The first time I ever had professional pictures taken was in 2006, when I hired my photographer to take pictures for my wedding. I had my bridal portraits done in downtown Greenville. I felt so fancy!! This is going to sound really old but back then, they didn’t have senior portraits and engagement shoots and things like that. I think all of that go popular with the rise of social media. I realized, though, the importance of photography as I saw pictures of my grandfather praying, James and I’s first dance, and my bridesmaids line dancing. How nostalgic I feel when I look over those pictures.

Fast forward to my first pregnancy and I, of course, hired someone to take pictures of our family. I did so several times, but wanted more. I wanted to capture Ellie in her every day and wanted to do so with something better than my iPhone camera. For Christmas, I asked for my first DSLR, and BAM! The rest is history. Why am I talking about all of this now? I know that moms out there want so badly to capture those daily moments. Even now, as a professional photographer, I still get someone to take pictures of the family because I value them and can’t always get in front of the camera, but it’s those pictures I take daily that are important. And so, to the point of this post, I am going to tell you a couple of options for a camera to take high quality pictures of your kids! Or your blog, or your website, or whatever.

Before you get started, you need to determine a couple of things.

  1. What’s your budget? You’re buying more than just the camera. You need to get lenses, a memory card, possibly a bag, and I would even recommend an extra battery and remote.
  2. What’s your subject? If you’re taking pictures of kids, you will need different things than if you’re taking pictures of a wedding or landscape, or pictures for your blog.
  3. Are you willing to buy used?

Here are the different brands and different types of cameras to help you take high quality pictures.

1. Nikon

This is the brand I went with! My first nice camera was a Nikon D3100. It came in a kit, mainly entry level dslrs do, and so I got a lens, a bag, a remote, a memory card, some filters, and I can’t remember what else!! I absolutely loved that camera! I still use it for video. Nikon is a great company with great customer service and one of the top camera companies. So, which model should you buy? This totally depends on your budget.


Nikon dslr

Nikon D3400 Kit 


This is the newest version of the model I bought. This kit, priced at $520, comes with pretty much everything you need and while the kit lens isn’t going to be the best ever, it will totally be fine for pretty much anything. If you have a little extra and want to add a lens that will give you a little more flexibility in terms of quality and light, I would add the 35mm. It’s the cheapest lens, priced at $200, you will ever buy and it will upgrade your pictures by a  lot.

high quality pictures


Nikon 35mm 1.8 Dx


If you have a little more in your budget, I would recommend the D7200. This camera will do better in low light situations, and you would be surprised how many times that may come up.

high quality picturesNikon D7200 Kit

The 35mm would work for this camera too. Both great cameras at a somewhat decent price and you know you’re getting quality with Nikon.


Canon is a brand similar in quality to Nikon. You always hear the big argument over which brand is better, and there are some differences, but in reality, each brand has it’s pros and cons, neither of which will affect you in taking daily pictures, so just pick one.

high quality picturesCanon Rebel


I believe that Canon has the same type of 35mm, so the advice is the same in terms of buying one upgraded lens. This camera kit is $549. I don’t know as much about Canon bodies and so I’m not sure if there is another mid level dslr I could recommend. It doesn’t seem like there is another affordable one as most of the others seem to be north of $2,000.

Non DSLR cameras

DSLR is a term that I’m not going to go into but it is the gold standard when it comes to cameras. While some may argue with me, my opinion is that if you want high quality pictures, a dslr is the way to go. Especially since the cost for an entry level one is not bad. That being said, a dslr is a heavy camera and it can become cumbersome to carry it around with you everywhere you go. If you are wanting something a little more lightweight, and have the budget to do so, another option that offers high quality is a mirrorless camera. I’m not going to go into the technical details of what a mirrorless is, but basically, it doesn’t have a mirror, and it’s lighter weight and smaller. While Nikon and Canon are the dominate brands in the dslr world, Sony and Fuji are the dominant brands in the mirrorless world. These options are not cheaper, models can range from $1,000 to $4,000, but they produce high quality pictures and are so much more compact. The models I would recommend that compare to the costs of the cameras above are:


Sony a5100


I literally have no information about this because I’ve never used it, but know that it’s highly regarded as an affordable mirrorless camera for a beginner. It’s cost is a little less than $600.


Fuji x–E3


And there you have it! You’re one step closer to being able to buy a nice camera and capturing those daily moments with your kids! I do want to mention that as nice as your camera is, the real gift is in knowing how to use it, so once you get your camera, it’s time to learn! You can always just keep it on auto and take some high quality pictures, but if the bug strikes you and you decide you want something more, there are so many wonderful training tools to help you learn the basics.

Keep a look out here on the blog for some tutorials. I also want to mention that I have learned so much from being a member of an online forum called Clickinmoms. This link will take you there (and of course, it’s an affiliate link which means I get a commission if you sign up). That being said, I seriously have learned so much by being a part of this forum. It’s a monthly membership and there are so many tutorials. You also have access to classes and workshops where teachers interact with you and give you feedback. Wonderful place! Lastly, maybe in the future, I’ll give a class or two on the basics if you’re like me and someone who prefers to learn by doing.

Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.