As a parent, one of the first things you’ll want to do before your child starts photography lessons is purchase their very own camera. As with most purchases for your children, it’s important to think about what they will need and what you can afford. You should also consider how much time your child will spend using the camera before making any decisions.
If you’re the type of parent that requires their child to work for what they have (like my parents were when I was growing up) – this article will still be very valuable. You can share these tips with him/her and coach them in the right direction on their purchase.
Here are our top 6 tips for choosing a camera for your child.
…when choosing a camera. Look for features that will help them learn the basics quickly, like buttons they can easily reach or menus with icons that are easy to understand. Size matters too. Try to purchase something that fits their hands well (or they will grow into quickly).
Remember, they’re young and just getting started. The last thing you would want is to purchase them a camera that is too complicated – making them frustrated and upset – and possibly not be interested anymore.
A DSLR camera will allow your child to free-play and learn how exposure settings work like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Camera lenses are great but not essential for beginners because it’s just as much about capturing the moment with a point & shoot or the kit lens.
…take into consideration how well they can see the screen when it is bright outside. It should be large and easy to use both indoors or outdoors. There is more frustrating than not being able to see images clearly due to sunlight getting in the way of viewing them onscreen – this is important.
…make sure the resolution is good enough and meets your specific requirements. Most entry level photographers should be satisfied with a 10-14 mega pixel camera. Cameras in this megapixel range are quite inexpensive these days (compared to higher pixel cameras)
You want to steer clear of cameras that have built in memory (no memory card slot). This may seem convenient – until the internal memory card fails and you have to get it fixed or the entire camera replaced. Look at a camera that has an SD card slot (or two). This will allow for removal of the images from the camera – and no worry about the memory failing internally.
Now you should think about how you’re going to get those pictures to your computer. This can be done 2 ways (most of the time). Either plug the camera directly into the computer (with the memory card in the camera) and copy the pictures straight to your computer.
While that’s great – if you chose a camera with a memory card slot – you can just remove the card and insert the card into a card reader. This is much more convenient than having to plug your bulky camera into the computer.
Card readers are generally inexpensive (+- $20) and are much faster at transferring than you camera or a built in card reader on a laptop.
Lastly, is price. The reason we didn’t make this a “tip” is because we felt we needed to dive into this topic a bit more than normal. We plan on expanding on this topic in the future. We will link the more in-depth post here when it becomes available.
As far as purchasing a brand new camera for your child – if you can and are willing, go for it. But if you can’t or on the fence about it – don’t feel bad about purchasing used equipment. 70%+ of photographers are using second hand gear on a daily basis (ourselves included). You’d be surprised how much “used” gear is on the market that’s barely been used. You’ll save north of 40% by purchasing used.
Related article: Top 5 tips for making a photo session with kids easier
There’s also the idea that, your child is just starting out. If they ultimately decide they aren’t into it – you won’t be out a full priced camera – and you’ll be able to sell it to someone else too. Also, if they end up dropping it by accident – it won’t hurt nearly as much as a full priced kit.
You now have a base-line idea of what you’ll need to think about when choosing the right camera for your child.
Here’s a simplified recap of what to keep in mind.
If you have any questions at all – please leave them in the comments below. Remember, we will be writing a recommendation article for specific cameras for your child in the near future so check back in a couple months to see that article published here.
Until next time, be safe and take care!
Jeff & Reyna