Oh Snap! 5 Tips for a Beginning Photographer

OhSnapAfter experiencing so many different ‘photo shoots’ during pregnancy and when the princess was first born, I began to feel like my cell phone snap shots just weren’t cutting it. I really wanted something more than a simple point and shoot camera to be able to capture my baby girl as she grew.

After seeking the council of a few photographer friends, I settled on purchasing a Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR. I picked the package that came with all the little extras and went ahead and purchased two extra batteries and a fun, pink camera strap.

While I know this certainly isn’t a ‘professional’ camera by any means, it’s the first step in learning how to take better pictures, and it’s a great way to capture my little girl with great shots as she gets older. Once my camera came in the mail, I was like a kid at Christmas. After taking it out and snapping a few pictures in auto mode (and NOT being happy with the way they turned out) I sought the help of Pinterest to learn some tips and tricks. In addition to talking to a few photographers, trying to gain advice from them, I learned a few crucial things which has helped guide my photography thus far.

  1. DO NOT USE AUTO MODE! While there may be a time when ‘auto mode’ is helpful, I have yet to find it. As intimidating as “manual” may be, I promise it’s really not that hard! I play with the settings until the image looks like I want it to. The more I play, the easier and more natural it becomes.
  2. ISO- “Is the Sun Out” That has been one of the most helpful tips in remembering what this setting is for. If you have a lot of natural light, you probably don’t need a high ISO setting. The less natural light you have, the more you may need ISO. But beware! This can make photos grainy if used too much. It’s always better to use natural lighting. Pictures look so much nicer!
  3. WHITE BALANCE- the White Balance setting makes SUCH a huge difference! My camera includes several settings for indoor and outdoor settings. The worst thing you can do it keep it on auto. Simply changing this to the setting to meet your shooting conditions makes such a big difference.
  4. APERTURE/F-STOP- This controls the amount of focus. You know those great pictures that have a subject in focus but the background is blurry? That’s what f-stop does! Learn more about aperture.
  5. SHUTTER SPEED- This is the other crucial setting on a DSLR camera. Setting the shutter speed determines how much light you’re letting in and how fast the camera is capturing the image. A slower shutter speed lets in more light (but can also blur photographs if the subject is moving). A faster shutter speed allows for less light but captures quick moments. Determining which one is better should be based on the subject.

Here are some of the first pictures I’ve taken on my camera