR to get the best photos possible, and while that does help, if the size/weight is too large/heavy to bring around on a daily basis, you won’t end up using it. I used to work in camera sales, so I would see people with expensive DSLRs, lenses, and flashes end up having to buy a second camera for daily use because their regular setups were too heavy to bring around. Sometimes having something more portable you can throw into a bag will benefit you more, if you end using it more often.
3. Detachable Lenses + F-Stop
Having a camera that allows you to change lens will give you more varied shots. You’ll have a wider array of lens choices to get a certain “look” to your photos. If you want a more portable camera, then usually, this means the camera will not have a lens you are able to change.
Regardless of which choice you make, you will want a camera that has a low f-stop number (f/1.8, 2.0, 2.8). This allows more light into the camera sensor and gives you a nice, shallow depth of field (aka subject in focus with a blurred background) and gives your regular Instagram OOTDs that extra pop!
My usual suggestion for anyone looking for an affordable lens for Instagram OOTDs/portraits would be a 50mm f1.8 (regardless of which camera brand you choose). Typically, these lenses are under $250 new (and even cheaper used!) but give great results. With this type of lens (usually called a ‘prime’ lens), there is no ‘zoom’. The lens is fixed at that focal length (e.g. 35mm, 50mm, 85mm), so your feet are the zoom! But this type of lens delivers crisp images, even in low light! It’s a huge upgrade from the ‘kit’ lens that comes with DSLR/mirrorless cameras.
Most cameras nowadays come with WiFi transfer built in, but if you are looking to buy a used camera, it may not. Personally, I find most of the WiFi capabilities of the camera are quite clunky and slow, but if you’re someone who likes to edit photos and post them right away to Instagram, this may be an important feature for you.
5. Flip Screen
Let me just say this, I’m a total sucker for flip screen cameras. Mostly, because there are times where I don’t hav someone to help me take photos and I’m stuck with doing it alone. So having that flip screen can be a lifesaver! Or if you think you might get into vlogging or shooting video in general, this is a must-have feature for you.
My (Personal) Instagram Camera Suggestions
So with all these factors in mind, here are some of my very general suggestions for cameras to look into at a range of price points with all these factors in mind. If you’d like some extra help, feel free to DM me on Instagram and I can try my best to help you find something!
As I stated above, I’d look into buying a used DSLR camera for this price range to get the best value. For used cameras, I would look on your local Craigslist for an entry-level DSLR/mirrorless cameras and a prime lens. If you don’t feel comfortable purchasing something off of Craigslist, I would suggest looking into local camera stores that sell used cameras or search on eBay. These options can be a bit safer if you don’t feel comfortable buying somethings off of Craigslist.
This would be the price range I’d suggest if you’re really looking into getting serious about your Instagram feed. There’s a ton of options in this price range, so I am only listing out a few models I personally like in the different camera categories.
Point + Shoot
With this price range, you can buy a really good setup that you will be less likely to outgrow quickly. Again, there are a ton of products in this price range, these are only some of my personal favorites.
I hope you guys found this little guide informative and it helps you choose the best camera for all your Instagram needs! I’ll be making a few more of these Instagram guides in the future, so let me know if there’s anything specific you want to know. As always, feel free to comment on here or on my Instagram if there’s anything you’d like to know more of in detail!
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