Note: All images in this article have been taken by myself with my Sony A6500. They have been resized so they do not slow down my website, so they won’t appear as crisp as they really are- but you get the idea of the quality of images this camera can take!

After months of research, I have found and purchased the Sony A6500

This year I decided to take blogging seriously. For two years I used my old Samsung Galaxy S6 to take images for my blog and Instagram. It wasn’t until I purchased my brand new Sony A6500 mirrorless camera that I realised a good camera is the best investment a blogger and any entrepreneur can make.

Sidenote: If you’re new to blogging and want to know how to become a travel blogger, I’ve written a free, comprehensive guide on how to start a professional travel blog from scratch!




I did a ton of research when it came to making this purchase. It has been years since I’ve spent money on electronics, always spending it on travel related experiences. I messaged countless bloggers, asked for opinions on several group boards on Facebook; hassled friends and anyone I knew who I admired for their photography skills.

I was scared of spending the money, but I figured this was a lifetime product investment. I’m sure when I’m retired and not doing a whole lot of adventure stuff, I won’t regret looking through all the amazing photos I’ve taken.

And in truth, my purchase has already paid itself off. Since buying it in March, I’ve received several photography gigs and I’m not even a real photographer. The Sony A6500 has turned me into one!

3 Reasons you need a good camera for blogging

Playing around with my tripod and the aperture settings

I’m going to be honest here: if you want to be a professional blogger, you NEED to take good images.

Why is it so important? Let me explain.

1. You’ll be working with brands

You won’t leave a very good impression with brands unless you have professional photographs to accompany your words.

When I approach brands to work with them, I can now offer my photography and videography services. This has taken my business to a whole new level. It gives the brands you work with

Imagine approaching a big-name brand and telling them you’ll be taking photos of their tour/accommodation/whatever and when they ask you how you’ll take them, you say with your old Samsung Galaxy S6…




Okay, so yeah this is a true story, and I cringe every time I think about it. Thankfully the brand was big enough that they had their own photographer, and were kind enough to send him along with me. The majority of brands won’t be this kind; in fact this is the only brand I have worked with that offered me the services of their own photographer.

2. You can make money selling your photographs

Bloggers aren’t just bloggers. We’re website designers, social media marketers, freelance writers, SEO experts, and we are also photographers. Many bloggers balance other side-gigs with blogging, because while blogging can make you enough money to live on, it can be unpredictable. Selling your images on Stock websites or exchanging them for tours and accommodation adds a whole new dimension to your business. As mentioned previously, since I’ve had my Sony A6500 I’ve had businesses hire me as a photographer!

The Sony A6500 is the best camera for blogging

3. You will gain more followers and subscribers

If you have beautiful photography to show off your adventures as a blogger it is only natural you will attract a stronger following. Your words tell your audience why they should visit a destination, buy a product etc, but your photographs SHOW your audience why they should book a holiday to the Maldives.

Pretty photographs are emotive. They associate feel-good energy with your blog. If people feel inspired when looking at your images, they are going to want to see more. It’s only natural your followers and subscribers will increase. Since buying my camera, I have seen a 50% increase in engagement and followers, particularly on my social media channels where I share most of my images.




So why is the Sony A6500 the best camera for blogging?

The Sony A6500 is the best camera for bloggers

The Sony A6500 is, in my opinion, the best camera for bloggers. Image: Kushagra Kevat

I eventually settled on the Sony A6500 with two Sony lenses: a 16mm-50mm and a 55mm-210mm.

Here are some of the reasons I chose this camera.

1. It is great for beginners, but packs a powerful punch

While I am fairly new to shooting in RAW (a necessary skill for any photographer) I wanted a camera that I could learn on, but I also wanted a camera that was going to take my photography to the next level. I also wanted a camera that I could rely on for many years. The last thing I wanted to do was purchase a camera I would outgrow in a year.

2. It has a built-in stabiliser

The biggest upgrade between the earlier model, the Sony A6300 and the A6500 is the built-in stabiliser. Essentially, the shutter mechanism in the A6500 is more durable and incorporates 5-axis stabilisation when using non-stabilised lenses.

If you do not want this feature, by all means the Sony A6300 will suit you fine. But a lot of my photography I take is when I am on the move and I wanted to ensure I had a camera with good shutter speed. The reason I chose the A6500 over the A6300 was for this reason.

Another plus is the new touch screen!

There isn’t a huge difference between the two cameras in regards to video, so if you’re looking for a camera mainly for filming video I’d recommend saving a little money and going with the A6300.




3. A large majority of the bloggers I asked recommended this camera

I’m not the only blogger that loves the Sony A6500. When I asked a large group of travel bloggers what they use, the large majority said they use the A6300 or the A6500.

Some also said they use the older Sony A6000– which is still a very popular camera if you’re on a budget.

Best camera for travel bloggers

4. It was within my price range

My budget for a camera and two lenses was $2000USD, which sits in the mid-range pricing bracket for mirrorless cameras.

5. I didn’t want to buy a camera, only to be beaten by new technology

Initially I thought I’d buy an entry level camera and upgrade to something more powerful later on. I ditched that idea after realising I wanted a camera I could grow with. I didn’t want to go to the trouble of selling a camera six months after mastering it only to upgrade to a complicated and expensive camera. The Sony A6500 offers me the best of both worlds.

