Photography for Mommies: GEAR

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Today I will start a series of posts that are probably the most requested ones of all time.


Photography for Mommies

(it’s like “photography for dummies” books, but it’s mommies. Get it? Get it?)

It’s not a series for people who are well versed in photography. This will be written for beginners, new mommies and veteran mommies, who are looking to get better pictures of their kids and themselves, and their families, and their dog, you get it!

I wanted to start this series with a post about photography gear for two reasons:

1. Christmas season lends itself to more expensive presents that photography equipment can be, so you’d have a chance to “request” a camera or a new lens based on these posts if you choose to. {oops! That didn’t work out, did it? I got caught up in the Christmas season myself and didn’t get to finish this post. Forgive me?}

2. I’d like to encourage everyone to do this with me. Learn to take fabulous photos of their kids. Besides the amazing memories that you will be left with, as you children grow, it’s a great skill and example to give to your children in the future. In fact, photography is probably one of the easiest hobbies to pick up that I know of, so there shouldn’t be a person out there who isn’t able to do this.

I am hoping that I don’t really need to explain why every family should have a “family photographer”. If you’re the kind of person or family that stays away from pictures, it is more of a reason to learn photography and step out of your comfort zone. Children need to be taught to love themselves, and “being afraid” of being photographed is a shitty lesson to teach your little ones. In my opinion it is MORE VAIN (among other things) to avoid being in pictures because you “never look good in photos” than to enjoy taking them.

So I challenge each and every one of you to join me today and to commit yourself to learning photography, even if it’s on a small level.

Obviously, before you can take photos, you need proper photography gear. Let me go over different types of cameras and their pluses and minuses.


A Point-and-shoot camera is your average compact camera you see everybody toting around. It is small, it’s easily portable, it’s cheap, it requires nothing else in terms of lenses. Some boast good image quality, but the truth is all compact point-and-shoot camera lack that professional look you see in photos. It is true that YOU absolutely CAN take a great picture with a point-and-shoot. But you need real skill and good eye for photography to compensate for lack of quality and beautiful bokeh ( the blurry background you see in most pro photos). And even then it will never rival what you can take with a DSLR. Plus, if you have the skill and the eye, you’ll most likely already be looking to buy a DSLR. Because of low quality, dim light produces a ton of noise and requires the use of flash, which you will later find out should be really used at a minimum.

These two photos below are an example of what you COULD do with a point and shoot with some editing, but these are an exception, not the rule. Most of the time the pictures end up with poor quality and lighting.

You’d buy a point-and-shoot compact camera if your priorities are:

  • price
  • portability
  • ease of use

What you will be sacrificing:

  • image quality
  • control over settings
  • operational speed ( how fast the camera focuses)

If you think this camera is for you, here are a few things to look in a point-and-shoot camera in order of priority ( and it is not its color, as tempted as you might be):

  1. Image quality – this is number 1 concern when you are buying a point-and-shoot. Since most of them shoot pretty low quality images ( in my opinion), it’s smart to get the best out there.
  2. Price – given that most point-and-shoots are very comparable to each other in terms in specs, price becomes something you can shop
  3. Maximum aperture – this is something I look for in a point-and-shoot. If it means a tiny difference in being able to take a shot in dim light versus not, it’s worth it for me.

I have always owned point-and-shoots alongside with a DSLR, because there are times where I like to have a small camera around. The more I photograph, the less I am willing to sacrifice quality for portability and end up bringing my big DSLR everywhere.

The current compact camera I have is this Canon Powershot ELPH. The reasons I picked this particular one are its price ($150is very cheap IMO), size, high aperture, HD video and the wide angle lens. I am not crazy about the quality, or the touchscreen. But it serves me well for what I need it for.
If a compact camera going to be your main camera, so you can spend more money on it, I’d highly recommend this Canon Powershot S110: wide angle, fast focus, HD video, wi-fi, good aperture and high ISO capabilities. And the biggest thing is it allows you to have complete control over settings once you’re more comfortable shooting on Full Manual.



