UPDATED:

UPDATE 10th July 2020: I’ve now split this guide into two options: A super cheap budget DSLR, or a much better DSLR that takes better photos and makes shooting photos of yourself a hell of a lot simpler.


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.

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.

Option 1: Budget Combo
Option 2: Better Combo (RECOMMENDED)
Tripod
Remote Trigger
How to Use Your New Camera
Quick Buying Checklist/Summary

Don’t stress, I’ll have a final checklist at the end telling you exactly what to buy.


Option 1: Budget Combo

This isn’t the option I recommend, since the actual taking of the photos will be 100 times harder (this camera lacks automatic face-detection and automatic-focusing). But it is cheap, and the photos will look 20 times better than a smartphone.

I owned this camera + lens combo myself from 2012 to early 2020 – they do the job if you’re tight on money. Every single photo you see here, was taken with this setup. (Heads up, I may get a small commission if you use my links to buy these):

Camera Body:

Buy the Nikon D7000 camera body (only buy the camera body, without any “kit lens” included. Most lenses that come pre-bundled with the camera aren’t as good for taking portraits.)

I am way more into my camera than any man should reasonably be.

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 owned this camera for over 8 years. DSLRs last a long time.

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.

Review of the camera body.


Lens:

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.

Read a review of the lens.


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.

Like I said, I used this camera + lens from 2012-2020. They get the job done. However, it’s nowhere near as good as the camera below – particularly for taking photos of yourself; you will have to take 10 times as many photos before you get some with perfect focus where you look great. I’ll go into more detail below.


Option 2: Recommended Combo

This is pretty much the camera I own now. (I own the Canon EOS “R”, not the “RP” – but for our intents and purposes they’re basically the same cameras).

There’s 100 reasons I recommend this next camera over the older one. The biggest reason of all is the camera automatically detects and focuses on your face – without you doing anything. So you can stick your camera on a tripod, take a bunch of photos (even photos of you walking towards the camera, which is a nightmare on the old camera) and every single shot will be perfectly in focus.

You can also hand your camera to a friend or a complete stranger and get them to take photos of you – and you don’t even have to explain to them how to make sure you’re in focus. The camera will handle that for you.

There’s a bunch more:

  • You can hold the shutter button down and rapid-fire shots FAR quicker than the Nikon above – great for doing those street shots where you’re walking. I always say, “Just take 300 photos of yourself and some of them will happen to turn out perfectly) – this makes it way easier. This new camera sounds like a machine gun when it’s taking photos.
  • It has an LCD screen at the front so you can see what the image will look like as you’re taking it (you don’t have to hold the camera up to your eye and peer through the viewfinder).
  • The LCD screen flips out and can rotate to face towards you (perfect for taking portraits of yourself). You can actually see what you look like as you’re taking the photo, so you can adjust your position, fix your clothes, see what you look like when you smile. No more “take a photo, go check what it looks like, try again, go check what the new one looks like” – you can adjust on the fly, saving you HOURS of time.
  • Image quality is MUCH better because this is a full-frame camera (the old Nikon above is cropped sensor; so backgrounds aren’t as blurry and nice vs the newer camera). Photos you take will just look better.
  • Images are sharper. The autofocus is MUCH more accurate on the new camera – on my old camera, no matter how hard I tried, the focus wasn’t quite perfect (due to the way the autofocus system worked on that camera). This one is handling all the focus for you, using the face-detection algorithm. Focus is always perfect, 100% of the time.
  • Send photos to your phone via bluetooth. You have no idea how fucking cool this is until you start using it – now, every single time you want to just take a quick snap of something to send to someone, you can use your high-quality camera and get amazing photos, and then they’re on your phone in an instant. No more shitty smartphone shots of anything, ever. You can even do this automatically – backing up every photo you take, straight onto your phone.
  • You’ll take far less shots overall on the new one – on the old camera, you have to mess around with the settings a lot more and try and make sure you’re in focus. Most of your shots won’t be in focus, especially if you move even a tiny bit. On the new camera, because it automatically focuses on your eyes no matter how much you move, you’ll always be perfectly in focus in every shot. No more “Take 100 shots and hope a couple of them are in focus”.
  • Video – tonnes of people use this as a blogging/video camera (the video on the old Nikon camera sucks). 1080p, perfect continual autofocus, image stabilisation, the camera itself is smaller and weighs less so it’s easier to hold. Not to mention the LCD screen makes it a BILLION times easier to frame shots – you don’t have to look through the viewfinder. You can hold the camera wherever the hell you want, and look at the LCD screen.
  • You can use the camera as a webcam on your computer – so you get professional looking 1080p video quality with that nice blurry background. My coaching clients have all told me my Skype calls look WAY better now that I’m using this camera.
  • Can plug the camera straight into pc and pull the images off (on old camera, you have to take out the SD card, and use an SD card reader).

