Every once in a while I’ll get a really great question about photography that I simply can not answer. These are the questions I pass on to my loving, all-knowing husband and photographer. Below is one of those great questions.

This week’s question comes from Claudia:

“I’m in the market for a DSLR camera & am asking around to see what cameras people use & love. I wanted to ask you what camera(s) & lenses you use or what you recommend for an absolute camera newbie. I rarely take photos but am realizing how important it is to capture the big & little things in life. My husband and I will be welcoming our first little one May 2011. He will deploy for a handfull of months though during my pregnancy which is why it’s so important for me to start documenting life on a much better camera.”

Hi Claudia —

Because I run a business with my camera, doing weddings and other portrait sessions, having good equipment is imperative for me. Currently, I shoot with a Nikon d700 camera body with a 50mm for portraits, 17-55 for wide shots, and a 70-200 for zoom. There are always other varying lenses for different scenarios, but these are the “big 3” that I use on Kendi Everyday.

For a beginner, I would suggest starting with a user-friendly and price conscious option. Although there are many name brands in cameras, Nikon and Canon are the front runners for both entry level and commercial. Both have numerous options in lens choices, as well as a wide variety of camera bodies to fit your needs. I would suggest testing the cameras out in your local camera store to get the feel of each, and to see what feels most natural to you.

For beginners, I suggest the Canon Rebel XSi or the Nikon D3100. Both are entry level DSLRs and will take beautiful photos. Once you get a feel for your new camera body and kit lens, you can explore more lenses and and equipment. [Kendi side note: I used to have a Canon Rebel and I loved it! It was great to use and learn on.]

Much like keeping a journal or diary, photos have a powerful way of document fleeting moments in time. With a new one coming, there couldn’t be a better time for you to learn photography. Good luck with the pregnancy and the new photo adventures!

Have a burning photography question or want to be featured in an “Ask the Photographer” series? Send your questions to Bryan at

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21 Responses

  1. Thank you for doing this special post, Kendi! I, too, am in the market for a DSLR camera, and I'm also a camera newbie like Claudia.

    One question I have: Is there a free service online that does similar editing quality job as Photoshop? If not, what are some low cost editing software out there?

  2. Hi Kendi & Brian! I recently got a secondhand Nikon d80 but can't seem to figure out how to use it. Do you have any recommendations for books, etc. for a beginner?

    thanks for the post!

  3. Thanks for the information! very helpful I shoot with a Canon XSi with a 28 -75 lense and 50mm. I just wish I had my own professional photo like Kendi has!

    I want to know who has the graphic desgin/website building skills and was that self taught? that i what i currently trying to teach myself.

  4. Kendi + Bryan,
    This is GREAT information! I've been thinking about getting my fiance a DSLR for a wedding gift but had no idea where to start looking. This information has given me a great starting point. Thank you! Thank you!

  5. Sometimes your blog reads my mind. I'm in the market for a beginner DSLR (like a fancy camera with training wheels) so this was very helpful. Thanks so much for this post!

  6. Hi Kendi, great blog! Your photos are so gorgeous. One thing, as I've just stumbled across you today, I have been wondering exactly what "Kendi Everyday" means? I really am curious and not acting like a jerk here.

    So, did you mean to say "Kendi Every Day"? This would mean a photo of you every single day. However, as you have it, with "everyday" as one word… I'm a bit confused. "Everyday" is an adjective, meaning something along the lines of ordinary, which would make sense, too, but only if your title read "Everyday Kendi." Any other grammar girls out there who think differently?

    I'm wondering, truly, what you meant to say originally.

    Anyway, sorry about that and keep up the great work! — Elizabeth

  7. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the concern on the grammar of my title. Kendi Everyday is what I meant to write. It's not a mistake and not up for discussion.

    When I started my blog just a little over 11 months ago, I wanted to have a blog that expressed what my daily style was. Everyday means daily and although I do not take "daily" outfit pictures I do have everyday or daily style — the style of an everyday or ordinary girl. If you want to get down to the correct or incorrect grammar, your suggestions are correct. And if I were speaking in terms of a sentence I would say every day, but I'm not. I'm speaking in terms of a blog title and that's where I pull creative rank.

    The title is a creative perspective, much like other bloggers, as a general launching point for the blog. This is my interpretation of style, of life, and of blogging. This is what I chose to name my creative venture, may it fit exactly within the realms of english grammar or not, it still holds a lot of meaning to me and to my mission of this blog. I hope this helps your understanding of my title and the mission of my blog.


  8. I have a Nikon D3000. I use it with the lens it came with, the standard 50mm. I want to upgrade to a lens that can handle limited lighting better and zoom better. Any suggestions? Oh and my camera also has autofocus which someone told me can make it tricky to buy a lens for..

  9. here's a question for Brian that I've been trying to research. I snapped a few what I thought were "documentary" photos on my campus last week. We've been discussing the ethics of using such street style photos. Some of my readers outside the US thought it was illegal to use such photos. I began to do what research I could, but it looks to me like this is a grey ethical and legal area. Does he have any insight?

  10. Dear Bryan,
    I really like your pictures and your wife is pretty cool too. Can she come over and play sometime?

  11. I agree! Rebels are AMAZING! it was my first good camera and I've done a lot since then. my mom also has owned a camera shop for 25+ years – so I am EXTREMELY lucky in having been able to try so many different cameras – last weekend – a D60. It was spectacular! I love canon 🙂

  12. I have a Nikon D40, i bought it when I graduated from high school and it's one of my best purchases ever!

    It's a really easy DSLR to use and takes amazing photos 🙂

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