This is what most people buy when they want better picture quality than what they’ve been getting with their point-and-shoot. It comes with a body and a detachable interchangeable lens. There are many options for a DSLR body ranging from a $400 price tag to over $3,000. When asked what camera I use “to get such beautiful photos” , I always say the same thing: it’s not the camera that makes the photo. It is true to an extent. As long as you have a DSLR body, the single most important thing in photo quality is your skill and knowledge, then comes the lens you’re using, and finally the actual DSLR. So it’s completely fine to start with an inexpensive body like this (Please note: it appears as if this particular model is NOT compatible with a wireless remote. So if it’s a feature you see yourself using, consider this model instead) and work your way to a more professional and better quality one like this or this ( I am linking to mostly Canon brand ones because that is what I am familiar with).

You’d buy a DSLR camera if your priorities are:

  • versatility
  • complete control over features

What you will be sacrificing:

  • size and portability
  • your own sanity ( because most likely you will be hooked on photography)

I started with a cheap Digital Rebel ( like this one) and worked my way up to the current camera I use, Canon 5d Mark II. I am very happy with it and don’t see upgrading any time soon.

If you’re a complete beginner and think that a DSLR is for you, I’d suggest starting with a Canon T3 which is currently on sale for a ridiculous $292 (as of the time of writing), the lowest price I have EVER seen for a body only. {Please note: it appears as if this particular model is NOT compatible with a wireless remote. So if it’s a feature you see yourself using, consider this model instead.)
The next step up would be a Canon 7D and then finally Canon 5D.
A great affordable but versatile option is Canon 60D. It is a step above T3 or T4, but without the price tag of 7D. That would be the best option if you’re looking to spend some money on a really good camera but can’t drop over a grand on the body itself.


Besides a Canon body, you’ll need a lens. I would STRONGLY advise against getting a kit lens ( a kit lens is usually a standard lens sold with a DSLR body). Usually a kit lens is the horrible 18-55mm lens. Do not buy it! There are so many lenses that are significantly better in quality.

Here are three moderately priced lenses that I would recommend getting instead, specifically for their price vs quality.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 – This is the lens that most photographers swear by. It is cheap, like $100 cheap. It takes amazing photos, produces gorgeous bokeh ( blurry background), has great low light handling, and great depth of field and focus. Downside: cheapely made ( though that never deferred me), can be difficult to focus, prime ( set at one length, doesn’t zoom). {This isn’t the lens for you if you’re unwilling or unable to move around. It won’t zoom and has a very close “crop”, so you’d have to be relatively far from the subject. If that’s not what you’re looking for, check out the Tamron lens below.}

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (for small sized sensors) or Tamron 28-75mm (for large sensors) – while not brand name, these are great alternatives to the more expensive Canon brand of similar lenses ( and lighter as well). Great aperture, great light handling, inexpensive.

Canon 85mm f/1.8 – my current lens and I am IN LOVE. It is an absolutely amazing lens. It focuses SO much better than the 50 mm I mentioned above. It has a mind blowing quality, amazing light handling, amazing bokeh. I would recommend this to anyone! {This isn’t the lens for you if you’re unwilling or unable to move around. It won’t zoom and has a very close “crop”, so you’d have to be relatively far from the subject. If that’s not what you’re looking for, check out the Tamron lens above.}




This cheap piece of plastic is an amazing catalyst to taking family photos without the main person missing in them ( YOU!). I have to admit, I have been caught in the trap that most mommies fall into, that is taking only your baby photos and not much else. I feel like half the time, I look like crap, am dressed in sweats and just not up to photographing myself. And then there is that whole issue of who will take the picture. If your hubby isn’t trainable when it comes to taking photos ( it took me many years to get where we are now with hubby in terms of photography, which includes him getting in the photo as well. He now actually likes it as long it is something fun we are taking a photo of), YOU NEED A REMOTE. It’s super cheap ( I buy 10 of them at a time after having lost a ton and spending weeks without one), it’ll fit in your purse and it will make it very easy for you to take a pic of your WHOLE family wherever you go ( just prop the camera up on a trash can). For more tips on how to BE in the photos, refer to my {long abandoned} photography blog tutorials. As soon as I have caught up with all the posts I want to write here and feel like I have a handle on my time, I will start up pioneering us, mommies, getting in front of the camera.

{Please note: it appears as if  the Canon T3 I mentioned above is NOT compatible with a wireless remote. So if it’s a feature you see yourself using, consider this model instead.)