One of the main marketing points of this camera was that the technology wasn’t going to be beaten for a while. The model was released in 2016, and there hasn’t been a newer model released since.

Why a mirrorless camera is the best camera for bloggers

The Sony A6500 is the best mirrorless camera for travel photography

Since I’ve been travelling full-time for the past two years, I have learned to carry the least amount of weight possible. I am also a fairly active hiker, so I wanted a light camera to take with me on my adventures.

Mirrorless cameras are a lot lighter than DSLRs, because as the name suggests, they do not have a mirror. Mirrorless cameras are the future!

I recently completed a 864km (536 miles) hike that ran the length of Scotland and I carried my A6500 and lightweight check it out and follow me on Insta the entire way.




When you expand into photography you’ll have some extras to carry around with you as well- a tripod, multiple lenses, a flash gun…this can all get fairly heavy, and if you’re a traveller like me, less is best!

The settings I use for my Sony A6500

Manual Mode

The only thing I change while shooting in Manual (M on your dial) is the quality (I switch to RAW). I also play with the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO depending on what I am shooting. I won’t get into too much detail explaining those here- but this article explains them quite well.

Shooting in RAW is ideal for the photographs you really want to edit in Lightroom or Photoshop.  You have more freedom and creativity editing RAW images.

I shoot in Manual mode mostly for images I’m wanting to upload to Instagram and Facebook. My images for these for my blog and social media channels are edited differently. I get more creative with my editing for my Instagram channel, while my photos on my blog tend to look more natural. A lot of bloggers will focus on a theme for their Instagram; I have recently updated my theme- so check it out and follow me on Insta while you’re at it 🙂

When following a theme you will usually want to edit certain qualities of your images, for example, you may want the colour of the sky, ocean or grass to be the same (or very close) colour to give it that lovely cohesive flow.

So you can see why shooting in RAW is essential.

You can change this setting in the Sony A6500 by pressing the MENU – Quality – RAW. Ensure your camera is turned to the M on the dial when doing this. It will automatically ensure you are shooting in RAW every time you turn it on.

If I am wanting to take images I don’t have to do much editing with, to use on my blog for example, I will create and save these settings to 1 and 2 on my camera for quick and easy use. The settings I create are for landscape and architecture and people and things.

Landscape and architecture photography

The Sony A6500 is the best camera for blogging

I save the following settings on the top dial under ‘1’. I’ll explain how to save these settings here shortly.

Turn the top dial to ‘P‘.

Menu Camera 1 Page 1/14 Quality Standard

Menu Camera 1 Page 8/14 ISO Auto

Menu Camera 1 Page 8/14 ISO Auto Min Shutter Speed Slower

MenuCamera 1Page 4/14 Image Size24 MP

MenuCamera 1Page 11/14 Creative StyleVivid

MenuCamera 1 – Page 11/14 Creative StyleSaturation +3

Now you need to save these settings to your top dial for quick access:

MenuCamera 1 – Page 4/14 Cam1/Cam2 Memory select ‘1’




People and things

When taking photos of people you’ll want slightly different settings.

Turn the top dial to ‘P‘.

Menu Camera 1 Page 1/14 Quality Standard

Menu Camera 1 Page 8/14 ISO Auto

Menu Camera 1 Page 8/14 ISO Auto Min Shutter Speed 1/125

MenuCamera 1Page 4/14 Image Size12 or 6 MP

MenuCamera 1Page 11/14 Creative StyleStandard

MenuCamera 1 – Page 11/14 Creative Style Saturation +1

Now you need to save these settings to your top dial for quick access:

MenuCamera 1 – Page 4/14 Cam1/Cam2 Memory select ‘2’




Why I love Lightroom for editing my images

When it comes to editing my photos, I only ever use one program- Adobe Lightroom. All the professionals use Lightroom, and it is just SO good there is no point discussing any other programs. I know that with Lightroom, I can take photos in areas where the light isn’t so great, and make the edits later. Sometimes I’ve almost deleted images only to edit them in Lightroom and discover I can make them pretty amazing!

Let’s take a look at a ‘before and after’ shot taken with my Sony A6500. The photographers rule of thumb is to take photos during the ‘golden hour’- either first thing in the morning or when the sun is setting. Being a travel blogger, that isn’t always doable, and I quite often have to deal with crappy light with annoying shadows. Check out these two images below. They were shot in the middle of the day, and there was a giant statue behind me casting an ugly shadow.

BEFORE

I mean, it’s an alright shot. But with some editing with Lightroom, I was able to take this photo to the next level. Check out the after image.

AFTER

What a difference! I am now not afraid of shooting in poor lighting thanks to my Sony A6500 combined with Lightroom for editing. This was also one of the first images I’d taken with my Sony A6500 and I was learning how to use Lightroom at this time.




Conclusion

I just love my Sony A6500 and in my opinion it is the best camera for blogging. It has taken my photography to a completely different level; I now get professional photography gigs, my social media following and engagement has doubled, and a huge part of that is down to purchasing this camera.

Do you have the Sony A6500 or an earlier model? What do you think of this camera?

 




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