Which is right for you?

  • DSLR's vs. The Point&Shoots

been a EXPLOSIVE amount of new photographers in the last 3 years. It’s unreal! And the reason for this is because starter DSLR cameras are at an all time low. When I bought my Canon Rebel xti back in 2006, it was $1200 and came “fully equipped” with the cheapest tripod known to man, a traveling case and a lens “extender”.   You photogs out there may be wondering what a “lens extender” is. Well, it’s a little lens that attaches on to the end of any lens and does absolutely nothing. It makes the lens LOOK bigger but doesn’t have any purpose.  I got suckered into buying so much CRAP when I first ventured into the world of Digital SLR cameras.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I bought a DSLR because I knew it was a NICE camera. I mean, if the “lenses come off” that means it’s NICE and I’m going to have the BEST pictures out of all of my friends! Right?! Wrong. I shot my Canon Rebel on AUTO for TWO YEARS and I thought my images were magnificent… and they weren’t. They weren’t HORRIBLE but that little camera that I paid $1200 for was capable of SO MUCH MORE! I took it to Rome, The Bahamas, Florence Italy, etc. The whole time, I thought I was hott stuff with this fancy camera but really, I had NO IDEA how to use it.  I would shoot aimlessly, just hoping for a good shot. Ohhhhh how I wish someone older and wiser had sat me down and said “Sweetheart, you paid over a thousand dollars for a camera that has the capability to expose manually… and you don’t even know what that means”.  I had no clue. I just wanted GOOD PICTURES and I thought that if I bought a fancy camera, I would get amazing results.



Digital SLR cameras are expensive because they are high tech! They are MADE for exposing manually and switching lenses. When I was shooting with my Rebel on “auto”, I was literally only using about 5% of what that camera was capable of doing.  I PAID BIG BUCKS to have a nice camera and yet, I had no clue WHY it was a nice camera. So! I want to explain a little about Digital SLRs for those of you that are looking into getting one for Christmas for either a family member or for yourself.




A Digital SLR is for you if……..

  • You are interested in gaining more knowledge about photography. Ex: learn about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.
  • You are willing to really learn the art of photography and ENJOY it.
  • You want high quality images and are interested in the technical side of photography
  • You’re a parent with some photography background and want a GREAT family camera to capture shots of your kids!
  • Photography is a hobby and you enjoy shooting and learning how to improve your skills
  • You’re interested in eventually becoming a professional photographer
A Digital SLR is probably NOT for you if……
  • You want a fast, consistent way to capture high quality images
  • You want a camera you can throw in your bag and take ANYWHERE
  • You want GREAT shots of your kids but don’t have time to learn and practice photography basics
  • You have no photography background and have no interested in learning about the technical side of photography
  • Just want an affordable camera that captures decent images
If you fit into the second category and you’re realizing that maybe buying a fancy, high-tech camera isn’t for you, there are other options! There are cameras that are MADE to just point and shoot and guess what! They are CHEAPER!!! Hooray! So many moms email me about being so frustrated with their DSLR cameras because they try to take pictures of their kids inside the house and the flash pops up or the shadows are awful or it’s way to dark! This happens because digital SLR’s are not made for just pointing and shooting. Sometimes you can get GREAT images that way if the light is good….but not always.  Don’t get me wrong, you CAN just point and shoot a DSLR camera and get good images…. but you’re paying twice as much as you need to!  If you’re just pointing and shooting with an SLR and that is ALL you have a desire to do, you would be better off paying less for a Point&Shoot camera. Canon has some AMAZING options for Point&Shoot cameras that won’t break the bank and will provide you with great images consistently! This one is my FAVORITE!  And if you decided you really want to learn more about photography and purchase a camera that will allow you to practice the basics, then I recommend a CANON REBEL!! Best starter DSLR out there and the prices are so much cheaper than they were 6 years ago when I bought mine!!!:)
So the reason I’m writing this post is to SAVE some of you from making a big purchase that may not be the best move.  Just because everyone has an SLR doesn’t mean they are capturing the most amazing images. You have to understand your DSLR and understand the basics to REALLY get your money’s worth!!! So I hope this helps!! Again, this is only my opinion… but I have this opinion because I was the girl that spent WAY too much money on an SLR and never knew how to use it until two years later!  Don’t make my mistake!! Happy Monday!
10 Comments Photography
  1. Hadley reply

    I think my mom asked this exact question!! I’m showing this to her!! THANKYOU FOR EXPLAINING! (ps can’t wait until I can start learning when I get mine for christmas!!)

