Today is my very first photo tip day! Thank you all for responding last week (see here) when I introduced the plan to do a series of photography and styling tips each week. I hope you find these helpful and I'm looking forward to chatting with you all. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like! Remember, I'm not a pro by any stretch of the word, so no questions will sound dumb to me. I'm not a tech person either, so much of the info I give will be from a personal experience, trial and error background. So ask ask away! I'll do my best to answer and I'm sure others will pipe in too!
I figure the best place to start is with the camera. My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 which is a DSLR. Whatever all that means! Who knows! This was the first "real" camera I have ever purchased. Before this, I only ever had point and shoot cameras, meaning that you don't really adjust anything, the camera does it for you.
Now let me just come right out and say it at the beginning: This camera is expensive. You can find one of these right now for between $500-$800. This isn't going to be in everyone's budget and it doesn't need to be. Not everyone really needs this nice of a camera. Before my blog and shop, I was quite happy to have a regular old run of the mill digital camera to take snapshots of family trips and whatnot. When I started a business that relies upon imagery, I found that my digital camera just wasn't giving me what I wanted in a photo. Also, I never put photographs of myself on my blog until I got this camera. It made a freakin' world of difference in photos of myself. Images are crisp and amazingly detailed now.
The main reason I chose this particular camera was that it is the smallest and lightest DSLR camera on the market. My hands don't do well with holding heavy cameras and I don't want to lug around a huge object with me wherever I go either. Most ladies could probably fit this baby in a medium sized purse without problem. It is only 5" by 5" big! Is that still big enough to feel embarrassed taking photos of your food at a fancy restaurant? Yes, but I think it would feel that way no matter the size, so I've just had to tell myself to get over it and take the damn picture anyway! Luckily, now I have a smartphone that I can take some of those pics with instead. ;-)
Another tip: If you have a local photography/camera shop, I would suggest going there before the big box stores like Best Buy, etc. The big box store staff really doesn't have much knowledge of their cameras past the stats and info you can read on the box. A local shop however usually is made up of photographers. They tend to know exactly what cameras to suggest to which people and they will let you fiddle around with them a bit inside the store too (can't do that at Best Buy because they don't have a memory card and they're attached to a gargantuan safety lock). I wanted to be able to take some photos, try out different settings, etc. before I laid down that kind of money. The staff at the place I went to was extremely helpful and I trusted their expertise. Plus, I got to help support a local mom & pop shop, which I love.
Now, truth be told, I was in way over my head with this camera. Like I said, I had never had a "real" camera before so I had no idea how to really work this thing. Luckily for me, the main parts of the camera are relatively self explanatory. They did a great job at making it intuitive to use. I would love to take photography lessons some day, but for now I've just been trying out different settings and sticking with the ones that work for me. I'm a bit lazy. I could easily find online tutorials and such about how to use the camera, but I got overwhelmed with those quite quickly. Instead, I really only use like 10% of what the camera is probably capable of. I usually stick to portrait mode when photographing myself and then adjust different aspects to suit the mood, outfit, and location that I want (I will discuss this further in future photo tip posts).
Having had this camera now since June, I've had enough time to decide whether it works for me and ask the question "Did I make the right decision?". The answer is a resounding YES. I love this camera!
Please ask away about any specific questions you might have regarding the camera, how it works, etc. If you are thinking about purchasing something like this yourself I would love to be of any help possible in answering questions. Also, if you love the camera you have now, please let us all know what type it is and why you love it in the comments section so we can get other great recommendations going.
Next week, I'll be sharing tips and info on the rest of my equipment, including my extra lens and tripod.
Last Week's Friday Photo Tip: