The Portrait and Wedding Photographers Tool Kit // Part 2 : Camera Selection

Here’s our complete guide and camera recommendations, based on what we (and other pro photographers we know) are using for weddings, portraits and family sessions.

Before we dive into the guide, check out the quick table below, summarizing our most recommended camera models.

For recommended lenses you have a dedicated guide here.

Most Recommended Cameras For Professional Wedding Photography and Portraits





Full Frame DSLR –
Top pro camera for weddings and portraits

Full Frame DSLR –
Pro camera (our runner up)

Budget DSLR camera

Pro budget DSLR camera

Pro budget DSLR camera

The first thing that I want to mention is that if you currently own an SLR camera DO NOT immediately go and sell your camera in order to purchase one of the cameras here. Just because I perhaps don’t mention your camera in this article doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for portrait or wedding photography. You may just want to keep this article in mind for future purchase, or upgrades.

Second I’m going to try to make this article as future-proof as possible, a difficult task considering the constantly changing camera market, but hopefully you’ll get a better idea of what to look for as cameras change.

Canon vs. Nikon

Let’s just open up that can of worms right away.

I think the more realistic battle would be Canon & Nikon vs. Everyone Else.

It so happens that all of our small team here at Photography Concentrate are shooting Canon, but I honestly don’t have that strong a preference for one or the other.

But really, both make great cameras. Some years one manufacturer is on top in terms of features, and the next year things change. Prices are generally close. It’s not a big deal.

So, if you’re looking for a DSLR you’ll likely end up going with either Canon or Nikon.

Of course other manufacturers exist (Sony, Pentax, Olympus) but they currently occupy such a small market share comparatively that if you’re looking to make long term investments (like lenses) then the wisest decision is going with a manufacturer who dominates the market (at least in my opinion).

The camera bodies you choose will be outdated within a few years, but the lenses you choose will last a lot longer.

Consider them investments, and pick a company that is stable, and will still support those lenses in a decade.

What and Why?

For wedding and portrait photography a camera that works beautifully is the Canon 5D mk IV.

I would say that right now it’s sitting on top of the market for wedding and portrait photography mainly for it’s resolution (30mp) as well as it’s ability to capture 4K video.

Awesome Things About This Camera:

  1. Hi-res files – There is plenty of room to crop images as you please!
  2. High ISO – High ISO files look amazing (especially when shot in RAW and processed using Lightroom 6). This really expands low light shooting possibilities.
  3. Full Frame sensor – When we started shooting full frame with the original 5D we saw a huge leap in the quality of our photography. Images just looked crisper, the depth of field was shallower, and the shooting experience (looking through the larger viewfinder) was much better. Check out this article for a look at different sensor sizes and how it affects the image
  4. Video – Dual Pixel AF make autofocus while shooting video incredible smooth, fast, and accurate
  5. Photo Autofocus is fast!
  6. Size – Lauren loves using a camera without an attached battery grip. It makes the camera lighter, less imposing, and less noticeable.
  7. Build Quality – A super durable, reliable camera.

Not-So Awesome Things About This Camera:

  1. Price: This camera is a bit expensive for the feature set it offers.

If you’re looking for a relatively equivalent Nikon camera then you would be looking at the Nikon D750.

How low can you go?

You don’t need a Canon 5D mk IV to start making great photos! While I think it’s the best option for professional wedding and portrait photographers, if you’re just starting out you’ll probably want to ease into it. Gear is expensive!

Not to worry, there are a couple options to get you going:

Canon: Canon’s Rebel series are their entry level dSLRs. I’ll let you just follow that link, but rest assured that this is an insanely feature full camera for it’s price point.

If you’re looking for the next step up I would suggest the Canon 80D.

These cameras have similar features. I would say the biggest difference is the actual size of the camera. The 70D is a larger, more pro feeling camera. The 70D also features two dedicated adjustment wheels which makes it easier to control both aperture and shutter speed when shooting in manual.

Nikon: For Nikon the equivalent cameras would be the D5300 for an entry level and the D7100 for the more pro entry level.

How pro can you go?

When it comes to wedding and portrait photography you can go big. Really big.

However, it really isn’t necessary. Cameras like the 5DMKIV can handle all the challenges of a wedding and then some. You will definitely be reaching deep into your pockets to produce the money necessary for these work horse cameras.

There are, of course, advantages to the more expensive cameras.

What you’ll end up with is better build quality, faster frames per second, better autofocus, and a larger camera.