It’s not even remotely a fair fight – the old camera was released in 2010, and the new one 2019. There’s a decade of technology and advancements between them; would you expect a phone from 9 years ago to be decent compared to one now?

For practical purposes, you’ll end up taking far less photos and your photoshoots will be a lot more fun and a lot less frustrating. Autofocus really is a game-changer; as is the ability to rotate the LCD screen and see what you’re going to look like before you take the photo.

Camera Body:

Buy the Canon EOS RP with adapter. This link has a lens adapter included – this adapter is REQUIRED in order to use the lens I’m recommending below. This link comes with the adapter included. (However, if for some reason you buy the camera without the adapter, you can buy the adapter separately here.)

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.

Read a review of this camera.


Lens:

First make sure you got the kit above that comes with the adapter, then buy the Canon 50mm f/1.8 EF II lens here.

This is a ridiculously good lens – it takes incredibly amazing photos, especially portraits.

Read a review of this lens.


Other Stuff You’ll Need

SD Card:

You’ll need an SD card to take photos – you can’t shoot without one. If you don’t have one already, buy this one.


Tripod

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 works for both cameras.

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.


Remote Trigger

If you’re taking photos of yourself, you’ll also need a cheap remote trigger.

^ I know both those links above look like the same remote, but they’re not. One of them ONLY works for Nikon, the other one ONLY works for Canon, so make sure you buy the correct remote.

Note: If you buy the recommended camera, you CAN use an app on your phone as a remote trigger. However, it’s alower (there’s a slight delay between hitting the button and the camera taking the photo) – hence I recommend the very cheap remote listed above. That has zero delay – you click the button, the photo is taken instantly.

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:

Posing/photo guides:

And some quick tips from me:

  • Shoot at the lowest f-stop number you can (usually f/1.8). The lower the number, the more of that sexy “blurry background effect” you get (known as “low depth of field”).
    
  • Shoot vertical (turn the camera sideways) – NOT horizontal. Tinder crops photos vertically; as do most of the other dating apps.
    
  • Don’t stand too far back. Most guys make the mistake of standing way too far back. Stand closer, so you fill up more of the shot (you don’t want huge gaps of empty space above/below your head in the photo). Not to mention the closer you are, the blurrier the background,which looks even better.
    
  • Take a BUNCH of photos. Literally just hold down the shutter button and rapid-fire 50 photos at a time. That way you increase the chances of one of them having a nice natural-looking pose. If you just shoot 1 photo at a time, it’ll look “staged” and “posed” (because you literally have to pose for the photo, since you can only take 1 at a time).
    
  • Always shoot in RAW, not JPG. It’s a setting in your camera’s menu. RAW photos are higher quality, especially if you/someone else edit the photos in Photoshop.


Photos Taken with these Cameras:

Here’s a few photos I’ve taken with both cameras and lenses.

Pretty much every other photo I have on this site was taken with either the old (budget) camera, or the new (recommended) camera.

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.


Quick Buying Checklist

Budget Option:

  1. Camera: Nikon D7000 (or buy a used one for cheaper).
  2. Lens: Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 AF D
  3. SD Card: SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card
  4. Tripod (optional, if you plan on taking photos of yourself): Neewer Carbon Fiber 66 inches Tripod
  5. Remote Trigger (optional, if taking photos of yourself): Yongnuo RF-603N II

Recommended Option:

  1. Camera: Canon EOS RP with adapter
  2. Adapter: The link above automatically comes with this adapter. (However, if for some reason you buy the camera without the adapter, you can buy the adapter separately here.)
  3. Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
  4. SD Card: SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card
  5. Tripod (optional, if you plan on taking photos of yourself): Neewer Carbon Fiber 66 inches Tripod
  6. Remote Trigger (optional, if taking photos of yourself): YongNuo RF-603 II C1.


Any questions? Drop them in the comments section below.


Yo, Andy from Kill Your Inner Loser here. I’m an Aussie guy who was a depressed, suicidal loser who hated my existence. I managed to turn it all around & build a pretty cool life - I killed my inner loser. It’s my mission to get you to kill your inner loser too.