Tuesday, May 19

What's in the bag?

The camera bag that is. I've been getting questions a lot lately about how I started with photography, what camera I have, etc. So I thought I'd do a little post about my short journey into photography.

(Disclaimer: I do not in any way think that I am the authority on photography, I'm not even very good compared to most, but I do think that I've learned a few things over the past year that are helpful to those starting out)

First, the equipment:
Camera: Nikon D90
Lenses: 50 mm 1.8, 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300 mm f/4-5.6
Flash: Speedlight SB-600

My very smart husband purchased the Nikon D70 for us a few years ago. At that point he did tons of research and also purchased the 70-300mm lens and speedlight. The 18-70mm lens is the kit lens that came with the D70. I got the 50 mm 1.8 lens for my birthday last year. It is on the camera 95% of the time. I really love it. Since it is 50mm only, it is called a prime lens. If you want to zoom in or out - you physically have to move to get closer or farther away - this takes some getting used to.

I RARELY use flash. My camera is set to Manual mode 99% of the time and I adjust aperture, shutter speed, or ISO to get the exposure I need. (Most of the time this exposure is not correct - but I try!) One of the main reasons I don't use flash is because I just don't know how - plain and simple. I also don't use it because I really like the effect of natural light photography.

Second, the education:

I have taken two classes from The Showcase School of Photography, Digital 101 & Digital 102. I would like to sign up to take People One this summer to get a better feel for what I should be doing with the portraits I take. The Showcase School is great. They offer affordable classes at great times. At the end of Digital 101, you can set your camera on manual and know how to adjust it to get the type of image that you want without having to think too much. For me, this class really solidified the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Digital 102 just takes this to the next level.

If you aren't into sitting in a classroom, this book is great: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

Really the best education is to just get out there and practice. That is what is so great about digital - you can shoot, fill up your card, then just delete them all if nothing turned out. I shoot Charlotte at least every other day, and each time I learn something new, or try a new technique. For instance, lately I have been trying to shoot "wide open". Putting my 50mm lens at f/2 or lower. This produces a VERY shallow depth of field - so everything is blurry in the background.

Another great form of education is to google "Photography Forums" and start following a forum. You can learn a lot by seeing other people's work critiqued.

Like I said, I'm in no way an expert. But, I hope this helps some of you that are in the same spot I was last year - I had an awesome camera in my hands, a beautiful subject, but had no idea how to get the images I wanted.


Lora Lee & Lora Kate's Blog said...

Thanks for this and your email yesterday. Played with my new toy yesterday on manual and LOVE that effect! :-)
Lora Lee

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the lesson! Can we have part 2 where you explain what the heck the code for those lenses means? (70-300mm etc.)

Natalie at Our Old Southern House said...

i was wondering what flash you had. i'm not "allowed" to use flash which stinks b/c our house is pretty dark after 3pm. and i totally agree about the showcase school--thank you for pointing me in that direction!!

Sarah said...

Since I got my 50mm lens for Mother's Day, I have not taken it off! I love it and have, for the most part, kept it set at f 1.8 --LOVE IT! I was just looking at the classes because I want to take another one this summer and was thinking about People One also. You certainly have a cute little subject to practice on :)

Zane Hollingsworth said...

Great post Carrie.

You do a wonderful job shooting with natural light only. I've looked at a few images and thought you had to have been using a huge softbox to get the soft, controlled light in the photos.

If you want to learn about lighting I'd check out www.strobist.com. Dave Hobby's lighting 101 & 102 are great. I've got a copy of his seminar on DVD & if you're interested I'll get it to my sister for you.

Keep shooting those wonder pics of Charlotte.

Meredith said...

Thanks for the lesson Carrie! You should teach a little class to the rest of us. :)