Those are all great things, but can be overkill for portraits and weddings. These cameras are more suited to landscape, sports, commercial and fashion photography.

Canon: The 1D X Mark II is Canon’s pro sports shooter solution (14 fps!).

Nikon: The D5 is Nikon’s pro sports camera, and the D810 is their flagship camera.

The four above cameras are in the $3000-$7500 range. Yikes! That’s a hefty price-tag, but if you can afford, by all means. You’ll enjoy it :)

Can Film cameras be used for wedding and portrait photography?

This post was limited to digital SLRs because I think they work out the best for weddings and portraits.

Digital provides a versatility that is advantageous for professional people photography.

But that doesn’t mean that your options are limited to just digital SLRs.

Now more than ever is the perfect time to experiment with film (35mm, medium format, and large format), micro 4/3s, camera phones, anything that can take a photo!

While digital will always be necessary, finding a mixture will help you stay creative and have fun!

Important Tip #1: Rent Before You Buy

It’s a great idea to test out new lenses and cameras before you buy them:

If you’re looking to purchase a lens or camera new check out B&H for the lowest price around! Amazon is also an excellent place to purchase camera gear from.

Important Tip #2: Find Lightly Used Second Hand Gear

Buying a heavily used pro gear isn’t that great idea, but if you manage to find lightly used or refurbished cameras, in a reputable online store such as B&H, it’s the best value in our opinion.

Along with a warranty, return policy and the convenience of ordering online, there’s no reason to risk buying from classifieds or less solid sources, especially with the price tags that go with pro equipment!

Here’s a screenshot of the rating system used by B&H to determine the apparent condition of the item:

The used section of B&H

If you missed the first post in this series you can find it here: The Portrait and Wedding Photographers Tool Kit // Part 1 : Lens Selection

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

Extremely Essential Camera Skills

Extremely Essential Camera Skills

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70 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)

  2. Michael Messing says:

    The 7D has one other big advantage over the Rebel: it has a much more advanced focusing system. Outside of the 1D series cameras, the 7D is the only Canon body that has a better focusing system. All the rest (Rebel series, 60D, 5D) use pretty much the same 9-point focusing system.

  3. Hi Rob and Lauren,

    First of all, thank you so much for all of your advice and explainations that are always so clear and to the point. I keep going back to reading various articles once in a while to remind me or to re-inspire me. It is a scary time for me as I am about to launch my photography full time in a new country (I am originally from France and after spending time in the UK and Dubai, i have relocated in Asia). I own a Canon 60D which I love, I am still at crop frame but hopefully I will be successful enough to be able to afford full frame at some point! I was just curious to know what your take was on 60D as I value very much your experience and opinions. In regards to lenses, I have at the moment a canon 50mm f/1.8 which I use a lot for portraits and a tamron 18-250 mm which I have used for portraits as well and has given me some really good shots. I do get frustrated at times with the lack of sharpness so I do look forward to using more prime lenses and a full frame camera when time allows.
    Thank you for your feedback and your posts, keep it up!

    • Hey Caroline! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site :) I haven’t personally used a 60D so I can’t comment on it extensively but it looks like a great camera. We started out with 10D’s, 20D’s, 30D’s, and 40D’s – so we’ve worked through that lineup quite a bit. Those cameras served us well! They we’re easy to control, and produced great quality results.

      I’ve eyed the 60D recently for it’s tilt-able screen which looks great for video use. It’s also quite reasonably priced for the features it offers.

      For the longterm though you’ll probably want to keep a full frame camera in mind (as you build a collection of lenses).

      • Hi Rob, thanks for your reply. The tilt screen has actually served me to get some great shots as well in situations where it was impossible to be “behind” the camera as such! You can get some interesting perspectives!

        Advice taken on the camera and lenses. Thanks!

  4. This is so helpful. Thank you. I am going to open a studio soon and I was wondering which type of camera to buy but now you have me thinking. I have a D90 now but I need a full frame I can tell the difference when i am framing. I also hate how whenever I take the pictures it looks right in my viewfinder but there is more background then I saw in the view finder then when I view the image. Does having a full frame help with this?

