Warning: Amateur Mommy advice to follow! I am not a photographer, but have learned to hold my own and take some pretty good pictures…(ok at least I think so.)
A few months before I had my son, I invested in a DSLR camera. My searches for this camera included googling: easiest DSLR ever invented for someone who knows nothing about cameras. I discovered two cameras that seemed to meet that exact criteria. A Nikon Dsomethingorother (I can’t remember right now) and the camera that I picked: The Canon Rebel T3i. You can check it out here: http://amzn.to/ZcYwmc .
I had every intention of reading the manual (as recommended by my maternity and newborn photographer, Anne Companion – http://www.annecompanionphotography.com ). She told me that was the best way, really, to learn about my camera. Did I do this before baby, when I actually had time? No! Of course not silly, why would I do such a thing? I had a few friends give me some quickie tutorials, that I didn’t much pay attention to, because, well that’s just me and if something seems overly complicated, I begin to lose focus.
What I did first discover was a setting called Creative Auto. At this point, I was still WAY too afraid to shoot in manual mode. In Creative Auto, you can play with the settings to get all kinds of different styles of photographs. Vibrant, Soft, Black and White, Sepia, you name it. You can also set background blur. In conjunction with a little thing called Pinterest, where I got a lot of good ideas on staging photos, I was able to get some pretty good shots. I’d use iPhoto to do some minor editing. Here are some of my favorites:
When I was taking the Christmas lights pictures, I realized a lot of my limitations. Even more than that, once my son started to walk and run, I was out of my league. All my pictures suddenly became blurry because he moved too fast for me and my Creative Auto, and I couldn’t get the shots I wanted to. Not even using the sports (or little man running) setting. So my friend found a Groupon for a class to teach me how to get out of Auto and into using manual.
This class was fantastic!! This is the website for the class I took: http://dslrworkshops.com . The instructor is down to earth and easy to learn from. He taught us how to shoot both in manual and aperture priority. These terms sound very scary don’t they? Kind of like in the Lion King where the hyenas say “Mufasa…ooo say it again! Mufasa!” But they aren’t! I swear! The instructor recommended this particular lens as a must have and I definitely agree! http://amzn.to/12Oq5WE . I also have another lens that I love, it is a Canon Zoom EF-S 55-250mm (1:4-5.6). These are my two favorites so far. Another great takeaway from the class was a recommendation on software. I now use Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been playing around with it for a few months now. I still barely know how to use it, but the capabilities are much more comprehensive than using just iPhoto. I did find an App in the App Store that teaches you how to use Lightroom and it was free. You can’t beat free! It’s not extraordinarily expensive either, around 70-80 dollars. Here are some of the photos I took after the class:
So, what’s the moral of the story? If you’ve invested in an expensive DSLR, but are afraid to use it, don’t be. You can play around with the different automatic settings until you are more comfortable. And then when you are ready to graduate, take a class, find a Groupon or LivingSocial Deal, and learn a little bit more. It’s definitely worth it to be able to use your investment and capture some memories!