Before we proceed, I must stress that I am not a professional photographer. I am just a novice that learned the basics of a DSLR camera and found a way to adjust the settings to fit my aesthetic. I'll happily share the knowledge I have, but be warned that I am certainly not an expert.
I Heart My Camera
Today, I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3i camera. It is a DSLR (the fancy kind of camera with detachable lenses). I love my camera. The quality, crispness, and clarity of the photos it captures astounds me every time I use it. I especially love that it has the ability to make the background appear blurry so your eye is drawn to the intended subject of the photo.
Learning to Shoot Like a Pro
Owning a quality camera is only half the battle. It is equally important that you know the basics of operating a DSLR. Any camera is only as good as the person standing behind it. When I first received my camera, I was beyond intimidated. I was scared of breaking it, the operating manual was like a foreign language, and I was completely overwhelmed.
Then I signed up for a 3-hour photography workshop.
That single class changed everything.
That single class changed everything.
I discovered BTW Photography, a local photographer that offered a 3-hour DSLR class for beginners. I was taught basic camera terminology, how to adjust my settings to adjust the amount of light in the photo, and what all those crazy numbers on the display screen mean. I walked away confident and ready to put my new photography knowledge to use. I now shoot exclusively in manual mode and I never use a flash. (Purchasing an external flash and learning how to use it artistically is on my holiday to-do list).
I highly recommend a beginner's class for everyone that purchases their first DSLR camera. Whether you own a Canon or a Nikon, your camera will work so much better for you if you know how to use it properly. Unsure of where to find a class? Check your local community college. They frequently offer basic photography classes. Groupon and Living Social also offer occasional deals on local photography classes. (BTW Photography is a perfect example of a professional photographer that has offered classes through Living Social).
Let's Talk LensesEveryone that gets ready to purchase a new camera always wants to know what lens they need. Many DSLR cameras are available in a starter kit that includes a camera body and an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens. I have learned that this is a very basic starter lens. It's the lens that I started on and it serves many everyday functions. It's perfect for shooting around the home (or classroom) while you become accustomed to your new camera. This type of lens sells for about $200 by itself so I highly recommend purchasing a camera kit that includes a camera body and this lens.
Once you feel comfortable with the camera and the basics, consider upgrading to a new lens. My favorite lens is a 50mm/f 1.8 II lens. It let's you zoom in super-close and allows you to adjust your aperture to a super-low setting of 1.8 (in non-technical talk, this basically means that it allows you to let in lots of light and get the background of your images extra blurry). This lens was recommended to me at the class and I love it! I use it 90% of the time when I take photos. In fact, i recently broke my 50mm lens in an unfortunate accident and had to RUSH to Best Buy to purchase a replacement.
Sidenote: Have you ever wondered what the inside of a camera lens looks like?
I don't. Not anymore.
A Stylish Camera BagEvery girl needs a fabulous bag to carry her camera in style.I carry a Rose Coral bag from Jo Totes. I love how it looks like an oversize purse (I always get tons of compliments) and is large enough to hold my camera, additional lenses, and my purse contents so I don't have to carry too many bags at once.
Jo Totes Camera Bag giveaway! The contest runs now until Friday, December 13 at 10:00pm EST.
With some basic information to get you started on your own journey into DSLR photography, I am hoping that your toughest decision will be which camera bag to add to your Christmas wish list!Say cheese!