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Should You Buy a Camera for Baby Photos? My Personal Take!

Portrait photo of a baby wearing flower hat

In 2018, a joyous event transformed my life— the birth of my son, Nikita. Looking into his sweet face, I felt a strong desire to capture every fleeting moment. This led me to purchase my first professional camera.

But this wasn’t just about capturing memories; it became a deep journey, even inspiring my photography blog.

In this article, I’ll share why I passionately believe every parent should invest in a compact digital cameraLet’s journey together through the world of cherished childhood snapshots.

7 Reasons Every Parent Should Invest in a Compact Digital Camera

Let’s explore the reasons why having a compact digital camera by your side becomes an irreplaceable asset for every memory-making moment of parenthood.

#1. Immersive Experience Over Casual Snaps

When I pull out my camera to photograph my son, Nikita, the experience becomes transformative. It’s not just about the technical superiority of a dedicated camera over my iPhone; it’s about the entire process. 

Using a camera pushes me to be present in the moment and puts me in the photographer’s mindset. I invest more time composing each shot, finding the ideal angle, and seeking the perfect lighting.

Portrait photo of my son Nikita from our trip to Spain. Baby portrait photo.

It’s akin to the difference between setting up and listening to a vinyl record versus streaming a song on Spotify. With vinyl, you immerse, appreciating every note and nuance, much like how I immerse myself when capturing moments with my camera.

Over the years, countless individuals have complimented the photos I’ve taken of Nikita, often inquiring about the camera and lens I use. 

While it’s entirely possible to capture beautiful images with an iPhone or other smartphones, I’ve personally found that the convenience often translates to less effort and more generic shots. Using a camera, in contrast, transforms the entire endeavor into an artistic pursuit, where every click is a potential masterpiece.

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#2. Hands-On Approach Leading to Artistic Child Photos

When I bring out my camera to capture moments with Nikita, it’s not just about pressing a button; it’s a doorway to deeper creativity.

Unlike the quick filters on a smartphone, a camera grants me the freedom to play with settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, ensuring each shot mirrors exactly what I envisioned. 

This hands-on control lets me create photos that I imagine and also add a personal touch to every frame, sometimes turning ordinary shots into beautiful photos that I am proud of.

nikita talking on toy phone

SIDENOTE:

I must admit that in the beginning, all of these technical aspects like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture felt very intimidating. At times, I was tempted to switch to Auto mode or other semi-auto modes

However, I chose to invest time in learning how to use my camera’s manual mode, and I’m incredibly grateful that I did. 

If you feel that manual mode is too challenging, my advice is: don’t give up. Take your time to grasp it, and you’ll be able to transform your artistic vision into beautiful photos of your child. 

By the way, I’m currently working on an online course focused specifically on teaching how to capture beautiful photos of your children. If you’re interested, please enter your email below to be notified when the course launches.

#3. A Much Better Performance in Low-Light Conditions

Capturing Nikita’s priceless moments often meant photographing under various lighting conditions. Be it his bedtime stories under the soft glow of his room lamp or those twilight outdoor plays, the ambient lighting added a special aura. 

black and white portrait photo of a kid with reflection in the glass

However, typical smartphones would often produce grainy or unclear images in low-light conditions. On the other hand, digital cameras have a much larger sensor size and more sophisticated optics that allow digital cameras to take much better photos in low light conditions, ensuring images remain crisp even when the surroundings are dim.

For instance, my Sony A7III boasts a maximum ISO level of 51200! Naturally, you wouldn’t want to use the maximum ISO setting on your camera since it could result in excessive noise and grain in your pictures. However, with the Sony A7III, I can comfortably increase my ISO to between 4000 and 6000 and still achieve high-quality photos in low-light conditions.

#4. Zoom Capabilities for Candid Photos of Your Baby

Nikita’s journey of growth and exploration was filled with genuine, unscripted moments. These spontaneous actions, be it his excited look at a bouncing ball or his tiny fingers trying to grab a piece of paper, capture the essence of childhood.

Portrait photo of my son Nikita playing with a small red ball in water. Portrait photo of a kid playing.

While I wanted to document every second of it, I also wished to do so without intruding on his experiences. This is where the optical zoom of a dedicated camera proved invaluable. Unlike digital zoom on most phones, which often leads to pixelation, the optical zoom retains image clarity. 

This allowed me to be a distant observer, snapping up pictures from afar without compromising on the quality or the authenticity of the moment.

SIDENOTE:

At the start of my photography journey, I bought the Sony A7III, paired with the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom lens. This combo enabled me to capture candid moments of Nikita beautifully.

My go-to camera is the Fujifilm X100V, which comes with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens. While it’s not the ideal choice for close-up candid shots due to its fixed lens, I absolutely love it for its compact size, lightweight, and sleek retro design. I carry this camera with me 90% of the time, ensuring I’m always ready to seize those precious daily family moments.

FUJIFILM X100V

#5. Superior Autofocus for Your Child’s Every Move

Nikita, like all children, is a bundle of endless energy. His swift movements, from chasing after a ball to those sudden bursts of dance, were delightful yet challenging to capture. Quick and unpredictable actions demand a camera that doesn’t lag behind. With the advanced autofocus system of compact digital cameras, tracking his every move became significantly smoother, resulting in impeccably sharp shots.

Two portrait photos of a kid playing with soap bubbles.

In contrast, while iPhones and other smartphones have made great strides in their camera capabilities, they still fall short in autofocus, especially compared to professional digital cameras. 

