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What is the best camera if you are on a budget?

The best ‘budget’ digital camera is rather subjective,

what’s considered budget-priced to one photographer might seem expensive to another.

I took the task to help you with this cameras which cost between $400 & $900.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find some great cameras deals.

From the cheapest camera to the best budget point & shoot camera,

let me show you how to save some money.

Take a look at the recommendations:

  1. Nikon D3500/D5600

  2. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV / EOS 200D Mark II / EOS 250D

  3. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 200D Mark II / EOS 250D

  4. Sony Alpha A6100/A6400

  5. GoPro Hero 8 Black

  6. Fujifilm X-A7

For price and value I extremely recommend the Nikon D3500. It is in a price range that most can afford and provides an incredibly fast frame rate in a small and powerful package.

Do you sell prints? 

Yes! It is actually a huge part of our business. Our paper prints need some sort of framing in order to hang on a wall. For custom prints, basically anything you have seen online or anywhere for that matter from my job, you can email an image of the print you want to

What Gear and Equipment do you normally use?

I shoot with the Nikon mirrorless & DSLR systems. I have shot with Canon, Sony and Nikon in the past 12 years and have settled on what I believe to be the best system available for lightweight travel. I typically use my Nikon Z6 for about 80% of my work. The Nikon D750 is what I shoot for my night, astro & some adventure images. The Nikon Z6 is my go to for commercial work, provides amazing 4K video resolution & unparalleled reproduction for large prints and clients needs. When I want to go super light I use the Nikon Z50. This camera is perfect for sports photography, hiking, climbing.

My full list of gear is here:

CAMERAS: NikonZ6, NikonD750

LENS’S FOR THE Nikon Z6 & Nikon D750: 16-35mm f/4.024-70mm f2.8Sigma 120-400mm f3.5-5.6, Nikon 24mm f2.8D, 

TRIPOD: Peak Designs Travel Tripod



 - Standard Kit: A7Riv 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f2.8 w/ Polar Pro Quartzline Polarizers

 - Night Kit: A7SII w/ Sigma 20mm f1.4 w/ Adapter & 35mm f1.4

 - Surf Kit:

     - LAND: NikonD750 w/ Sigma 120-400mm f3.5-5.6

     - WATER: Nikon Z6 w/ Nikon 16-35mm f/2.8 & 10.5mm f2.8. Aquatech Water Housing w/ various Dome and Flat ports.


What is the best camera if you are on a budget?

For price and value I can't recommend a better camera than the A6500. It is in a price range that most can afford and provides an incredibly fast frame rate in a small and powerful package. It is the best in its class for FPS, autofocus and sensor size. The lenses are really good and constantly growing. I have shot this camera on commercial and editorial assignments all over the globe. I’ve shot covers, billboards and large prints with it with no problems.

How do you carry and travel with your gear?

Easily one of the most challenging questions to answer. I have tried every bag you can find and I’ve realized that there is not a perfect bag for every assignment. It takes flexibility. The main thing I have realized is that the way you travel with gear is different than the way you shoot. You typically want to be able to access your camera really fast and not have to lay a bag on the ground in order to get your camera out. I teamed up with Mountainsmith to create what I think is the (close to) perfect camera bag for expeditions. Mainly because it’s flexible in the ways you can carry your gear. Its called the TAN series.. Tough As Nails. We built it around a climbing haul bag structure that is meant to be strong and durable yet super accessible.

Can I make a living as a photographer?

This all depends on how hard you want to work and how much energy you want to put into this as a career. Many photographers in the field easily make a 6 figure income. You can make much more or less depending on what you shoot. For example , commercial photography for brands/ clients pay much more than editorial photography for magazines/ website (typically). There are many wedding and portrait photographers which will make much more than I ever will. Every type of photography is different. Some require you to hustle more. The most important things is to diversify yourself; don't put all your eggs in one basket. Never rely on just one thing. For myself, my income comes from many sources.

 - commercial photography

 - editorial photography

 - prints and books  

 - image licensing

 - appearance and speaking

 - social influencer work.

How did you get started?

I started shooting photos when I was 19 years old after experimenting with drawing and art in high school. I realized that it enabled me to do art in a mobile state, to explore and adventure, and show people the beauty in the world around me. At that point I realized that I enjoyed photography but the idea of turning it into career was overwhelming. I knew I had to give it 100% if I wanted to make it into something so without any formal training I quit my job (at a magazine store) and started shooting anything for anyone. I would go and shoot surfers at the local beach and try to sell them pictures on dvd’s... I shot weddings and senior pictures and interiors store photos. That obviously wasn't my end goal but I had to start somewhere. I wanted to learn more about action sports and landscapes photography which is what I was excited about but didn't know where to turn so I started applying for internships. I finally got an opportunity to intern with Michael Fatali, a large format landscape photographer, and I got an internship at Transworld Surf magazine which was an incredibly valuable experience. Through trial and error, I taught myself and began to develop a style. Hard work, persistence, and having passion for what I do has taken me a long way. For the first part of my career I slept in my car a lot, so nothing happens quickly. I would say it was about 4 years until I really started making an income. During my transworld internship I commuted 5 + hours every week and lived in my car. I really look back fondly at those more challenging times because it makes you appreciate having to work for what you have and giving something of yourself for your career.

Should I go to college to become a photographer?

I simply can't express the importance of being educated in your field or your craft. First off let's just take everything I say with a grain of salt and remember I am mainly talking about adventure photography here. I am not the biggest fan of college for certain types of photography. But I do support education. In this day and age the way in which you educate yourself is so much bigger than just one school or one type of education. I didn’t attend college besides a few courses at a community college. My parents wanted me to go really badly because I had some good opportunities and scholarships but I knew that what I wanted to learn couldnt be taught in school and what I was paying for was basically a bunch of general ed with a little bit of photography. I chose to pursue internships, online courses, workshops and just about everything else I could. I lived and breathed photography and pretty soon I started to figure things out. Most of the information you need to know nowadays is offered for free online. The best education tool you will ever gain is how to be a good researcher. Most your answers are already out there you just need to go and find them.


What I would urge is that if you want to attend school for photography you are better off getting a journalism degree or marketing or business and applying that to photography. You don’t need to sit in a classroom to be creative.. You need the open road and the ability to create work without criticism. When you feel ready and confident then you can start to seek opportunities for critiques. Now as for the technical side of things, you can learn that on the internet. Nobody needs a classroom to learn how to operate a camera these days. My only drawback would be if you want to be a fashion photographer or want to work with professional lighting. Art or photography school can be really valuable for learning and honing those skills. But we are talking about adventure photography here.

What tips do you have for those wanting to shoot in the water?

Water photography can take years to master.. And even then you still aren’t going to have success every time. My top tips for water photography would be to make sure you know your equipment like the back of your hand. You don’t want your equipment to distract you in the water. Also, to be effective in the water you need to train for swimming in the ocean. It’s a fun place to be but it can also be very dangerous. Staying in shape as well as being comfortable in the ocean is vital to getting successful photographs in the water. The hardest part of water photography is learning how to keep the ports clear of water drops. For more info you can read some online article or see the section in my creative live class. The most valuable piece of advice I would give a budding photographer would be to keep shooting and creating a large body of work. You’re not improving and developing if you aren’t shooting!

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