If you want to be able to take your own Christmas photos, or family photos, or birthday photos, or,,, (you get it!), you’ll need a tripod. Bring it anywhere, pop the camera on it, use a remote and voila. Nothing easier than that. Everyone is in the shot and you didn’t have to sweat {much}. This is the one I use and love.

Card Reader

Yeah, I know cameras come with that handy cord to transfer your pictures. And if your camera takes a SD card, chances are your computer has a slot for it, as well. But for other cases, a card reader is a must. I hate using the cord. Ugh! Card readers are so much better. Take the card out, pop it in and you’ve got yourself a transfer. This card reader is for a CF card only. If you camera takes an SD card, here’s one for that.


So that’s it for the essentials. There are plenty of “niceties” that one can buy to make their photography experience more pleasant and fun, but we’ll go over all that some other time.

For now, if you’d like to jump on the “Mommy, the Photographer“, band wagon, you’ve got what you need equipment wise. Dust it off, buy it, prepare it. Because I will be coming back with tutorials on how to use it, how to get awesome pics of your kids and how to edit them.

If all of the above was a bit too overwhelming or you don’t have time to make sense of it and just need a “Here is what you need to buy” guide ( believe it or not, I get the “just tell me what you’d get if…” emails a lot), here it is broken up by budget:

Tight budget TOTAL: $404

THIS CANON BODY + THIS CANON LENS {Please note: it appears as if this particular model is NOT compatible with a wireless remote. So if it’s a feature you see yourself using, consider this model instead.}

Medium Budget TOTAL $716 or $1309

THIS CANON BODY {Please note: it appears as if this particular model is NOT comparible with a wireless remote. So if it’s a feature you see yourself using, consider this model instead.) and THIS TAMRON LENS (standard camera + good versatile lens) or

THIS CANON BODY and THIS CANON LENS (better camera + a good cheap lens) + THIS REMOTE

Good Budget TOTAL $2018


Ask any questions in comments, in case I missed something, I will do my best to answer them all.


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  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Great post! I found this blog of yours about a year ago and then found your selfie blog and have to say it was really the impetus behind me getting into photography and I’m so glad I did (so thank you!). I bought Lightroom after you mentioned it on your selfie blog and I think being able to properly edit RAW is what made all the difference.

    Boy, I REALLY wish you hadn’t posted that link to the T3 body. That’s going to be very hard to resist. I have an XTi which I’ve had since 2006 but only started using it this past year so I have no idea where it is in terms of shutter life. I’m taking a trip in a few months and I’d hate to bring my billion lenses and have the body die… How often do you find yourself replacing your DSLR body?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Hahaha! I am so mean 🙂 lol I bought my first DSLR in 2006 and then replaced it with a 5D Mark II in 2010, I believe. It was an upgrade, the Rebel still worked just fine.
      T3 is a newer model, but most importantly it has video, which for me is a big deal. But if you don’t care to do video, then you should probably stick with what you have for now.
      OR…if money isn’t an issue, get the T3 in case your Rebel konks out, and if it doesn’t you can always return it if you’d like. Amazon is awesome that way.

      • Reply
        Elena C.
        January 1, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        We both bought 5 D mark II in August 2009 remember? And used them both in Disneyworld 🙂
        I’m trying to figure out how to edit RAW pics faster 🙂
        Otherwise I’ll just go back to JPEGs 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          January 1, 2013 at 12:41 PM

          I was going through our Disney photos looking for some pics where I am shooting (that you took) and I missed you so much! 🙁 We still need to edit our video!

          I went back to Jpg for a while, because time is essential to me right now. Besides, I’ve gotten good at getting the lighting right, so I don’t need raw as much…

          • Elena C.
            January 1, 2013 at 1:46 PM

            When did you start shooting in raw?
            I’ve checked several tutorials on how to edit raw files, but still need to keep editing to try and get this process faster.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            January 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

            I was going between raw and jpg for the last 3 years, with the last year being all jpgs.

          • Elena C.
            January 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM

            Ohhhhh 🙂 Interesting!
            I’m on my raw stage now, hmmmm, not that I can see a tremendous difference 🙁

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            January 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

            From what I know it’s not the quality that the difference is seen per Se but in the ability to adjust lighting better without losing quality.