The multiple focus points of dedicated cameras ensure unmatched accuracy, minimizing the risk of blurred or out-of-focus images. This precise capturing ensured that every leap, sprint, and twirl of Nikita’s lively childhood was documented with striking clarity, encapsulating the very essence of his dynamic spirit.

The limitations become even more evident in active shots taken from a distance. Where smartphones struggle to maintain clarity and focus, a dedicated camera excels, offering parents a reliable tool to seize those fleeting, precious moments of their child’s play and exploration.

#6. Convincing Bokeh Effects for Baby Portraits

Every parent treasures those classic, timeless portraits of their child. For me, capturing Nikita with a soft, dreamy background, known as the bokeh effect, was essential for these portrait shots. 

Two portrait photos of a baby with strong bokeh effect. Child portrait photography.

While smartphones have begun to mimic this effect, the results from a dedicated camera lens are undeniably superior. 

The size and quality of the camera lens create a natural, aesthetically pleasing bokeh. Coupled with the right lighting, the bokeh effect elevates ordinary portraits to professional-quality keepsakes.

Here are a few examples of Nikitas portrait photos that I took with my Sony A7III and Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens, which is an absolute beast when it comes to portrait photography. 

#7. Greater Depth of Field That Translates to Stunning Child Photos

When photographing children, especially in vibrant settings like parks or parties, backgrounds can sometimes be chaotic. Using a digital camera, I could play with the depth of field to make Nikita the undeniable star of every shot. 

Portrait photo of a small kid

The camera allows for adjustments, helping me blur out distractions and keep the focus on him. This selective focus is not just a technical advantage but an artistic one. 

Whether it’s emphasizing Nikita’s laughter amidst a bustling playground or his concentrated expression during play, controlling the depth of field makes these memories much more visually compelling.

Compact Cameras That I Recommend for Baby Photography

Below are three cameras that I would highly recommend for new parents who would like to capture stunning photos of their children. 

Here are the main criteria that I have used for selecting these specific digital cameras for kids photography:

  • Ease of use –  This is by far the most important factor because if you find it difficult to use your camera, it will simply sit on the shelf covered in dust. A user-friendly interface and intuitive controls can make the difference between capturing a fleeting moment and missing it entirely. Remember, the best camera is the one you’ll actually use regularly.
  • Size and weight – The size and weight of the digital camera for child photography are also very important because the camera needs to be lightweight and portable. Otherwise, you won’t take it with you during the walks outside, missing spontaneous moments and opportunities to capture your child’s candid expressions and playful antics.
  • Price – Cost is undeniably a significant factor for many when selecting a camera for child photography. While investing in quality is vital, it’s essential to find a camera that offers the best value for your budget. Overspending can lead to regrets, especially if the camera goes unused while under-spending might result in missed photographic opportunities due to subpar performance. It’s all about striking the right balance between quality and affordability.

Based on the above criteria as well as extensive research and personal experience, here is the list of the best cameras for child photography:

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Amazon rating: 4.7 out of 5, based on 1725 individual reviews

Sony Alpha A6600

Amazon rating: 4.7 out of 5, based on 534 individual reviews

Fujifilm XT30 II

Amazon rating: 4.5 out of 5, based on 104 individual reviews

SIDENOTE:

At the moment of writing this article (10.09.2023), I own three different cameras:

  1. Fujifilm X100V – My daily compact digital camera with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens. I use this camera 80% of the time.
  2. Sony 7C – My professional camera that I use for shooting videos and occasional photos when I need a zoom lens and more megapixels.
  3. Sony A7III – My wife, Alina is using this camera for her product photography work.

So, why am I not recommending these cameras for baby photography? 

The reason why I haven’t included these cameras in my list is because:

  • Fujifilm X100V is an extremely popular camera right now and it is very hard to get a hold of one, it is a pretty expensive camera and it has a fixed 35mm equivalent focal length, meaning that you cannot change this lens and it isn’t a zoom lens either. 
  • Sony 7C is a great camera, but it is also quite expensive (~$1600 for the body only), it is larger and heavier than the cameras I have recommended above. I personally don’t use my Sony cameras very often for taking photos of my son Nikita, I mostly use them for shooting videos and taking photos for my primary job. 
  • Sony A7III is also a fantastic camera, it was actually the first professional camera that I purchased in 2018 when my son Nikita was born and I’ve used it non-stop for more than 3 years. However, it is a pretty bulky and heavy camera and I honestly don’t think that many new parents will want to carry around this type of camera to snap photos of their children.
fujifilm x100v sony 7c

Conclusion

Taking photos of your child’s special moments is so important. While many of us use our phones to take pictures, a good digital camera, like the one I use for Nikita, can give much better results. These cameras capture clear and beautiful images that can help keep memories of your child’s growth and fun times.

Buying a good camera is not just about taking pictures; it’s about making sure these memories look their best. A camera can take better photos in different lights, capture fast movements, and let you play with how the photo looks.

Think about how fast kids grow up. Using a good camera helps you keep these memories in the best way possible. I hope you enjoy taking photos of your child’s special moments as much as I do. Happy picture taking!

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Aleksandrs Karevs

Aleksandrs Karevs

Hi, my name is Aleksandrs and I am a full-stack digital marketer passionate about digital photography. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V. Read full story here.

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Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Disclosure: OHMYCAMERA.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to companies from affiliate programs at no additional cost to you.

Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

ARTICLE BY

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Disclosure: OHMYCAMERA.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to companies from affiliate programs at no additional cost to you.

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Simply enter your email below to receive a FREE eBook filled with actionable tips for immediate photography improvements. 

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