  5. i want to get a camera, am new to the shooting business andiwas advised to get a nikon d3200. i have read about it, but i still need an expert opinion. i will be going into fashion photography, not exactly on a huge scale. so what is your advise tome

  6. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the article. As i am new and just venturing out in the world of professional photography, could you suggest which camera family i should go for Pro DSLR Canon or Nikon. As you are aware that photography involves a lot of investment and its wise that i chose a good body, and build a array of lenses to go with it. I am focusing on Wildlife as well as potrait photography for the time being. Hopefully one day i would be shooting for Vogue, Nat Geo etc. Your able advice and guidance is requested.

  7. Hi Rob.
    I want to buy a new DSLR Please tell which DSLR Brand is best Nikon or Canon because i have never experience before any DSLR…! what you think about Nikon D600 and Canon 7D which one is better…My Budget is about $2,000.
    Thanks you. :)

    • Rob Lim says:

      Hi Talha!

      I think both Canon and Nikon make great cameras. We use Canon just because we started out with them and now have so much invested in the lenses and gear.

      For $2000 you should consider a full frame camera like the Canon 6D or Nikon D600

  8. Rita Carvalho says:

    Hi Rob,

    is Canon 6D a good camera for Portrait Photography and Events? I’m just starting out and still thinking what is the best option to purchase, but from what I’ve been reading, this seems to be a very good camera.

    Rita C.

    • Hi Rita!

      We’ve been using the 6D exclusively for the past 6 months and love it! It’s Canon’s most affordable full frame camera and performs excellently. It doesn’t have the additional autofocus points, fast frames per second, or weather sealing that the 5D3 has, but it’s also a lot cheaper. I think it’s a great option for portrait photography and events!

  9. Hi Rob
    I am looking for a camera that takes great portraits and video. My budget is around 1000, and what is the best lens that goes with it under this price?

    • Hi Yasser!

      Thanks for your question. You could check out the 60D with 18-135mm IS lens. That will be a good combo for video. Then for a great starter lens for portraits you could pick up a 50mm f/1.8.

      I should mentioned that almost any camera can be used to take great video and portraits at this point. The above suggestions are probably the best options to fit your price range. You could save some cash by buying used, or looking at the Canon rebel series of cameras (which are still dSLR cameras).

  10. Hi Rob,

    I want to buy a Camera for Wedding Photography with faster shutter speed and great zoom.

    My budget is around 15-20K INR.

    Please suggest me a good one with some good features.


  11. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for all the info! Very useful! I have my T3i for a couple of years and am planning on the next one… :D
    I try clicking on the “HDSLR video to create moving portraits” article but it’s not available anymore… :(
    Do you suggest another video about it?
    Thanks again!! :D

  12. Thanks for these tips:-) I currently own a Canon EOS 550D and a 60D. The lenses that I have include a 18-55mm IS, 70-300mm IS and a 100mm macro 2.8L
    I really want to get into portrait and wedding photography and was wondering which lens you would recommend. I am (sadly) on a budget:-(

  13. Nikon D610 or D800 ? Thankyou.

  14. HI rob,
    I’m brand new at this photography thing, i really am falling in love with it and its time for me to buy a camera. I tend to do more portraits, head shots and dance photos, But it would also might be nice to grow into something like shooting a wedding so I’m looking for a camera that has fast autofocus, something where the f stop remains the same on the zoom, probably a 85-100mm lens. Anything you could perhaps recommend? I was looking at the EOS 70D or the 6D. What do you think?-Zach

  15. Sollte ich lieber eine Sony Kamera kaufen, oder keine Marken Kamera?

  16. Hi , im a film person I guess so what would be a decent film slr to start with? I have a fujica stx1 that works great but what is one you might recommend?

  17. Currently own a d5100. Any inputs what this camera is good for and or capable with?

  18. M confused. M confused between Nikon d5200 and canon 60d. I have query tat how is Nikon dslr’s auto focus compared to canon dslr’s? Please help me!! N tell something about Nikon d5200.

    • Hi teas
      I have d5200 and my friend is using 60d .
      I think autofocus on my camera is fast but the accuracy is better on canon.
      D5200 is good for beginners.

  19. SARTAJ HUSSAIN says:

    Hello Rob Lim!
    Which Nikon DSLR camera is comparable with Canon EOS 600D? Should i prefer Nikon D3200 on Canon EOS 600D? Please guide me. I’m bit confused what camera should be selected…!

  20. Which one would you recommend between D7100 & 70D for Portrait and Wedding Photography ? Since it’ll be my first mid-range camera, I’ll also be buying my own lenses, so I’ll have to stick with that brand. (I used both of them and felt comfortable with both of them, reason why looking for pro advise)

  21. Thanks for sharing this info. My challenge is that I need to photograph portraits and figures to use for my paintings. I paint realistically and need good detail and color. I’m not so good with technology. Any recommendations?

