The Best Camera Gear for Moms and Families

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Buying Guide: The Best Photography Gear for Moms and Families. Camera Buying Guide.

Are you becoming increasingly frustrated with your iPhone photos? Feel like you never have candid images that truly represent the essence of your child and other loved ones? I hear ya, mama. Sometimes it is oh, so difficult to capture photos that feel like you could print and frame in your home.

So what’s a mom to do? While iPhones are great for capturing everyday moments on the fly, a more professional camera is a great tool to use for those beautiful prints you’ll save in photo albums and scrapbooks and pass down for generations.

Here I’m breaking down some basics in what to look for when shopping around for your first camera, along with some of my favorite, essential accessories you just have to have to get started.

This is the first in a series of posts focusing on photography for moms (woohoo!). Later posts will feature how to use your camera, how to get real smiles out of your kids, my favorite ways to save and print your photos and so much more.

Best cameras for moms

Without writing an entire eBook or eCourse on how to buy the perfect camera that fits your skills and needs, I’ll break it down simply. There are several options these days for cameras that falls into one of three categories: Mirrorless, point and shoot, and DSLR.

Mirrorless cameras

These are still relatively new on the market, but provide some of the best quality photos due to the technology. You’ll also find mirrorless cameras to be incredibly quiet (no shutter sound!), which is great for babies and when you’re trying to sneak photos of your threenager being super sweet.

Mirrorless cameras come either with a detachable lens or in point and shoot form, which I will detail below.

Another bonus of mirrorless cameras is they are much lighter than other types of cameras, perfect for those of us with arthritis or joint problems!

Point and shoot cameras

Point and shoot cameras are what most of us had in the early to mid-aughts, before cameras on our smartphones became wonderful, high-tech tools to capture images. These are incredibly simple to use, a minimal learning curve (if any), but some of the more advanced cameras offer flexible options like shooting in manual and customizing your settings.

DSLR cameras

DSLR cameras are traditionally are what the pros use, with the exception of growing number of pros who use mirrorless cameras! It’s what you see in your family photographer’s hands, on the sidelines of professional sports, the olympics, news photographers, and so on. They look just like the mirrorless cameras (which also have detachable lenses).

The only difference between the design of a DSLR and mirrorless camera is that the DSLR has a little mirror inside. That’s what you hear when it makes the clicking sound.

DSLR cameras are slowly growing out of favor by some professionals, who are switching to mirrorless.

Which is the best option for you? If you’re just starting out without wanting to venture further into learning how to manually control your camera, go with a point and shoot. These are also ideal for taking anywhere and can fit in a clutch or even your back pocket. My faves are listed below!

If you’re wanting a middle of the road camera you can put on auto and get great photos with the option to expand – more lenses, wanting to customize settings, etc. – go with a DSLR. Check out the best mid-range semi-pro cameras below.

If you love high tech and want the best of the best, whether you want customization options or not, go with mirrorless. Find my favorite mirrorless cameras for beginners and intermediate users with the handy list below.

Best camera accessories for moms

Gone are the days of only having the option of ugly black cameras bags and the camera’s default neck strap. There are thousands of absolutely adorable camera accessories for moms out there that match any style.

Check out my favorite picks for camera straps from Amazon below.

A camera bag is an absolute essential in my opinion. Bags can even do double duty as diaper bags or a few kid essentials. You would never know it was a camera bag, either!

When looking for a camera bag, know that just not any cute bag or backpack or even diaper bag will do. You’re looking for something that is specifically made for cameras so as to keep your camera and if using them, extra lenses, especially safe. Check out my faves below!

Memory cards

My biggest tip when it comes to memory cards is to always have several on hand, no matter where you are. Keep an extra one in your bag or pocket, because you never know when you accidentally run out of room OR the card fails. It happens more often than you would think!

It’s best to have several you are able to rotate through. With some memory cards starting as low as $8, there just isn’t an excuse!

As for how much memory your card should have, you should be just fine with a few 32GB cards. If you’re planning on shooting a lot of video, I would upgrade to the 128GB at least, as video takes up a lot more memory than photos do.

My favorite brands of memory cards are Sandisk and Lexar. I’ve linked a few of my favorites below for easy shopping!

I’ll be adding links to future blog posts on my series on how to get started with photography soon! Once you’re ready to start editing your photos, I recommend downloading Adobe Creative Cloud — especially Lightroom and/or Photoshop!

Road Trip Tips for Families with Toddlers

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

This fall, we took a road trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law outside Dallas, Texas! It wasn’t our first road trip as a family of three, but it was definitely our first road trip with a toddler. We often drove the two hours to visit in-laws for our son’s whole life, but it was easy to plan those trips so he would nap nearly the whole trip. This trip was much longer, with each way being about five hours of drive time, including stops.

He was big enough to be easily entertained by a variety of toys and our Amazon Kindle for kids filled the gaps when toys were a no-go. He was also young enough that a nap or two on the trip was relatively easy.

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite tips, toys and items that made our road trip a little easier.

