Looking for a decent camera + lens to take high-quality photos for your online dating profile? This is a quick and dirty guide to grabbing yourself a DSLR camera and lens that’ll do the job nicely. You don’t need the latest, most expensive camera – just a solid DSLR with a quality lens.
If you plan on taking photos by yourself, you’ll also need a tripod and remote trigger. Skip these if you’re going to get a friend to take photos of you.
If you want the short and sweet version, here’s the exact camera + lens I have. The reason I recommend them is I’ve been using this camera + lens since 2012, and it’s all you’ll ever need. Sure, splash out and buy a more expensive setup if you want (do your own research). But if you just want to be told which camera to buy without having to think about it, buy this camera + lens (heads up, I may get a small commission if you use my links to buy these):
The DSLR camera body you buy doesn’t matter all that much (it’s the lens that matters). Buy the Nikon D7000 camera body (only buy the camera body, without any “kit lens” included. Lenses that come with the camera are never as good for taking portraits.)
A new one on Amazon can be bought here. I recommend buying a second-hand one though (click here for a list of second-hand ones), as you’ll save a tonne of money.
Used is perfectly fine for camera bodies – I’ve had my camera for 9 years and it still works perfectly.
This doesn’t come with a lens, so make sure you buy the lens below as well or you won’t be able to take any photos.
Buy the Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 AF D lens.
Buy it on Amazon here new here. I recommend buying this new, not used – you won’t save much if you buy a used one, and lenses can be more easily damaged than the camera body. So a used one may have scratches/dust which may show up in your photos.
The 50mm fixed focal range of this lens is perfect for portraits. The aperture opens all the way up to f1.8 (don’t worry if you don’t know what aperture is), so you’ll get that awesome blurry background effect in your photos.
Again, let me make it clear: You need to buy both the camera and the lens above. The camera doesn’t come with a lens.
Why this camera & lens? Because I have personal experience with them – this is the exact camera + lens combo I’ve used myself since 2012. I’ve used this combo for my professional photography – this camera+lens will get the job done. Pretty much every single photo you’ll see on this website was taken with this camera + lens. And if there’s anything you’re not sure about in using the camera, I can easily help out in the comments section below.
Other people have suggested other camera options, but without having tried them myself, I can’t endorse them. One of my principles with this website is to only ever recommend something if I have personal, hands-on experience with it – I can’t in good conscience tell you to spend money on something I haven’t spent money on myself.
If you plan on taking photos of yourself, you’ll need a tripod to sit your camera on.
Buy this one. It’s very close to the one I have, and significantly less than I paid for mine.
It’s very affordable and gets the job done. It unfolds to a max height of 169cm (5ft5), is lightweight and durable, and packs up small enough to fit in a backpack.
If you’re taking photos of yourself, you’ll also need a cheap remote trigger.
Buy this one – it’s the exact one I have.
You can even half-press the button to focus on your subject (just like you would half-press the actual shutter button on the camera itself).
I’ve used this remote trigger for about 5 years now, and it’s still going strong. I use it for every single photo I’ve ever taken of myself. It takes AAA batteries, so make sure you carry a couple spare in your backpack. Just make sure to turn them off when not in use – I’ve drained a few batteries by accidentally leaving them on for a few days.
How to Use Your New Camera:
Beginners guides to get you started:
- Nikon D7000 Tutorial – A Fast Start Guide to Your DSLR
- Nikon D7000 Tutorial: All Settings, Menus, Functions by Carlos Erban
- The dPS Ultimate Guide to Photography for Beginners
- The Ultimate Guide to Learning how to use Your first DSLR
- 21 Creative Self Portrait Ideas for Photographers
- How To Take a Self-Portrait
- 10 Most Common Self Portrait Photography Mistakes
- 7 of the Best Poses
- A Photographer’s Guide to Posing Men In Portraits
- How to Improve Your Self-Portrait Photography
- 18+ More Poses
- 100 Seriously Cool Self-Portraits (scroll down the page a bit for the actual examples).
- 14 Tips for Taking Creative Self-Portraits
- My own personal photography portfolio (feel free to copy ideas I’ve done).
Also shoot your photos in RAW mode, not JPEG, as the photo quality will be a lot higher. RAW is a setting you can change in your camera’s settings menu.
Photos Taken with this Combo:
Here’s a few photos I’ve taken with this camera + lens:
Pretty much every other photo I have on this site was taken with the same camera+lens combo.
I’m a photographer so I know what I’m doing. A better example is from two of my mates who I’ve recommended this combo to. Both of them had NO experience using a DSLR, and taught themselves by taking literally thousands of photos. Here’s some shots they’ve both done:
So if two complete amateurs can take great photos with just a couple months practice, you sure as hell can too.
Any questions? Drop them in the comments section below.