Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photography Tips from a Beginner

As promised, here is my post about photography.  First I must give a disclaimer:  ***I am by no means (not on any planet) a professional.  Actually, I still consider myself very much a beginner.  I may know a little more than the average beginner photographer, but not much.  I have no formal training other than one class (Digital 101) I took with a local Atlanta photographer.  That class helped me to improve my skills leaps and bounds!  I'm still learning and pracitcing and consider photography a fun hobby... plus it doesn't hurt to have decent pics on the blog.  I'm really excited because I'm taking a portrait photography class with that same photographer this weekend, so I'll let you know how that goes.

A picture with my point and shoot after I learned some photography fundamentals.  This is a picture of our soon to be home, come July 1, 2011!

Photography became a real hobby for me this summer after our wedding.  I did really well with our wedding budget, as in, we came out under budget!  Yes, it's really possible.  Don't let people tell you that you that you will always be over budget with a wedding.  That's such a huge lie and it just kills me that people always say that!  Moving on from my soap box.  Since we were under budget, and I have wanted a DSLR for a very long time, I sat Hubby down and asked him if I could buy one with our left over wedding money.  I obviously needed to make sure he was ok with it, because we both paid for the wedding and it wasn't just my money.  He knew I definitely wanted a DSLR before we had kids, but now we had the opportunity to get one well before.  He was 100% on board with me so I started researching cameras.  Lucky for me, my close friend had just bought the exact camera I was interested in a few months earlier.  So I talked to her about it and she referred me to a website that sold them for really great prices.  The website is:  I ended up purchasing the Canon EOS Rebel XS SLR Digital Camera with EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens Bonus Kit and had a great experience with them.  They have really great customer service... as in they call you and make sure that what you received was exactly what you wanted!  I was very impressed. 

I started just by playing with the camera and becoming familiar with it, then I read some tips on different blogs, then I started looking at the manual, and THEN I took a class.  I think it's important to be familiar with the camera before you pay for a class.  

As far as equipment, you saw the kit I bought.  I'm really glad I got the camera with the kit.  I didn't have any of those things and I use them all.  You definitely need the UV filter to protect the lens (and you should buy one for all your lenses), and the battery lasts for a really long time, and the memory card holds a lot of pictures.  I used the case up until about two weeks ago when I bought a new one.  I LOVE the new one.  It's really functional and holds all three of my lenses plus other items.
Now to the most important part (other than learning how to use the camera, of course), lenses.  The kit lens is wonderful if you have never used an SLR.  Trust me when I say, if you don't know how to use the aperture priority or shutter speed priority settings, you don't need any other lenses when you first get the camera.  It's a basic lens that can zoom in and out with auto focus and image stabilization.  I used this lens for the first six months I had the camera.  Once I was comfortable with Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, and ISO, then I was ready to invest in a new lens.  

Here are a couple of pictures taken with the kit lens:

The next lens I wanted was one with low aperture.  After reading some posts on blogs with hobbyist photographers, I decided on the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.  This lens is fantastic for portraits.  For the price, it has a very sharp image and good bokeh.  I received it as a gift for Christmas from my wonderful in-laws, but the price is great for a really useful lens!  It fluctuates on Amazon, but it's usually around $100.  The next lens up from this one is over $300, so I think it's a pretty good deal.  The only negative thing I can think of is that it is fixed (as in there is no zoom).  So you have to move your feet to "zoom" in and out.  But I haven't really had any problems with that, and I certainly don't think it's worth another $250 to have a zoom.  One more thing you need to know about this lens, and really about almost all pictures you take, is that you should Never Ever use your flash.  After learning how to really use the camera correctly, I have only had one instance where I needed to use my flash.  Between raising your ISO number, lowering your shutter speed, and using natural light, you really shouldn't need a flash 99.999% of the time. 

Here are a couple of pictures with the 50mm f/1.8:

My sister is stunning, isn't she?  
Our family dog

 The last and most recent lens I bought isn't really a lens itself, it's more of an add-on.  I read about it on one of my favorite blogs, Bower Power.  Katie is a fantastic photographer, in the past couple of weeks she has even decided to take her hobby to the next level and make it into a job!  She bought this Wide Angle Lens "add-on", and posted some pictures she took with it and I was immediately hooked.  For a mere $5.51, you can have a wide angle lens to add on to your kit lens.  It simply screws on and off.  For the price you really can't go wrong.  I really like it for landscapes.  It does distort things but it also widens your picture a good little bit.  Also, when you are all the way zoomed out, you can see the edges of the lens.  I actually kind of like that, but I know a much more sophisticated photographer may want to have a much nicer wide angle.  For now, that'll have to do for me.  Wide angle lenses can get very expensive. 

Here are a couple of pictures taken with the wide angle "add-on" lens:

As for some legit help, here are a few blogs that I recommend for photography tips.  These ladies know WAY more about photography than I do, so if something they say conflicts with something I say, I'd go with them :)

Now that I've gotten this out of the way, I'll start to weave little photography tips into my posts.  I know I have only skimmed the surface, but I hope this was helpful.

Be back later this week with some really yummy brownies!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please remember to be respectful when commenting... Leave the drama for yo momma!