2022 Camera Gift Picks for New Photographers – Missy’s Good, Better, and Best Picks

The holiday season is upon us, and I get asked every year which cameras are ideal for gifting. I pretty much universally recommend the Canon Rebel series, but this year I am making a change in my recommendation for the first time… ever!

The future of digital photography is in mirrorless cameras, and things have been headed in this direction for quite some time now on the professional level. In the past 1-2 years, there have been several new releases at the hobbyist (crop sensor/affordable) level, including a couple of options from Canon that I can recommend for a beginner. Mirrorless cameras are going to be more expensive, even at the “prosumer” level, but I think it’s worthwhile unless you are really uncertain how committed you are to learning photography.

Mirrrorless cameras have a few significant changes from your traditional DSLR: they incorporate features and technology that you will not see in a regular DSLR (particularly when it comes to focusing technique), there is a learning curve when coming from a traditional DSLR, and mirrorless camera bodies require a new lens mount, meaning your older lenses will work with your new mirrorless camera only with an adapter.

So, it makes sense to start your photography journey with a mirrorless camera since there are different controls and features, and most importantly, any lenses you purchase will be relatively future-proof.

My Picks for Cameras:

  • Good: Entry-level crop-sensor DSLR with EF kit lens (18-35 mm), such as the Canon Rebel T7 or T8i. Skip the two-lens kit with the telephoto lens and save up for a 50 mm 1.8 lens instead. Canon Rebel
  • Better: Mirrorless crop-sensor DSLR, such as the NEW Canon R10 with 24-105 f/4 RF lens and/or 50 mm 1.8 RF lens. Canon R10, my TOP PICK
  • Best: Full-frame mirrorless, such as the Canon EOS R6 with 24-105 f/4 RF lens and/or 50 mm 1.8 RF lens. The semi-pro option, Canon R6. (On a budget but want a full-frame mirrorless camera? Check out Canon RP.)

Companion gifts for giving with a camera:

50 mm (or 35 mm) 1.8 lens, an essential lens for learning photography:

Missy Timko Class Series

Take classes with me to learn all about your new gear! Click here for all the details about my custom, private photography classes.

Click on the image below to see my full range of beginner picks:

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Pittsburgh Newborn Photographer | Lifestyle Session | H Family

Read more about the article Pittsburgh Newborn Photographer | Lifestyle Session | H Family
© 2017 Powder Blue Photography. www.powderbluephoto.com

Sisters who won’t let go of hands.  A family dog that won’t leave the baby’s side.  For a photographer like me, these are sure signs that you are entering a house full of love.

pittsburgh newborn photographer. simple, natural newborn portrait in studio on a white bed. baby girl. sister. no props.

Meet the H family. Even though this was a Newborn Session, big sister Sada practically stole the show!  Sada just couldn’t get enough of loving and holding baby sister Ilana (she practically never let go of her hand throughout the entire shoot), and, of course, baby Ilana already worships Sada.  Even the family dog, Poppy, never left Mom’s feet when she was holding Ilana.  And then there was the very obvious, long-term love affair going on between Sada and Poppy, the family pup!

dog. cocker spaniel. girl. child's bedroom. colorful.

So this is a house full of love.  But let’s focus in on newborn Ilana for a minute.  After all, she’s the new little one and the reason I’m there!  This gorgeous, perfect baby was a dream—so cuddly…

… and surprisingly animated for a newborn!

She wore the most precious onesie for her solo portraits, perfect for summer.  It fit her well and kept her hands and feet uncovered, which is what I suggest when choosing clothes for newborns.

The opportunity to photograph the H family (with Mom Emilie and Dad Jared) in their Squirrel Hill Pittsburgh home was a real treat.  And what a beautiful home it was!  It had a soothing neutral décor, high ceilings, and was so spacious and inviting.  We took many shots in the bedrooms, and some under a particularly lovely dining room window.

black and white photo. window. newborn. dad. family. Squirrel Hill.To the beautiful H family—thank you for allowing me to spend some time with you in your home!

family photographer. newborn. 2-year-old girl. master bedroom. Squirrel Hill.

The H family was referred to me by one of my other wonderful clients, and that got me thinking.  The other day, out of curiosity, I looked back to see how many blogs I have posted.  Would you believe I have posted 255 items since I opened my business in 2010? At first, it was just a few blogs here and there, then more, then more… and now, I try to post just as many of my sessions as I can.  Then it hit me—most of my long term clients have been referrals from other clients!  So I just wanted to say a quick thank-you to you, my clients, for all of the referrals you have provided to me over the years.  THANK YOU!


Missy Timko is the photographer behind Powder Blue Photography, a boutique photography studio located in Pittsburgh, PA. She specializes in newborns, maternity, families, seniors, and headshots. Missy’s style is simple, natural, and clean, both posed and lifestyle photography with beautiful natural backdrops, and Missy also runs a studio in the Point Breeze neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  There are many session options, from full length custom sessions to quick updates of just the kids, inside the studio or outside in a beautiful natural or urban location in Pittsburgh.  Contact Missy for availability.


Brittany & Phil Maternity Session

Read more about the article Brittany & Phil Maternity Session
© 2016 Powder Blue Photography. www.powderbluephoto.com

Baby girl is coming soon for Brittany & Phil!  We shot their session at a beautiful South Hills nature park in May of 2016.  We brainstormed some names for the baby… Phillipa, Philhomena, Phyllis… what do you think?

pittsburgh maternity photographer. maternity portrait session in natural setting with tall grasses and hazy sunset backlighting.

Brittany is only about a month away from her due date now, and she looks gorgeous.  I love most of these portraits in color, but I prefer this one in black & white.

pittsburgh maternity photographer. maternity portrait session in natural setting with tall grasses and hazy sunset backlighting.

Toward the end of our session the sun was setting, so I got some pretty hazy sun flare over Brittany & Phil.  I point my camera directly toward the sun for this type of image, but I use my hand to shade my lens while focusing… otherwise my autofocus goes a little crazy and can’t figure out what to focus on.

pittsburgh maternity photographer. maternity portrait session in natural setting with tall grasses and hazy sunset backlighting.

Baby’s nursery is precious in lavender & teal.  Can’t wait to meet the little lady at our July newborn photography session!


Are you looking for a maternity, newborn, family, or baby photographer in Pittsburgh?  I would love to hear from you!  Powder Blue Photography offers in-home and studio portraits of newborn babies and maternity, and on location family portraits in and around Pittsburgh, including the South Hills, McMurray, Peters Township, Canonsburg, Bridgeville, Upper St. Clair, Fayette, and Mt. Lebanon areas..  All images © 2016 Missy Timko at Powder Blue Photography.  Please contact Missy to schedule your session.