          • Elena C.
            January 1, 2013 at 3:32 PM

            True 🙂
            I’m still learning 🙂

      • Reply
        January 2, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        Ah, good idea! I managed to forego the T3. Although now I’m thinking about just splurging for a 5D. Hmmm…

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    do you use additional lighting ever at home? I’m unlucky enough to live in a really gloomy country, and it’s dark so early here. I don’t like using flash, and though I’ve got a f1.4 lens, I’d like a bit more depth of field!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Most of the time no. I try to find natural light as much as I can. There are two exceptions though. If I am doing more of a photoshoot, I bring out my softboxes if the light is inadequate.

      And also, as funny as it sounds we use them to light up the playroom in the evenings, because we have yet to buy and install lights for Lexi’s playroom ( it doesn’t have a spot for a ceiling light, so we’ll have to do scones or smth). So technically, I use the softboxes for any pictures in the playroom after dark 🙂

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Elena, I bought a Canon T3i recently and also looked at the T3, one major factor that pushed me to the T3i was that the T3 does not work with a wireless remote. Just thought I’d point that out in case that was also an important factor for someone else. So true about losing your sanity when gaining a DSLR I’ve only had my T3i for 3 months and my husband has started referring to me as the family paparazzi. Luckily my 11 month old is a total ham when I bring the camera out!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Oh seriously? I had NO idea. Why would a camera not work with a remote? That seems ridiculous. I’ll check it out and definitely make a note. That would be a total no for me personally.

      • Reply
        December 31, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Yeah, it’s crazy. It doesn’t have an IR sensor. The only option is a radio frequency remote – which is bulky and not very user friendly when running around after kids. For me it was worth spending the extra for the T3i to use an IR remote.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          December 31, 2012 at 11:35 AM

          Totally agree and thank you for pointing it out. I made a note in the post! I know some people don’t really care about shooting with a remote, so hopefully they can get some good use out of the T3, especially considering the price.

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Perfect timing! I have been researching for a while what kind of camera to buy as I am a novice and a new mom. I have decided on the Canon EOS Rebel T3. However, on B&H they kit the camera with a lens – the 18-55mm IS II all for $399. Here’s the link:

    I also see the link to the Canon 50mm f/1.8 for a $110…since the price would be the same to buy the kitted one on B&H or the combo you suggested on Amazon…is one lens significantly better than the other? Would you specifically stay away from this kit on B&H? Just looking for an opinion to tip the scales for me so I can’t decide!! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 31, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Yes Lindsey, like I mentioned in the post, I would NOT recommend buying the kit lens. It’s a pretty poor lens. One can shoot with it, but as a beginner you might get discouraged at the image quality you get with that lens. Once you get really good at photography, yes you can shoot with anything and make it look good. But the 50mm I recommended is by far a superior lens.

      • Reply
        January 1, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Shes right, do not get the kits lens. It was like using a p&s. Get the 50mm

        • Reply
          January 1, 2013 at 4:15 PM

          I second that. 🙂

        • Reply
          January 2, 2013 at 7:12 PM

          I’ll third that! It’s the first lens I got aside from the kit lens and it was a great decision. I find the autofocus is a little tricky but for the price it can’t be beat. I’ve found that now that I’ve learned how to use a handful of other lenses I can get better results with the kit lens, so it’s not totally useless.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            January 2, 2013 at 11:46 PM

            Ugh! There were times when I wanted to smash that lens cuz of the shot focus but still nothing beats the price vs quality of image. I now have the 85mm and have no focus issues – it’s my favorite lens.

            And the kit lens is totally doable for an experienced photographer. It’s just when you’re new, you’re much better off getting a 50mm for it’s quality.
            I can now take good photos with the shittiest lens lol

          • Elle
            January 3, 2013 at 4:32 PM

            “There were times when I wanted to smash that lens cuz of the shot focus”

            Word! lol. I got a Canon 28mm and it does better, though not as cropped as I’d like. I’ll have to look onto the 85.

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    You had a 400 before right? That’s what I bought offmy friend. Is it remote compatible? I’ve been meaning to get one .

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been following your blog for quite a while and love your photographs. My husband and I have debated getting a DSLR and your post and recommendations (and the great prices) tipped us over the edge. We are TTC and I really wanted to get a DSLR and get a class in before we have a little one to photograph.

    Can’t wait to read the rest and thanks again!