  22. Julio Algarra says:

    Hello Rob, Nikon 3200 or Canon T5?

  23. Is canon 6D any good ? or should I get canon 7d mark 2?

  24. Rob,

    Do you have any suggestions about the Canon Rebel, T5, EOS? Im on a budget of $500 -$600 to shoot babies, portraits.
    Thank you

  25. Hii guys i am looking for big wedding photography kamera s Price is Not a issue you can me explan wich kamera should i purchase and tell me the wich wholesaler sale the this kameras thank you so muCh

  26. Hi Rob,

    I love reading your articles. I am not a Pro Photographer but just a hobbyist and will only do it when time permits. I have a day job that I think I can’t afford to quit if I’ll go full time on photography. Anyways, what I can suggest to those beginners or let me say… to the people that who just found or discover their passion in photography a very big welcome to photography world. Photography is awesome. Believe me! :)

    It doesn’t matter what kind, type or brand of camera you are using as long as you know how to use it. Important thing is you are familiar with all the knobs and controls, DOF, exposure etc… to capture the shot. Elements & lights are very important too when doing landscape photography… make sure you know at least to use the MANUAL instead of AUTO function. I am talking all of that for the non-Pro level. But when it comes to Pro level that would be a different ball game. For me, Pro level are those persons who are making money for their photography (i.e. wedding, event, sports photographer) they need to produce what the payee are expecting for. But like me a hobbyist or beginners… it is much better to concentrate on how to capture a nice image or how to work with lights.

    Enjoy what camera you have at the moment and explore the capabilities it can give to your images. I myself is using a Canon rebel T3i (wife’s gift) with lenses 18-55(kit-lens), 50 mm 1.8 and 70-200 f4 IS L (expensive than my camera, bought it second hand)

    By the way. All Photographer’s need to invest/learn post processing and those software’s are not cheap either :)

    Here’s some of my work:

  27. Hi Rob
    At first thanks for this article
    Next i want your help :
    I want to buy nikon d7200 and maybe i will go on in a photography studio so i will need a camera for portrait specially outside portrait , is this camera usefull for me or i buy canon ?

  28. I’m looking into portrait / wedding photography but I’m new to
    SLR’s… I was given a used Nikon coolpix p100 this summer and I’ve been
    getting used to manual settings but am SO lost on what a good cheaper end investment to
    start with would be. If you have any suggestions I’d appreciate it!
    and would you say black friday and cyber Monday are good times to purchase

  29. suggest me what the best dslr for indoor photostudio in low bugget

  30. Hello good reading here. I was surprised I didnt see sony on here. I’m looking for just one pro camera to do these four things: fashion, portraits, weddings & pinup. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks and good luck :)

  31. Thank you for the great info. I’m curious if you can give me your opinion on this model.

    Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm Lenses

  32. Rob, I use a 7d Canon but my pictures don’t seem crisp. Could my camera be out of adjustment? If so any ideas on where I could send it and have it looked at?
    Thank you for your time.

    Darrell Morgan

    • Hey Darrell,

      It’s possible it could be your lens, rather than your camera body. I would try testing you camera with a few different lenses first before trying to send it somewhere for repair.

  33. Hi
    I have a DSLR which I was recently bought. The model is Nikon D5200. Is it good for wedding photography?

  34. Hi Can you tell me if the Nikon 3200 is good for wedding Photography or studio Photography

  35. Hi, I want to purchase a Camera for Fashion and modeling photography and now i have select a Canon 1200D (Rebel) is that perfect ? Please reply bro…

  36. dushyant says:

    Confused between
    Nikon d7200 and canon 760d for fashion and wedding photography….

  37. It’s time for a big update here! Sony is kicking both Canon and Nikon’s asses now!
    Sorry for the Canon and Nikon’s lovers. But Sony is the uncontested leader when it comespecially to signal processing and now offers better features than the competition.

    • Rob Lim says:

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We’ve been following mirrorless for years (having owned the first Sony NEX camera and later on a Sony a7). There’s certainly a lot of advantages with mirrorless (Sony in particular), but I feel that when it comes to shooting professionally that mirrorless really isn’t the best choice yet.