A few things to mention before we dive in. First, my husband and I typically rotate driving responsibilities every 2-3 hours. Whoever isn’t driving is typically in the backseat with kiddo. Second, I’m also working on a toddler road trip packing list, which I will link here when it is complete. Third, our kiddo was 18 months at the time of this trip, so these tips are great for kids about 18 months to three years.

Tire them out… but not too tired!

Our trip started out with a semi-tired kiddo. He went to preschool for two hours before we picked him up. This plan worked in our favor two ways: Kiddo got a little energy out before being strapped in the car for five hours and my husband and I both finished any last-minute packing and loading the car without having to worry about chasing him around!

Eat and nap on the road

We planned this intentionally: Pick him up from preschool at lunchtime, eat lunch, pass out. I hoped for the best and planned for the worst. My hopes panned out because not long after he ate his supervised PB&J, veggie chips, and fruit, he was asleep right at naptime at one. Had he not had a chance to run around and play at preschool, I have a feeling this step wouldn’t have been so easy.

He slept for about an hour and a half or two hours and not long after that, it was time for our first (and only!) pit stop. If your kid absolutely refuses to nap in the car… disregard this one. They’ll be overtired and frankly, make it a really, really rough trip. At the time of this trip, our kiddo was taking a small, 20-30 minute morning nap every now and then and a 2 hour afternoon nap.

Let them run and roam

This is the biggest piece of advice I receive before our road trip and the biggest piece of advice I pass onto other parents: Plan your pit stops at places they can get out, stretch their legs, be loud, and run (safely).

BrendaDalton.com - Road Trip with Toddlers

While stopping at a fast food restaurant with a play area is doable, it’s hard to easily supervise toddlers and kids under three since they are still pretty small and don’t listen to rules.

On our way there, we stopped in Paris, Texas to see the Eiffel Tower replica with its cute little cowboy hat. It added maybe 15 minutes to our total travel time, and it was completely worth it. Being a weekday in the fall, it wasn’t too busy, so we let kiddo have the run of the place. We all stretched our legs, took some selfies and got on our way.

Even though it seems natural to let them snack during any pit stops, we always use snacktimes as an easy way to pass the time (and not have to entertain!) in the car.

Pack ALL the snacks

Speaking of snacktime, come totally prepared when it comes to food. When I say pack ALL the snacks, I mean all of them. Okay, maybe not all, but not just your toddler’s favorite 2-3 snacks. I pack a little storage container similar to this one full of his favorite treats, healthy foods and things he very rarely gets, like candy.

Toddler Snack Storage Container - BrendaDalton.com

I use my storage box as his snack central for every trip, whether it’s a long weekend road trip or a weeklong vacation. Be sure to wash it well before adding foods! The one pictured above is sold out, so it’s a little different than the one I’ve linked for you, but it is still great!

This box so incredibly handy: It fits all sorts of sizes of foods, wrapped or loose. Second, toddlers (and even older kids!) can easily make their own decisions about what they want to eat. The one pictured is sold out, so it’s a little different than the one I’ve linked for you, but it is still great!

Third, you only have ONE container to worry about, rather than ten bags of different foods. If it’s a longer trip, you may have to refill before you make your journey back; however, the

I have linked has survived trips up to 4-5 days long (including traveling and duration of the trip) without needing a refill.

If you buy only one thing for your upcoming family trip, BUY THIS. It is my number one must have road trip item.

Keep things organized

And not just organized for your toddler. Trust me, your stuff, your partner’s stuff, food, drinks, magazines… it will be everywhere less than an hour into your road trip. With a toddler in tow, there’s no more room to toss the things you don’t need into the backseat (unless you want them chewed on or thrown out a window).

Toddler organization

I use a few different items to keep things organized. First, let’s talk toddler organization: I use a caddy like this to keep basic small toys in. We have an SUV with second-row captain chairs, so we use the area between the chairs to store our organizational items, plus the area in front of our toddler’s seat.

After the caddy, keep a larger bin for “toy rotation.” This bin is relatively out of sight from kiddo and a bit harder to reach in the floorboards. I typically rotate these toys into the smaller caddy during pit stops or when we come to a stop.

Next, we keep a toddler bag with spare clothes, snack refill, easy access diapers and wipes. This stays under the toddler’s seat since if you need it, you’ll most likely be getting out of the car. Coming soon: A detailed packing list for your toddler road trip.

Parent organization

Finally, keep a bag for each parent. I recommend a backpack (my favorite is linked here!) or a bag you can easily sling over your shoulder and wrangle a 20-40 pound child. Our bags typically include things like our favorite non-perishable snacks, things to do (magazines, books, etc.), electronics, printed reservation confirmations and backup addresses/maps in case of no signal on our phones, plus chargers for our devices. This makes it easier to put all of our items in one bag when we get to our destination.

Lastly, bring an ice chest and/or adult snack box. I’ll list what I pack in terms of food for our road trips in a later post (gluten free for adults and favorite toddler foods!), but this stays in between the seats. I also keep napkins (cloth or disposable) and wipes on top of the ice chest because… toddlers. P.S. Get a LEAK PROOF cooler. You will thank me later.

