Crop sensor camera – Is it good for fashion photography ? Or do i need full frame camera for shooting commercially?

Crop sensor camera, are you serious? Being a professional fashion photographer, do you really use crop sensor camera for your fashion photography assignments? My answer is YES, I love my crop sensor camera and I do use it for my fashion shots. I own two DSLR bodies, crop sensor and full frame both. I love shooting with both as they produce different outputs and they both have their pros and cons. Today i will be posting some images, from my recent fashion shoot which i did with the crop sensor body 60D and the kit lenses 18-55, 55-250 and 40 mm f2.8 lens.

One of my students, during his master course session told me that, Sir I am not happy with my crop sensor camera. As i think it is not giving enough justice to my fashion photography skills. My answer to him was, Alright lets do one thing. I will also shoot with you today during your shooting session, and i will use my crop sensor camera body Canon 60D. I used the basic kit lenses 18-55, 55-250 and for some shots i also used 40mm f2.8 lens. Because I just wanted him to understand that, it is not always about the camera. For good fashion shots , we consider many other things. From lighting to model poses and directing the models. I am not saying the camera or the gear does not matter. They sure does. Full frame camera does have their benefits, but that does not mean that you can not use crop sensor camera for professional work. I will be sharing some shots from the same day, when i shot right along with my student with the 60d and kit lenses combo.

Crop sensor camera shotsNatural light shot with no extra lights or reflectors, Shot with Canon 60D, 18-55 mm lens


What is full frame & crop sensor ?

When it comes to sensor sizes, the two terms most used to classify them are “full frame” and “crop sensor”. The term “full frame” refers to a sensor size that has the same dimensions as the 35mm film format. A crop sensor refers to any sensor smaller than a full frame sensor or a 35mm film frame. The common types of crop sensor include APS-C and micro 4/3 systems.

Crop sensor


Can I use crop sensor camera for professional fashion shoots ?

Check out my fashion photography portfolio, many of these shots has been shot with crop sensor camera. Can you make out which ones? Nope. I know, because it makes difference for sure but only when the viewing medium is super large. If your images are going to be printed out on the bill boards or if they are going to be printed for indoor advertising purpose, than you defiantly need to shoot with full frame or medium format cameras. But for a normal size printing or simply for web use, there is really no need to use a full frame or medium format camera.

While i use full frame camera for all my current fashion shoots, i can not avoid saying that i had shot many fashion commercials with crop sensor camera before. In fact my crop sensor cameras helped me buy my full frame. So i sure can not ignore the importance of my crop sensor camera in my photography journey. Even just few months back i shot entire look book of a brand with my crop sensor camera, because of the tight compression ratio. So yes, you defiantly can use a crop sensor camera for your professional fashion shoots.

Crop sensor camera photosOne huge octagonal with elinchrom master light and a silver reflector, Shot with Canon 60D, 55-250 mm lens


Crop sensor camera makes you look less professional ?

If being professional means, showing up with lot of expensive gears, than yes you will look less professional with your tiny crop sensor cameras. But a correct definition of a professional photographer is, someone who know the art and who know how to work with whatever gear they have and still producing amazing images. Well if you agree to that definition, then you will never look less professional with your crop sensor cameras. When ever you are starting your photography career, there are lot of things to consider. So to save some bucks if you buy a crop sensor camera, than nothing is wrong in that. It is your work which will decide are you professional enough or not, so never think twice to use your crop sensor camera for your professional shoots.

crop sensor camera pics  Does this image look any less professional shot to you? Shot with Canon 60D, 40mm lens

Crop sensor camera shots

Two simplex flashes and one umbrella has been used here, Shot with Canon 60D, 40mm lens


Crop sensor camera shots

Two Elinchrom Strip boxes and one soft box is lighting this shot so nicely, Shot with Canon 60D, 55-250 lens


So do not give your self excuses, for not taking up the commercial fashion assignments. Just because you have a crop sensor camera, does not mean you can not shoot those professional fashion shots. Fashion can be shot with crop sensor cameras, they are amazing and they do the job.

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Varun Patel is big name when it comes to Fashion Industry. His work has been published in magazines like FTL, Femina and many others. He also conducts Fashion Photography Workshops and shares his knowledge with other photographers. He mostly shoots Fashion and Commercial Portraits, during his free time he also likes to experiment with the conceptual editorials.

8 thoughts on “Crop sensor camera – Is it good for fashion photography ? Or do i need full frame camera for shooting commercially?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this valuable info always taught that i m one step behind if i m not having a full sensor camera but this one cleared all my doubts !
    Thanks a lot !!

  2. lovely read and great lesson to not to underestimate crop sensor camera.
    few questions I have… does using only 18-55mm, 55-200 kit lens and 50mm prime is enough for fashion shoot or i must buy 40mm or any lesser focal length prime.
    i am very hobbyist amateur photographer and got one chance to do fashion shoot for a friend. so wanted to know if these lenses will be enough for me.if you can help…

    1. Thanks for appreciating our blog well about the focal length for fashion, I would suggest the kit you got is good to go with kit as of now. If you have all three lenses listed then you defiantly can do good fashion shoot with them. 40mm is the range which is getting covered in your 18-55 range. No doubt 40mm f2.8 is amazing lens and delivers very sharp quality but buying it just for one shoot would not be a good idea. You should start planing on buying lenses like 10-18 for some extra wide-angle shots which is worth to spend for.

  3. Hi Varun, awesome pics .. even I have 60d and planning to buy a prime lens for shooting portraits, which one would you suggest ?

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