Photography is something I’ve always enjoyed. I alway took tons of pictures growing up, and I love captured fun moments we had as a family. When I was a senior in high school, I worked at a Target Portrait Studio during the holiday season, and I really enjoyed it.
I always wanted to take a photography class in high school, but because I was lame and intimidated by all the “cool” people that took the class, I decided not to. I’ve always regretted that, especially since I’ve realized I’m way cooler than anyone that was in that class (just kidding. Kind of.)
When I started blogging a few years ago, I quickly discovered the importance of quality pictures. Forrest and I were able to get a Nikon D3100 with a couple of kit lenses, and I quickly started learning how to use it. I loved reading tutorial after tutorial and practicing every chance I got. After a few months, I upgraded to my first 50mm lens and started seeing marked improvement.
While I would definitely not claim to be a professional, I’m learning more and more every day, and I like to think I take pretty good pictures (more so of people than food.) I’ve even been building up my own photography business – 480 Photography. As I was thinking about this, I thought it would be fun to combine my knowledge with a few other photographers I’ve reached out to, to help people take better pictures.
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Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing a variety of beginning photography posts. These posts are geared toward people who have DSLRs, but they have really know idea what they are doing. I’m not trying to put professional photographers out of business, or encourage the idea that anyone can be a photographer – simply, I want to help people just take more advantage of the expensive camera they have.
I haven’t been as good about updating this series as I would have liked to. I hope to add some more to these series eventually, but I am slowly adding some details below to each of the topics I eventually hope to cover in more depth.
I personally use the Nikon D7100. For a few years, I used the Nikon D3100, and it worked very well. The 7100 produced a little bit higher quality pictures, and I really love it. We shoot with the Sigma 24-70mm (which can be used with Canon DSLR cameras) and the Nikon 50mm 1.8.
I shot with the Nikon 50mm for a long time. I really love it for close up shots and for food photography. It also is excellent for portrait photography – especially headshots. However, for everyday shooting, it was annoying to have to always back up into a corner to take pictures!
After some research, I decided that a 24-70mm 2.8 would be a great option – it gives a nice range of lens length, the apperature is relatively low, and it looked like it would take sharp pictures. I ended up getting the Sigma 24-70, rather than the Nikon, because it was a fraction of the price. I feel it takes great pictures still.
You can click the link above for a few more of my recommended photography equipment!
I highly recommend checking out KEH for photography equipment. You can buy and sell equipment there, and after looking through it, I found that the prices were extremely reasonable.
I love natural lighting. I feel that it really creates such a natural, beautiful tone. When you are outside, it can be easier than indoors (so long as you are shooting during the right hours!) This post really goes into a lot of details about the art of indoor natural light photography, so I recommend checking it out.
Tour of DSLR & Photography Terminology
The Art of Lighting
Lighting is the key to any photography – whether you are using artificial lighting or natural lighting, it really can make or
Basics of Shooting in Manual
Ah…manual! The thought of it scares many people away, but honestly, I don’t think it’s that difficult once you get the hang of it. Say NO to Auto by Kristen Duke is an AMAZING introduction to getting out of Auto.
There are a few terms you need to know for shooting in manual:
- Aperture – this is sometimes referred to as the f/stop number. Aperature controls the amount of exposure in the camera. It also affects the depth of field, or, in plainer terms, how blurry the background is. The lower the aperature, the more blurry and creamy the background will be. There is a mode on DSLR cameras that allows you to adjust the aperature manually, but the camera adjuts the other settings to work with your f/stop. This can be a good place to start.
- Shutter Speed – this refers to the amount of time a the film or digital sensor in a camera is exposed to light.
- ISO – this affects the amount of light let into a camera. If I have good natural light, I keep this as low as possible. If you crank it up really high, it can make your pictures less crisp and more grainy. However, in low light situations, it can really help!
To get started with shooting in manual, I recommend looking at what the settings are in an auto shooting session. When you look at your camera, it should show what the aperature setting is, what the shutter speed is, and what the ISO is. After looking at that, you can try and mimic similarar settings in manual.
Settings for Different Situations
Taking Photos of Kids Outside
Options for Photo Editing & Basic Editing Tips
Fun Ways to Display Pictures
Round up of Photography Tutorials
Until then, here are some inexpensive books and courses I recommend:
Unexpected Every Day: From Snapshots to Lifestyle Photography in 30 Days ($19) – GREAT resource for those just starting out.
Say NO to Auto by Kristen Duke. Such an awesome book for those of you just getting started with your DSLR! It’s only $10 for the eBook version; $20 for the print!
ANY ebook from Digital Photography School is awesome. Here are a couple I recommend:
Natural Light: Mastering a Photographer’s Most Powerful Tool ($19.99)
14 Recipes for Amazing Portraits ($9.99)
How to Take Gorgeous Pictures of Your Kids ($29.99)
Kids Posing Guide ($19.99)
iPhone Photography ($19.99)
Tasty Food Photography by Pinch of Yum (geared toward food photographers, but it has great tips for all!) ($29)