Product Photography: How to Pick Out a Camera

For the longest time I was convinced you had to own a fancy camera to take great pictures. I only had a few point and shoots around the house that I didn't think could really get the job done. Then I discovered that there are only a few features that you need to look for in order to find the best camera for you.

These tips will show you how to pick out a camera that will work well for your product shots. It doesn't matter if you spend $100 or upwards of $300-$400, as long as your camera has these specific functions, you'll be a-OK. I'll also show you a range of different cameras at different price points that have all the things you need, This will help you narrow the field when you're trying to find the best camera for you.


  • The macro setting! When you are learning how to pick out a camera, this is the first feature to look for. The macro setting is indicated by the tiny little flower-like symbol on the camera. This enables you to take pictures up close and capture nice details. Macro is especially important in the craft world for capturing all the nice little details of your pieces that the customers love to see. The details are what sets you apart, so you need to get nice shots of them!
  • White balance setting: you want to be able to set your white balance for natural light. White balance ensures that what appears to be white in person, will also appear to be white once you've taken the picture. It gets rid of unrealistic color casts which can sometimes show up as an orange, blue, or green tone. Fixing the white balance can ensure less time editing your pictures.
  • Aperture setting: in essence, this creates that nice "sharp and focused in front, blurry and mysterious in back" look. It gives your pictures depth, movement, and makes for a much more interesting and stylized picture. When you're learning how to pick out a camera, keep in mind that you want one that lets you set your aperture to f/2.8, this creates a great depth of field. If your camera can only do 3.0 or 3.1 that's still OK!
  • Tripod! I know this isn't camera specific, but I wanted to sneak this in here at some point. No matter what you do: if your settings are where they need to be, if the lighting is great, you won't have a great picture if you have shaky hands! Using a tripod ensures that you will get the crispest photo possible. I can not stress this enough!

When learning to pick out a camera that's right for you, you'll also want to consider price. Here are a few models of cameras I found in the $125 - $250 range:

  • Canon Powershot SD1200 - $180 (on Canon's site but you can find it cheaper elsewhere. I always check Amazon)
  • Kodak Easyshare Z712 IS - $230 from Office Depot (I'm partial to this camera because it's the one I use.)
  • Nikon CoolPix S220 - $125. Even though this camera will only let you set your aperture to 3.1 it is still a good deal for the money and the rest of the features are worth it. And it comes in fancy colors.

To find the best camera for you, remember that there are ALWAYS deals to be had in personal electronics. You can often find a used camera or a refurbished one for significantly less than paying for a new one. Any camera you use (and there are a lot more than I've listed here) that have the features I specified, you'll be all set! Great pictures are not out of reach or out of budget once you've discovered how to pick out a camera that has everything you need to take product shots.

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