Leave room in your car to change diapers and clothes

If the trip is more than two hours, it’s almost a guarantee there will be a blowout of some type – whether that’s a bodily fluid or an applesauce pouch. You may need to stop at a gas station with sketchy bathrooms… or on the side of the road. Either way, it will happen when you are far, far away from a reputable changing table.

When we pack our SUV, we put our larger suitcases and bags in last. That way, when you need to change a wriggly toddler, you only have to remove one or two pieces of luggage. Make sure you don’t overpack to the point your luggage is too heavy to remove once or twice during your drive! Or if you’re a light packer… simply leave a little extra space to change your kiddo. If not, you’re looking at those difficult upright diaper changes, which is no fun with a blowout diaper.

Without fail, on one particular trip, after about an hour, we made a pit stop because we (okay fine, it was me) had a water explosion all over the backseat and a mandatory diaper change (that was not me). I highly recommend if you make a mess to time it with a dirty diaper 😉


What are some of your favorite road trip tips for kids under 3?

My favorite road trip essentials are linked below!

The Best Comfortable Shoes for Moms

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


The Most Comfortable Shoes for Moms. Check out the best sneakers, casual shoes and heels for moms. Great shoe options for chronic illness and arthritis.

Isn’t it funny how once you become a mom, all of those super tall, gorgeous (and expensive) heels start collecting dust? Motherhood has a funny way of ushering in the era of comfortable footwear, especially during those baby and toddler years.

It’s just not logical to be chasing your kiddo full speed in a pair of heels or tall wedges, right? They’re great for date night, deadly for everyday.

As a mom with arthritis, you can bet I know what’s what when it comes to comfortable footwear. Here you’ll find my absolute favorite shoes that will last you all day from school drop off and the playground to grabbing a bite to eat and running errands – everything from comfy sandals to fashionable sneakers.

Vionic sandals

Vionic is my go-to brand since the moment I started dealing with foot and ankle pain years and years ago. I started with a pair of their supportive flip flops, which last forever, and have built my collection from there! Vionic offers such a wide variety of styles and everything from wedges and heels to boots and sneakers.

My current favorite for this spring and summer is one of their newer styles, the Vionic Roni Slide. It’s a super on-trend style with great arch support, luxe suede and leather, and a feminine touch with the ruffles up top. They come in three colors which are all great neutral pieces to go with everything in your summer wardrobe.

My go-to for the summer is the Vionic Tide Flip Flop. They are so incredibly supportive, especially for high arches, and come in dozens of colors and styles – leather, sequins, suede and more. And with an average rating of 4.5/5 from more than 2,200 ratings, it is definitely a crowd favorite. Fun fact: I even slipped into a gold sequin pair of Tides for my wedding reception so I could dance the night away in comfort!

Adidas Grand Court Sneakers

Does it get any more classic than this pair of Adidas? Not only are the Grand Courts so comfortable – wear all day comfy! – they go with just about everything. Pick up a few different pairs with more than a dozen color options.

They help put a fun, playful spin on dresses and skirts, a perfect pairing for jeans and a tee and of course, a great companion to leggings and yoga pants. Win, win, win. Not to say I was an early adopter, but I definitely had a pair with turquoise stripes in the early 2000s!

P.S. right now some colors are HALF off! Save up to $32.50 right now through Amazon! (4/22/2020)

Nike Running Shoes

If I had one shoe that I absolutely wear the soles out, my pair of black Nike Tanjun running shoes would be it. Comfortable, easy on and off and go with everything under the sun for those active days with kids. These babies have been to the zoo, aquarium, doctors’ appointments, preschool, the beach… you name it, they’ve been there.

These shoes are so incredibly flexible and can complement all your cute workout and casual outfits with more than two dozen different colors!

Keds Charter Sneaker + Sperry Lounge Away Sneaker

My Keds and Sperrys are two peas in an adorable little pod. They’re comfortable, a bit more stylish than your average mom shoe and fit just about everything in your everyday closet.

These two shoes are similar in style and always in my travel bag, too! I highly, highly recommend either pair of these slip on shoes for plane travel. Wear a pair of no-show socks, slip ’em off at security and they slide back on in seconds. Great for sightseeing, too, if you’re not into wearing obvious tennis shoes while exploring tourist attractions.

BOC wedges + Naturalizer Heels

Most of the shoes on this list are definite casual wear, so I figured I’d throw in some dressier pieces! Two of my favorite brands for heels and wedges are BOC and Naturalizer. They offer cushioned soles and great support, along with heel heights that aren’t too tall to chase littles at special events. Two of my favorites are Naturalizer’s Fawn heels and BOC’s Schirra wedge. When looking for heels for special events, I recommend going with a thicker heel. They help distribute your weight a little better than thin heels, which means better balance and comfort.

Shop my picks for the most comfortable shoes below!

Tell me: What are your go-to comfort shoes for chasing littles around?