Determining the right gear for you is a part of becoming a professional, certified birth photographer and it is incredibly important!
Most people just post in FB groups asking “Which camera should I get?” or “What lens or camera is the best for birth photography?” or “What gear do I need to photograph birth?”
But, when they do that, they’re not getting a personalized look at what right for them at their stage in business and specialty.
Maybe that’s exactly what you’re doing right now! So, if you’re wondering, “Is it time for me to upgrade my camera or lenses?” Or if you’re thinking, “I need help figuring out what camera and lens I should buy for birth photography,” or maybe you just need a refresher on how to get the most out of what you already own, this episode is for you! We’re going to learn how to choose the right birth photography lens and birth photography camera!
I’ve been there.
I remember when I was first starting out in photography, I was on a forum all the time called ClickinMoms (this was most definitely pre-FB group days, y’all). Underneath our profile photo, we could list out what gear we used. I would get SUCH gear envy, looking at all these photographers I admired who had the latest and greatest camera and lenses. I felt like my photography would never be “good enough” unless I had THOSE lenses and THAT camera.
Can you relate?
We talk extensively how to use your camera inside Module 2 of TBIBP. Things like using different focus modes, how to meter in your camera + mastering manual mode so you can get the best image possible straight out of camera. So if you’re a student in that course, I highly recommend hopping over to module 2 for a refresh after you listen to this episode!
When most photographers are determining if they need to upgrade their gear, or buy a new lens or buy their first camera – they ask trusted friends or photographers they look up to for recommendations on what they should purchase.
Maybe you’ve done that too! Instinctively, we think “hey if it works for them it will work for me!” And it saves time researching the endless options available!
But unless you truly understand what YOU need for YOUR situation, you’re very likely going to be disappointed with their recommendations. And spending more money doesn’t always mean you’ll be happy with what you get.
I’m going to walk you through the 3 things you need to consider when upgrading your gear, or buying your next camera or lens to make sure you’re getting the right gear for what YOU need!
3 Lessons I Learned about Choosing the Right Gear for Birth Photography
Before we start, I highly recommend renting before you buy. A lot of cities have camera shops that will allow you to rent cameras or lenses to test them out, and there are several companies online too, just google “rent lens” or “rent camera.”
LESSON 1: Spending more money on a camera body doesn’t always mean your photos will improve.
Here are the 4 main things to consider when choosing a camera body:
- Consider budget, of course!
- Starter level cameras start at around $400 including a kit lens
- Professional level cameras at more like $1500 including a kit lens
- Consider ISO capabilities for birth
Do you want full frame or crop?
This is referring to the sensor size of the camera. In basic terms, crop is zoomed in more and full frame is wider (aka shows more of the scene).
This is an opinion: but when purchasing a camera body, I recommend skipping the kit lens. Most of them only go as wide as 4.5 and I just literally never shoot at 4.5 so they’re limiting in my opinion, if you want to shoot wider than 4.5 I highly recommend opting for the 50mm 1.8
Do you need/want a dual card slot?
LESSON 2: Upgrade your lens before the camera. WHAT!?
3 things to consider when choosing a lens:
- Prime or zoom?
Prime is generally more sharp and you can get a wider aperture, but YOU are the zoom. You have to move if you want to be closer or farther from your subject.
With a zoom you’re able to stand in one spot, zoom in or out and get closer or further from your subject. Generally it’s more expensive to get the same aperture on a zoom than it would be on a prime.
Being able to shoot wide open is a good option for birth
- The weight of the lens
LESSON 3: You need backups.
I’m sure you know this by now, but having backups of all your equipment is essential to birth.
I’ve had equipment stop working or malfunction at a birth, and it would have been tragic if I didn’t have backups!
Still have questions?
Hey, if you don’t know what some of these words mean or exactly how to do them that’s okay! Don’t let it discourage you! Everyone starts somewhere and it takes lots of practice!
Whether this is all new to you, or you are a seasoned photographer looking to establish your credibility in the birth photography community, I want to invite you to this special FREE training to help you sharpen your skills:
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