Holiday Gift Guide: Your First DSLR

Holiday Gift Guide: Your First DSLR Camera

I often get requests from people asking what starter cameras I would recommend for taking better photos of their travels, children, dogs, etc – so I thought that putting together an easy to reference guide would be so helpful to put people in the right direction! I want to start this off by emphasizing the following – you can have the best camera in the world but if you don’t take the time to learn how to use it off of auto mode, you might as well stick to your iPhone! Learning the mechanisms of your new camera will help those photos you want to capture come to life in an entirely new way. Almost of the camera equipment links I’m providing are through a website called I nearly exclusively use this website when shopping for camera equipment and have had fantastic luck with purchasing both new and used gear.

Section 1: Camera Recommendation

I’m a Canon girl through and through and these recommendations will reflect that. I cannot speak much about Nikon camera bodies and equipment. Both are fantastic brands and between the two, it really just boils down to personal preference from user to user. There was no real reason I chose Canon for my first DSLR, but since I started with it –I’ve stuck with them ever since. Most people like to go physically into stores to see how different camera DSLR brands feel in their hand to help make the decision!

Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR with 18-55mm & 75-300mm lenses – $399 on sale
Note: ANY Canon EOS Rebel body is great to start with! Best Buy is another good place to go and physically check out their bundle deals on these cameras. All of the lenses I recommend will work with any Canon EOS Rebel body.
I started out with a bundle very similar to this. The 18-55mm lens is great for wider, landscape style photos and its ability to zoom in to 55mm will help you get a little closer if needed. The 75-300mm is a great lens to use for things like zooming during sporting events, capturing photos of wildlife, etc!

Section 2: Additional Lens Recommendation

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens – $125
If you only get one additional lens, I highly highly recommend this one. This is a great starter lens for taking beautiful portraits of your dog, family, etc! It does a great job of isolating the subject from the background and giving a really nice background blur.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens – $269

This lens is great if you know that you’re going to want to take wide, landscape photos often. It’ll help you get more in the frame than the kit lens!

Canon Portrait & Travel 2 Lens Kit w/EF 50mm f/1.8 STM & EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 – $349

If both of these lenses sound like “must-haves” for you, check out this travel kit! It comes with both and gives you a little bit of a discount in the process.

Section 3: Camera Accessory Recommendations

Canon Battery Pack LP-E10 for EOS Rebel T3 and T5 and T6 Digital Camera – $45

I highly recommend getting at least one extra battery for your camera! The peace of mind of knowing you have a backup in case your battery dies is great – especially for things like vacations where you may be walking around all day and not able to go back to your hotel room to charge up! I always buy Canon brand batteries – they’re more expensive so I’ve slowly grown my collection of extra batteries over time.

SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC UHS-I U3 Memory Card, Up to 90MB/s Read Speed – Pack of 2 – $33

This pack of 2 memory cards is the brand I recommend! I actually have a few of these that I use professionally and have never had an issue.

AmazonBasics Backpack for SLR/DSLR Cameras and Accessories – Black – $30

The camera kit that I recommended comes with a fantastic shoulder bag. I got a similar one with my first kit and used it for years! But for those of us that like to carry around a lot of stuff in our bags (perhaps a light jacket, some snacks, a water-bottle, etc.) – it can get inconvenient to have both a shoulder bag on-top of a backpack or purse.

I have a history of back problems so I really liked getting a backpack because it helped relieve having to constantly switch shoulders so my back didn’t hurt at the end of a long day of picture taking.

This AmazonBasics bag has a lot of customizable compartments, so once you organize your camera gear – you can switch things up to make room for that extra jacket, snacks, etc!

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag – $24

If you know you’re going to want to set up your tripod for self-timer family photos or landscape photos in the early morning or late evening when you need a slower shutter speed to capture the sunrise and sunset – this is a great tripod for you!

You’ll notice that with these last two links, I used Amazon instead of Adorama. AmazonBasics is a really great collection of inexpensive items that I think is perfect for the beginner camera user (such as bags and a tripod). I sent you to Adorama for the other camera accessories because I felt like they were a more reliable direct dealer, especially for things like SD cards! I’ve heard stories of people getting counterfeit SD cards on Amazon and you really want to make sure you’re purchasing yours from a super reliable source so you don’t have issues!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I hope this was a great jumping-off point for your first DSLR purchase!