Since I started this blog 9 months ago (holy moly, has it been 9 months???), one of my biggest frustrations has been the photography. Prior to blogging, I honestly didn't put too much thought into photos. I took them (randomly and not very consistently), and then sometimes printed them. Done. I never stopped mid project to take step by step photos, or even really cared about the lighting or the composition. Once I started sharing projects though, I started to get really perturbed that I put so much into a project and the photos just weren't doing it justice. I also never thought we lived in a total cave until I tried to start taking decent photos of our rooms. Yes, apparently we live in a super dark house, where decent pictures are nearly impossible.
I was using a Canon Powershot until a couple of months ago. It was a mid-level point and shoot, and while it did take great pictures outside, it just didn't do well inside without a flash. I do still intend to use this camera every once and a while, when I want more than my phone but don't have the room (or extra hands) to carry around the DSLR.
Since I started blogging, I have tried really hard to not spend much money on the blog. I make pennies (if I am lucky) from this blog, so to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars in the beginning just didn't make sense. I love doing it as a hobby, but it's not a good hobby if it starts costing me money. But, with that said, the one thing that I did think would make a huge difference around here were some better pictures. The camera I had just wasn't cutting it. I also justified that a new camera was more than a blog purchase. After I finished Fin's Year 1 photo book, I took a look at it and just wished that we had nicer, brighter photos of her. So, I took the plunge.
I did my research on DSLR cameras and decided that I would start with something entry level. I read a lot between the difference between Canon and Nikon, but to be honest it was all sort of greek to me. Then one day while Fin and I were reading flyers (she LOVES 'reading' flyers), I saw that Wal-mart was having a huge anniversary sale. The Nikon D3000 was $100 off, making it just under $300. Considering the same model is going on Amazon for around $450, $300 was my kind of price! I went the next day and picked one up (after going to 3 Wal-marts...apparently other people wanted one too!). The only thing that the D3000 doesn't have, that I did sort of want, is the ability to shoot video. I figured that I have an iPad and an iPhone that can shoot video though, so that's good enough for now. It did come as a kit with the 18-55mm lens.
Before I even took the camera out of the box, I decided that I wanted to learn it the right way. I wanted to learn how to shoot in manual mode before I even had the chance to get used to automatic mode. That way I wouldn't be tempted to give up learning and just fall back on auto.
I signed up the Photography 101 course through Shoot Fly Shoot (while they were having a 30% off sale - yay!) and watched all of the videos over the weekend. The course was awesome. I highly recommend it if you are wanting to stop using auto mode. It wasn't greek, which made me happy.
I can't say that it's been all rainbows and gum drops. I am really loving all of the learning and the cool things that I can do with the new Nikon, but I do get quite frustrated sometimes when I still can't get the lighting how I want, or I miss something funny that Fin is doing because I am too slow with the settings (or maybe she's too fast - that girl never stops!). But, I can say that I am so much happier with the quality of the photos for the blog. I still have so far to go, but at least now I have the equipment that can help me get there (and once I get a tripod and a 50mm lens I'll really have the equipment ).
Want a little example? Photographing the dip dyed stool I made in the summer was a big challenge for me. The gold dipped legs kept blending with the carpet, and the room was so dark that everything looked grainy. I thought it might be fun to do a little comparison show and tell. Here's almost the same shot with the old camera and the new camera (forgive me that I didn't haul out the knick knacks to style the chair again).
Here's the picture that I took with my point and shoot.
And here's the new camera on auto.
And the new camera on manual mode.
And the last picture edited.
Pretty big difference, right? I am tempted to re-photograph rooms that I've already shown you and switch out the pictures, but that would be a little too anal, so I will resist.
I also should note that I do edit almost every photo that gets posted here. I've tried a few editing programs over the past few months, including PicMonkey, Pixlr, Picnic (when it existed) and Picasa. The easiest program that I find to use though (and the most convenient) is the editor that's built in iPhoto. It allows me to adjust levels and colours, but isn't too complicated. I also export my photos out of iPhoto so that they batch watermark, instead of me having to watermark each one individually (like in PicMonkey). A version of Photoshop is on my wishlist for the future, but right now I am sticking to just learning the camera and not getting too involved in editing (my Mom brain can only handle one thing at a time).
I'll leave you with my favourite picture of Fin that I've captured with the new camera. It truly captures her. She is contstantly exploring and gets so excited with the small things (like the paint peeling off the deck). A good reminder to all of us to still get excited about the small things.