What’s the Best Camera for Boudoir Photography?

by | Jul 10, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“I don’t think about what camera I should use that much. I just pick up the one that looks nicest on the day”— William Eggleston

It may come as a surprise but I sincerely believe that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment to make high quality glamour or boudoir photographs. Of the three camera bodies that I regularly use only one of them was purchased brand new.

When a new digital camera is launched, lots of photographers who want to be the first kid on their block to own the newest camera trade in their previous camera for that latest model. This is the best time to buy that previously latest camera and let the other person take the depreciation hit. Or sometimes dealers, even Amazon, mark down the price of the older model that are brand new in the box. The image at left was made with a new Olympus E-M5 Mark I that was purchased as a substantial discount after the Mark II model was announced.

How I made this shot: I photographed Erin Valakari in the doorway to a butler’s pantry using a combination of daylight with fill from a 32-inch round reflector. Camera was a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with a M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/50 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400.

There are also subsets of used cameras called demo and refurbs. From time to time camera stores offer demo gear so it pays to have a sales person that you work on a regular basis to keep you informed of these bargains. Refurbs are similar but somebody may have previously owned it and there may or may not be a factory camera warranty in the package. Used cameras are available from many sources. For more than twenty-five years, I’ve purchased used equipment from KEH Camera  and they remain a dependable source of used gear for me.

Local camera stores, if you’re lucky enough to have one, often have a selection of used gear and some camera clubs or organizations sponsor photo shows where you can actually see, hold and buy used gear. Don’t forget that your friends are a good source of used cameras too. It’s a win-win for both of you.

I’ve sold some cameras and lenses on eBay as well as purchased a few, some from as far away as Japan. I recently purchased a Panasonic Lumix GX-1 via eBay for an infrared project. And while the bargains that abounded in eBay’s early years have pretty much disappeared, it remains a great place to buy hard-to-find items.

The final point is that I don’t care if the cameras I buy are used because I’m going to use them anyway. It’s like getting a door ding in a new car, the first one is painful but you soon get over it. With used equipment—cars or cameras—I don’t mind if maybe they already come with that “first dent,” now I can just use it happily shooting and making photographs.

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My book Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography is full of tips, tools and techniques for glamour and boudoir photography with new copies available from Amazon for $21.36, as I write this. Used copies start at the hard-to-beat price price of $5.99 and the Kindle version is $19.99 for those who prefer a digital format.