  • Reply
    December 31, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Why do you have freckles in some pictures and not in others?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM

      Different reasons: lighting, clarity, distance from the camera, blurred face in background, make up. My freckles aren’t so bright to clearly show from the distance or under make up unless I just came out from being in the sun for a long time. So only in focus close up pics show them, especially if I am wearing make up. 😉

  • Reply
    Meg O.
    January 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Okay, you convinced me of that 50 mm f/1.8 II lens. I got some Christmas money and that’s what I’m going to spend it on! I have a Canon Rebel XS that I have had for a while, but I am not making the most of it. That’s going to be my goal this year, since my baby just reached a year. I have always been the “family photographer” and I know how to use the camera manually, but I gotta take it to the next level! Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I have a Canon T2i- do you have a remote that you suggest? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 1, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Yes! The one I linked to in the post! I have 10 of them 🙂 lol

      • Reply
        January 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Thanks- I totally missed that part of the post!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I am really excited about this series! I have majorly gotten into photography this year 🙂

    Just another tip for the “in between” budgets- I started with a Sony a390. and when it came time to upgrade, I got a used Canon 60d. I think that the 50d and 60d are a good option for in between a T3i and a 7d or 5d. I have also heard (and experienced myself) that if you want to save some money, get a used body and buy new lenses. Look for reputable sellers and know what you are looking for, of course, but you can definitely save some cash that way!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Thanks for posting this. I have a T2i but still have a lot to learn! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Is there some reason you are suggesting the T3i instead of the T4i? Is it just for the lower price? Just wondering. I got the T4i for Christmas and am SO excited to take some real pictures. There is so much to learn, and with a 3.5 month old (and working full time, and a very needy dog…), there doesn’t seem like much time to learn it all! However, even just the pictures I’ve taken so far (with the kit lens – although I plan on ordering the 50mm) are so much better than my old point and shoot photos. I’m hoping to be able to take some really great 6-month photos, so I have until March to become an expert 🙂 Looking forward to more photography posts!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 2, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Just the price. Some people who are buying a new DSLR might not be able to drop a lot of money on it. Plus the lenses are so much more important than the body itself. So money is better spent there.
      Of course a better camera model is better 🙂

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I just wanted to point out that there is a ‘stage’ of Canons between the Ti’s (be it the 2Ti, 3Ti or the brand new 4Ti) and the 7D or 5D. I have a 60D and it is lovely, it isn’t nearly the same price as the 7D but it isn’t far off from the 4Ti and while it isn’t considered a full-frame body like the 7D it has great burst speed. It is quite a bit heavier than a 3Ti or 4Ti.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 2, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Yes you’re right! There are so many in betweens it’s hard to list just a few. I might edit it and add a few moderately priced models. I just don’t want to overwhelm and confuse people.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Hello Elena!
    I currently have a Ge Power Pro x500 and have researched thoroughly whether or not remotes are available for this type of camera/brand.
    Do you think it would or could be compatible with the wireless remote you have? I’m willing to see what works, just not get into too much hassle over it.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 2, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      Check your manual or email their customer service. If it has remote capabilities they’d know. It’s worth checking 🙂 good luck’

  • Reply
    Brittany Temple
    January 2, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Awesome post! I cannot wait for your tutorials :)! I have the Canon T3, and now I want the 50mm lens! Thanks….this is going to be so helpful because I have no idea how to use my camera in order to produce great pics :)!!!

  • Reply
    Brittney C
    January 2, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I stumbled upon your blog about three months ago and cant tell you how much I have enjoyed it! I just finished ready “Get Ready to Get Pregnant” and have never found a book so useful! thank you!! As far as the camera goes – do you recommend (or not recommend) purchase a refurbished camera body (particularly the T3) from Amazon? The savings aren’t drastic since the new model is at such a great price right now but just curious. Also, when purchasing from the link you provided do you also have to purchase the battery, charger, etc in addition to the lens? is that link just the camera body?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 2, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Oh i looooove that book! Eye opener isn’t it?

      Re: t3, if the savings aren’t significant if go for a new body. Cameras are finicky, focus and calibration gets off, they stop working. If you were buying a better body for a significant discount that’d be a different story.
      The camera does come with all the accessories but just check the description or email the seller there just to make sure.
      You’d need to get a bigger better memory card though, regardless.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    Great! Thank you so much Elena. Can’t wait to see the following posts 😉

  • Reply
    January 3, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Lovely photos!

