Best Camera Tips – How to Buy a Camera: The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Camera

By Ralph Velasco

Are you a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, or international traveler looking to purchase a camera? Do you feel intimidated by the vast array of options available in the market? Fear not, traveler, for I’ve compiled the ultimate no-frills guide to purchasing the right camera for your needs. 

You don’t have to be a tech-savvy millennial to capture stunning photos with the right camera. So, let’s get started on this journey together, and before you know it, you’ll be clicking away like a pro.

Step 1: Determine Your Photography Needs

Before you head out to purchase a camera, you need to determine what you’ll be using it for. Do you want to capture landscape photos or portraits? Will you be taking photos in low-light conditions or bright sunlight? Do you need to zoom in on far-away objects or take close-up shots? These are some questions you’ll want to answer to determine the type of camera you require for the type of photography you plan on doing. If you’re an international traveler, you might want a compact camera that fits in your pocket (perhaps even a smartphone will suffice).

Step 2: Do Your Research

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to do your research. Go online and check out the latest camera models available in your budget range. Read reviews on websites like Amazon, DPReview, and/or CameraLabs.com to see what other users have to say about their experiences with the camera. I also highly recommend that you watch YouTube videos on the specific camera you’re interested in to better understand its features and how it performs.

Step 3: Determine Your Budget

Cameras can range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand or more. It’s important to determine the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Remember that it may not be just the camera body you’ll be spending on, but also lenses and accessories, which can quickly run up your overall bill. Don’t let flashy features you’ll likely never use tempt you to exceed your budget.

Step 4: Try Before You Buy

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, visit a camera store (if you can find one) to try out the cameras you’re interested in. Get a feel for the camera’s weight and grip, and test its performance in different settings. Make sure the camera has all the features you need and is user-friendly. You probably don’t want to carry a heavy camera around all day, only to discover that it’s too complicated to use.  I always recommend purchasing a camera that’s a bit above your skill level so you can grow into it, but one that’s not so intimidating it just sits on a shelf and is of no use to anyone.

Step 5: Purchase Your Camera

Congratulations! You’ve done your research, tried out a few camera models, and finally decided on the one that suits your needs. Now it’s time to purchase your camera (or even better nowadays you can choose to rent the same model before deciding to go all in). You can buy your camera online or in-store, depending on where you find the best deal. Don’t forget to check for warranties and return policies, as you may experience issues down the road.


Purchasing a camera doesn’t have to be a daunting task, even if you’re not too tech-savvy. By determining your photography needs, researching camera options within your budget, trying out the camera models, and making an informed purchase, you’ll be well on your way to capturing stunning photos on your next international trip. Remember, a camera is only a tool; it’s your creativity and vision that will bring your photos to life. 

“People take pictures, cameras don’t.”

~ Ralph Velasco


If you’d like to experience the aurora borealis and put your photography skills to the test then join us for Seeking the Northern Lights in Finnish & Swedish Lapland.

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