  2. Andrew reply

    Great topic Katelyn!
    Anyone interested in more in-depth discussion on this topic might check out

  3. Abby Grace reply

    Bahaha I did the exact same thing! Except with a Nikon D40. I think I just liked feeling superior (< that's me admitting I was a snob about my camera). Now I look back and realized how much time I wasted by shooting on auto when I could have learned to shoot manual that much earlier!

  4. mary dougherty reply

    well said!

  5. Sydni Jackson reply

    well put! thank you for sharing this & other photography tips like learning to shoot manually. i made sure i knew what iso and shutter speed and aperture were BEFORE i got my camera (sony nex) so i could actually use it when i got it.

  6. Erin Schrad reply

    Ah, you young’uns! (Ha!) There is something to be said for having to start out the way I did – with a FULLY manual SLR. That’s right… there’s no “D” in front of that… the only thing electric in it was the light meter! I shot for a couple years on an old Pentax ME Super until the shutter jammed up on me. Then I borrowed an old Canon AE before buying my first electronic SLR (still no “D” there) – a Canon EOS 3. Love that camera… still have it… along with about 50 rolls of film in my freezer! But, as it just so happened, it was only a few months after I finished photo school that the Canon 10D came out and I jumped into the DSLR revolution. And here we are 9 years later and just about everyone has a DSLR because they have become SO affordable and so capable of producing decent results on auto. Could you imagine though if they didn’t have the screens on the back and were just like the old film cameras? People would be just about as successful (maybe less so) at getting good digital images as they were at getting good film images… It’s just too easy now to check that screen, fiddle with the camera, and try again!

    Seriously though… I’m all for people finding a love of photography and wanting to learn more about it and everything. I fully support people embracing their creativity and finding whatever outlet that helps them express it. But at the same time, I really appreciate when people realize there’s more to being a pro than just buying the same equipment. I mean, I could go out and buy all the fancy tools sold in Home Depot, but that doesn’t mean I have any business trying to remodel a bathroom. However, if after years of building birdhouses, tables, etc and learning the tools and the techniques I then decide to take a hobby I love and turn it into a career by getting a business license and paying taxes and having insurance, then it’s appropriate to start selling my services. Same goes with photography… what makes someone a pro is not the equipment, but the brains and the effort and the professional demeanor behind that equipment.

    Wow… okay… getting off my soapbox now! (Don’t know where that came from!) Great post, Katelyn!

  7. kaitlyn reply

    this post is so perfect and NEEDED! everyone is out for a DSLR and it just confuses me! point and shoots are wonderful. it often makes me feel like people might just want to buy the next new thing. although it is tempting to shoot on auto with a DSLR, it is impossible to go back once you start shooting manually.

  8. Kari reply

    Hi Katelyn! I am a huuuge fan of yours and check your blog every day! I LOVE photography, but feel like I sadly don’t have the time to learn the art of it right now. Recently, my dad and I were discussing this exact topic with the Holidays coming up. We came to the compromise to just stick with a 12.1mp canon point-and-shoot for this year and look into some DSLRs for next year. I find it so ironic that you write this post just 2 weeks after our conversation, almost as though you read our minds :). Keep doing great things, girl!

  9. Brooke H reply

    Over the years, you’ve inspired me to take up photography (as a hobby…when I finish law school haha). I would love to learn the technical side of it. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

  10. megan reply

    Hi Katelyn,
    I’m just starting out with weddings and charging for my images.
    I have a 8 year old canon rebel xt body. Do I need to change it out yet? I feel like my images are not super sharp anymore, even with my new 50 mm 1.4 lens
    Also Do you bring off camera lighting, umbrella stands etc to indoor wedding poses or do we just need a speed light.
    I’ve been asked to do a fashion shoot with still shots needing full body and half body shots with models in clothing. I have my original 17 -200 and my 50 mm. What else do you recommend. It’s indoor, well let and some outdoors
    I just watched your webnar with the academy. So refreshing. Thanks for your help and candor!.

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