    May I ask where you studied?


  • Reply
    January 4, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    I am so so SO excited for this series! We got a DSLR as a gift when my son was born and we use it frequently but on the auto setting so it’s obviously not being used to its potential.

    I have lots of tutorials pinned but I never seem to have time to read them but I ALWAYS make time to read my mommy blogs, so this is absolutely perfect.

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    I have been saving up and after getting some Christmas money on the verge of getting a DSLR. So I’m really glad to have come across this!

    I did read the comments above about the kit lens but still have a question regarding getting one. This is the one I was considering:
    So right now it is on special for $150 off (making it $729.99) and includes the body, 2 lenses, memory card, bag, tutorial DVD. On Amazon, the camera itself with the 18-55 lens is $599. So I’m wondering if even though the second lens in the Costco package isn’t great, if the rest of what is included makes it worth the $130 difference. Regardless, I’m going to add the 50mm lens.

    So looking at the packageCostco offers and for the $130 extra, in your opinion, is it worth going for considering what it includes? Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 6, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Hey Audrey! This is a very difficult question to answer.
      It all depends on what you will be photographing.
      You might only need a T3i body and a 50mm which will cost you $640 and the other two lenses would be a waste.
      Neither of them are very good lenses. They can be used but personally id put the extra 200 towards a better lens like tamron I mentioned or even a more expensive canon one.
      Depending on what you need the camera for or your style you might never even need the second one. Most non pro photographers and many pro ones just use one of their favorite lenses and rarely switch them.

      If you’d like to tell me what you’ll be shooting and in what manner as well as how serious you want to get into photography I can advise you better.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 6, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      Also as far as memory card, your best bet is to get a better faster one. Kit products never have the best items.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Thank you for posting this!!!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Thank you for the post! I took your recommendations and purchased the T3i (for the remote capability), body only, and the 50mm lens.

    My question is: Do you recommend a UV filter or any of the other accessories? I’m not even sure what the UV filter does, but a few people recommended I get that and some other things.

    Also, are there any other “nice to have” accessories for the T3i (in addition to the posted ones)? Thank you SO much! You are very helpful! Without this post, I would have just wound up with the kit and a bad lens.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 9, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      I’ve had a UV filter and for me the biggest thing it does is prevent the glass of the lens from breaking if I drop it ( happened a few times). So from that standpoint I’d buy one. I don’t have one on my current lens but I should probably get it.

      I’d also recommend getting a fast and big memory card, a new 1T external hard drive because you’ll NEED it, trust me. And those are it for the essentials. I can recommend a lighting set up with a backdrop, but I doubt you want to get to such an extent.

      Also, for editing I use and love Lightroom 4- I’ll be going over that in the future posts in the series.

      I am glad it was helpful, I’m looking forward to writing more posts.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Thanks for all of the info! Do you have a recommendation for a wireless remote that would work with a Canon 40d? Thanks!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Hi Elena, I’ve followed your blog (both) for a while now, yet never commented. I own an old(er) Rebel XSi, which yes, came with the dreaded kit lens 18-55 and 55-250 (package bundle from Costco with camera bag, SD cards, etc. etc. – great price about 3-4 years ago, so jumped on it). I’ll admit, since getting my iphone, I’ve sort of neglected the old Rebel, but now that we’re having our first baby (due July 8), I decided it’s time to dust off the old girl and get back out there with her. Question – do you have any recommendations for good lenses that would allow me to stand over the baby and get a good shot? I’m thinking a winder angle lens would be good for that. Should also mention, I currently do own the 50mm lens you mention above, and I love it – but since you do have to be farther away from the subject, I’m thinking I might have a hard time with a baby…. especially if I plan to get any shots of him/her from above the crib. I’ve heard the EF 28 f/1.8 and EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS are good lenses, but both are on the expensive side (for me – for one lens – when I have to buy all kinds of baby stuff soon). Wondering what you would recommend, as your photos are always beautiful!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 14, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Unfortunately aside from the 50mm there are no good cheap lenses. There’s the 40mm but that’s not wide enough. 28mm 1.8 sounds amazing based on reviews but like you said it’s 400-500 bucks. The 28-135mm isn’t great. That was my first lens and I am far from thrilled with it.

