After all of the hulabaloo I posted about getting a new camera, a few of you understandably wondered what I ended up getting. I got her:

A Canon Rebel XS:

She's pretty much at the bottom of the totem poll as far as DSLR's go, but oh how I love her. Where I'm such a newbie to the world of photography (I don't even know if I can even say I'm in that world at all) she's just what I need to start learning.

A couple of others have mentioned you also got a new DSLR and are figuring out how to use it. To that I say, let's learn together!!! Here are some things I've learned along with a few other random thoughts:

  • Right now I'm actually taking a free class from Mario Ruiz. He's professional photographer who is getting his MBA right now and kindly offered this class to any other fellow MBA students and/or spouses. This is where I first felt the desire for a fancy shmancy camera and learned terms like exposure and aperture.
  • Right after I got my camera I experimented with the very little knowledge I had + the owner's manual. One night I start browsing through Pioneer Woman's photography blog (I've read her other stuff, but never had a need for the photography posts--until now)--SO HELPFUL. I love her. She explains things so they are so easy to understand. If you just got a camera that you don't know how to use, go there. Fast.
  • I'm always confused to whether or not I'm "doing it right". Photography is SO subjective. Yet as beginners I feel we need some sort of way to check ourselves to determine whether or not we're using our new skill correctly. Obviously, there are shots that are obviously wrong--but I'm trying to make myself a little more comfortable in finding what I love and learning to go with it. This will be a lengthy process.
  • Shooting moving things (aka people) is SO difficult for me! With my kids it's fine because I can just shoot a bajillion shots while they sit there and play. Tinkering with all sorts of settings and modes. However--I went to a YW activity the other night thinking how fun it would be to document the event and was like shoot...they're posing for me and ...nope--that setting didn't work. "Could you just stay there for a minute-hehe." Nope...that setting didn't work...sigh.
  • Sometimes I like to think I can make any setting work as long as I find the right combo of settings. Especially where most of the photos I've taken during this past month  have been indoors when it's been dreary outside, this idea has left me frustrated. Sometimes I have to accept the fact that THERE IS NO LIGHT and whip out the flash and be fine with it. That's the conclusion I came to at the YW activity:)
  • I'd like to say I'm a strictly a SOOC (straight out of camera. A term used for hoity-toity photographers  who think you shouldn't edit photos and are usually talented enough to take photos that don't need editing.) photographer because I'm awesome, but no. I just have a LAME, lamers, lame-o, computer that can't handle Photoshop. I downloaded a trial version of Photoshop Elements (simplified version of Photoshop) and it runs sooo slow. So right now I'm stuck with Picasa for basic cropping and that's pretty much it. I will also look at my photos on Phil's computer and realize there are details I can see on his computer that I can't see on mine. One day, my friends, one day.
  • Speaking of SOOC. The theory interests my, but personally, I can't wait to get my hand on some great editing software. Can we say fun? I get the idea of reigning it in (PW talks about that too), but I shall always be pro editing.
  • Finally, storage. I have taken more pictures this month than I did all of last year. How do I store them? Get more drives? Online albums/storage archives? Tell me. I want to know. 
  • Oh and I want this bag to carry her around in:


    1. Have you tried Gimp? It's a free photo editing program. It's a lot like photoshop. I also have Elements. I like Gimp for some things and Elements for others. It's worth a try. I love your enthusiasm for learning photography. Keep sharing what you learn!!

    2. Thanks for sharing! I love that camera bag. I need to get one for my new camera too. I haven't looked at all, but that is so cute!

      I will check out that photography website.

    3. Yay!!! I'm glad you got your camera. And that camera bag is to die for. So fun. P.S. - I know that we really only know each other through our blogs, but I'm so excited that you might be moving to the New York area. We'll be moving there in August!! Can we be city friends, please? Ok thanks.

    4. Hooray on the camera! Shoot in manual mode as much as you can, you learn the most that way. The biggest favor a photographer could do at this point is buy an external flash (if you don't already have one)- flash bounced off the cieling or wall is SO much better than right-in-the-face.
      Instead of elements, try Lightroom (or at least a trial of it). I love it for most everything though it won't do all the stuff photoshop would.
      Also, find an online bulletin board you can learn photography with. I can't tell you how much I learned just by reading the critiques that way.

      I gave up on photography for a while because Daniel was just too wiggly. And now my external flash broke and there just isn't enough natural light this time of year:(

    5. If you've ever got an extra $100 burning a hole in your pocket, get the 50mm 1.8 lens (Amazon typically has the best price, and it seems to bounce between $80-$120). You will be so so so so happy.

      I still have no idea what I'm doing with my camera, and have kind of given up trying lately (been shooting all on auto), but when you actually do take control of the settings, the pictures you get out of the 50mm put my kit lens to shame. I never take it off.

    6. P.S. When it gets a little warmer we should force our kiddos into a photoshoot and practice together! :)

    7. Oh, fun! One of my friends who IS a super fancy photographer who gets called in to do shoots for real magazines uses this same camera. She talked me into this same one, and I've never regretted it. She says it is all about the lense. I agree with your friend, Lisa. Once I invested in the 50 m.m., my "skills" really improved. :) I love the pictures you take. Please pass on all the info. you learn!

      p.s. I am soo with you--all photo blogs cringe at the use of flash, but not all pictures have to be a work of art, and sometimes it is better to see everybody's face then get one that doesn't turn out at all. I feel like I'm breaking a law or something whenever I use it, though.