Digital Marketing, Social Media

DSLR Camera Basics | Photo Marketing Series

You may have been producing your social media image content with your phone for a while now. It’s looking great and your followers are reacting well! But are you ready to give your images a little boost? Diving into the world of digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) photography will get you there.

Today you’ll learn about:
DSLR camera bodies
DSLR lenses
Editing your images

Camera Bodies

There is a wide variety of DSLR cameras and lenses to choose from, so where do you start? Canon or Nikon? Crop or Full Frame body? Prime or zoom lenses? It all depends on the look you’re going for.

First off, let me say that Canon and Nikon are both great brands. It’s honestly personal preference which one you go with. One is not better than the other.

When it comes to your camera body (I say camera body because, for the most part, the camera is sold without the lens, and lenses on DSLR cameras are interchangeable), you will have two choices, crop sensor and full frame. The difference between the two is the size of the sensor inside the camera. The sensor is what captures the image when you take a picture.

A full frame sensor is larger, meaning the image is larger (you don’t have to back up as far to get the image you want), and it lets more light in. Almost all wedding and nature photographers use full frame cameras because, in these low light situations, they are still able to capture their images with these large sensors.

A crop sensor camera has a smaller sensor. These are the kind of bodies most beginners use because they’re more affordable and are great for learning on. Since the sensor is smaller, these cameras don’t work as well in low light situations as they’re not able to bring in as much light. You will need to back up further to get your image, making these less ideal in small settings.

Which would I recommend? It depends on your situation.
Do you have access to rooms with a lot of natural light? Or will you be taking most of your pictures outdoors? If so, you can get away with a crop sensor camera, but if you’re shooting indoors with not a lot of room to move, you might want to get a wider lens to compensate. If you don’t have a ton of light to work with and you have a bigger budget, full frame is your best bet.

Crop Sensor Recommendations:

Canon Rebel T6
Nikon D3400

Full Frame recommendations:

Canon 6D
Nikon D750


The world of lenses is probably more overwhelming than picking a camera because there are so many! Let me narrow it down for you, there are prime lenses and zoom lenses. What’s the difference?

Zoom lenses zoom! Well, that was easy!
Prime lenses don’t zoom. They are one focal length which means, if you need to get closer, YOU have to move closer. So why would one pick a prime lens over a zoom?

Prime lenses tend to be sharper. They also tend to make the background blurrier, which is a look many people prefer. That’s why most people stick to prime lenses, but zoom lenses can be really convenient, and if you buy the right one, can create beautiful images.

When picking out a lens (or lenses), you need to keep in mind what camera you have.

For Nikon, a full frame sensor is 1.5x bigger than a crop sensor.
For Canon, a full frame sensor is 1.6x bigger than a crop sensor.

So what does this mean? Let’s say you buy a prime lens with a focal distance of 35mm.
If you throw that on a Nikon full frame, you’ll be shooting your images at 35mm.
If you put that same 35mm lens on a Nikon crop body, you will have to multiply that focal length by its crop factor (1.5) to get its actual focal length.
35mm x 1.5 = 52.5. So, when you use a 35mm lens on a crop sensor camera, you’re actually shooting at 52mm, not 35mm… Crazy, right?

Why does this matter? Because if you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera and you’re shooting in a small room or studio, you’re going to run out of room to move pretty quickly. So if you’re going to be shooting with a crop sensor camera, you’re going to need to shoot with a wider lens.
Here are my recommendations for lenses depending on the camera you have:

Crop Sensor:

24mm 2.8  Canon
35mm 1.8  Canon  Nikon

Full Frame:

24-70mm 2.8  Canon  Nikon
50mm 1.8  Canon Nikon

How to Edit Those Awesome Images You Took

Since you took those photos on a fancy camera, you can’t edit them on your phone! Computer software is the way to go. There are a lot of choices in the way of editing software, but the most popular (and my favorite) is Adobe Lightroom. While you can use Adobe Photoshop on its own, I highly recommend using it in conjunction with Lightroom.

Lightroom is awesome for batch editing. This means you can apply your preferred edit to one image, copy and paste that edit to the rest of your images, and make small tweaks to individual images as needed. You can either come up with your own preset (Lightroom filter) and save it to Lightroom, or you can buy presets that you think fit your brand. This makes getting all of your images to look cohesive a piece of cake! It doesn’t get any easier than Lightroom. I recommend using Lightroom to edit your colors, highlights, shadows, and the overall look of the photo. Afterward, use Photoshop to make the minor tweaks (things in the background, skin edits, adding text, etc.) The cool thing is Adobe offers a monthly package: Lightroom and Photoshop for $10/ month! It’s a sweet deal and any photographer’s dream.

Now go get to taking some epic pictures for your social media! If you need help in other areas of your social media marketing plan, ANS can help. Shoot us an email at to learn more about our social media packages.

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