      One advantage of DSLRs is how much they just “get out of the way”. Maybe it seems silly, but when shooting a DSLR I never really have to think about the process of using the camera, with all the mirrorless cameras I’ve used there always seems to be something that gets in the way (poor EVF brightness or refresh rate, slower autofocus speed, ergonomics, button placement and how quickly they make adjustments – the list goes on).

      I can get over the small issues with mirrorless when shooting for fun, but I think the responsibility of professional work requires a different approach.

  38. hi
    I want to buy a professional camera but I have no experience. my aim is to have great portrait photography with good focus and high resolution and I want to spend around 500 euro. can you help me.

  39. Love love love the information! Very helpful!

    Side note: it’s = it is; whereas its is just that. Your site had several “it’s” when it should just be “its”. For whatever it’s worth :)

  40. Greetings Rob

    What camera could be used for professional photography in all domains,not necessary under water

    My budget is 5000$

  41. Bob Marley says:

    Thanks Rob, I learnt a lots from your article and the comments sections too. Great job

  42. I got nikon dslr 5300 i am begginer just facing issue with it cuz its fstop is 3.5.. I m thinkg to upgrade lens but my friends recoomend me to update camera.. My budget is 1000$ i dunno what camera i should buy i am in to fashion photography any suggestions ?

  43. Alexandra Simon says:

    Hi, I was reading your post and need the help of someone who knows what they are talking about . I just purchased the canon T6i which comes with a standard lens and I’m not really familiar with the photography world so my question is what would be a good relatively inexpensive lens to get for portrait photography ? If it matters , I’m just a mom wanting to take some great pictures of my son and don’t want to spend a lot . Thank you

  44. Hi I have question.. I am looking to upgrade .. how is the sonyA7, for baby photography and weddings …

  45. Nathaly Tabares says:

    Hi! Great! Thank you for your article. I just started with photography and I have a Canon Rebel T5 bundle (2 lenses), but I would like to focus on portraits, weddings, babies, engagements, seniors, etc, but I feel that those lenses don’t help me a lot. I want to achieve a more professional and sharp image. I’ll really appreciate if you can help guiding me in which accessories (camera, lenses, flashes, everything) do I need to buy in order to take great photos and start my business. I hope you can help me.
    Thank you so much again.

  46. Hi alll I have Canon 7D with 40mm lens is that suitable for wedding and portraits

  47. Hi Rob. Greetings!
    Wonderful post and really helped. I am just a beginner and I hold a canon eos 50d with a 17-85 lens. Will this be good enough for me to start with wedding photography or do I need to upgrade my camera. Also suggest on what other lens do I need to go for?. Thanks in advance

  48. hey. I want to know about canon 700d

  49. hi, i am looking for affordable camera for wedding and portraits.. is there anything you can recommend? for only 20,000 pesos?

  50. I have Sony a6000 camera.. Can you suggest me best lens for portrait and videos

  51. Hi There, I’m very new to photography & I would like to buy a DSLR for personal and photo studio purpose. I’ve SONY ALPHA 6300 & NIKON D5600 in my mind. Besides I’ve not seen SONY cameras at any photo studios.

    My humble request you please guide me buying a suitable camera for my requirement.

  52. I Think Nikon is surely the leader in producing the best DLSRs. The perfect lens with crystal clear glass surely make it an edge above canon.

  53. Hi. Rob.i’am partha….
    I wanna buy a sami pro dslr which is better for me..?
    Plz tell me….but im beganer…i love photography….like poit…

  54. Brittani Walker says:

    Hi Rob,

    I am looking to get a better camera! I had a Nikon D3200 a few years ago! I am looking for a camera to shoot portraits, sports events, and events such as wedding. Can you pleas help me decide which camera would be great for all of these! Thank you so much in advance!


  55. Hamza hassan says:

    Hi Rob!
    Thanks for sharing such an informative article.
    I aim to be a photographer and for that I need a sincere advice for which camera and lens should I go for. My place of interest is the wedding or event photography, and the camera I am thinking about is CANON EOS 750D. What do you think about it and kindly recommend me a suitable lens for that . I’ll be really thankful, thanks for your time

    Hamza hassan

  56. Thank you so much for your articles. They are so helpful. I’m so glad you guys want to share your knowledge with everyone. My question is, do you know if the Canon 80D has “feature assistant” like the Canon Rebels have?

  57. Hi Rob Lim,
    Too much informative article mate you should write daily basis . I’m a photographer, so I need a best photography camera, I want to buy Canon 80D. can you personally suggest me which one is the best for photography camera?

    Thank you.

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