      What you might consider is the tamron I mentioned in the post.
      It’s wide angle , great constant aperture and has a zoom so while it costs the same amount as the ones you have mentioned, it is more versatile.

      My next lens will most likely be the 28mm or a 24mm one.

      Do you have a crop sensor?

  • Reply
    January 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I don’t have a crop sensor. I still might look into the 28mm 1.8 – hubby wanted to buy it for me for Christmas, I just felt guilty spending that much right before we have a baby. But the more I think about it, it might be worth the investment.

    Thanks for your opinion on the 28-135….. I’ll look into the tamron also! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    LOVE this post! Thank you so much for the info…It’s very helpful.
    I love the look of your photos and want to know how much editing you do to them. I really want to buy a nice camera but have read that you don’t just get nice photos by taking them with an expensive camera. I’m sure some amount of editing comes into play and I know you said you will post about that later. Can you briefly comment now about how much editing you do on the ones you post on your blog? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Jessica, one of the post in this series will cover processing techniques and how to take a photo from the drab SOOC to a vibrant final product.
      At this point, I have all my processing in a preset, so with a click I apply all the saturation, exposre, blacks, shadows etc. adjustments and then go from there if needed.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    What kind of photoshop do you use? That’s my next buy, I have a canon rebel and the 50mm lens, know I need photoshop!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      I don’t use photoshop for the most part. Maybe once a month or so if needed. I’ve had it uninstalled for a while and didnt miss it one bit.
      I do all the processing in LR4.

      • Reply
        January 7, 2015 at 5:08 PM

        Hi elena i love your blog, useful reviews (i have bought quite a few useful things – thanks) and inspiring photography! Can i ask how you edit colours in lr4? I love how it is done and would like to try improve mine – is it via saturation etc (doubt it?). Many thanks

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          January 15, 2015 at 12:31 PM


          there are several different techniques. None of them as simple as SAT, unfortunately. It’s a more complex process involving shadows and levels. I am hoping to one day do a tutorial on that 🙂

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Hi! I started following your blog while you were pg and I remember reading at some point you talking about what to do to your camera when you get it – adjusting settings. Do you know what I am talking about? And can you point me to that part of your blog? I’d like to know what to do to my camera to set it up right! Thanks!!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    That’s it! Thanks! Can’t wait of the next installment of this series!!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    I like reading your blog and especially enjoy your photography. I have a small baby and am interested in getting a little more into photography myself. Now I am trying to figure out what kind of DSLR camera to get. I was looking at this one on sale in Costco right now. Is it a good deal? Are the lenses that it come with any good?

  • Reply
    June 23, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I love your blog! I started reading soon after my daughter was born and it’s been so helpful and informative. (Love Daily Mom too!) So…I got the T3 before I knew (and knew that I cared) that it wouldn’t work with a wireless remote. What are your thoughts on using a wired remote? Obviously a wireless one is better, but do you think a wired one is still worth buying? My husband is an “auto-mode” only kind of guy. But I would love to have more great photos of my daughter and me together.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 23, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Thank you, Ashley!

      I would not recommend a wired remote. It is used primary for long exposure photographers who don’t want the shake from pressing the trigger. I would not serve well for self-portraiture.

      Instead you can try this wireless remote that is supposed to work with a T3. It’s mounted on the hot shoe and works like a normal wireless remote:

  • Reply
    July 16, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Great info on the lenses. I have a Nikon SLR (the D3000) and would like to get a new lens for it. Do you have any recommendations for lenses compatible with a Nikon?

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m expecting a little girl in two weeks and am looking for a great camera to last a while. I was comparing the Canon T4i (since they are currently on sale and are being replaced by the T5i) vs. the Canon EOS rebel SL1. I just wanted to know which you’d suggest. I would be getting the 50 mm lens for either camera.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 26, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      They are really very comparable. You can’t go wrong with either one of them. So it comes down to your personal preference.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    I love your photography! The lighting is wonderful.
    What kind of lighting would you recommend for indoor photography (for example if the room that doesn’t have plenty of natural light), would you consider putting recessed lighting or ceiling lamp (in the center) or just floor lamps and sconces?

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