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Friday, July 11, 2014

Casual Friday + my camera and lens


Sunnies: Vince Camuto | Necklace: Kate Spade (option, option)  | Bag: Kate Spade (option, option) | Top: JCrew FactoryJeans: American Eagle (option) | Shoes: Steve Madden

This outfit is exactly what I needed today - something mindless that I could throw on but still feel good in. I don't know why that formula always seems to involve distressed jeans and these leopard slip ons, but there's just something about this combo that always feels great!

I feel like I've been throwing a little randomness at you guys lately on Fridays, so to keep with that theme, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how I take my pictures and what kind of camera and any other equipment I use.

Some basics:
1. The camera -- I use a Nikon D5100. We got it about 3 years ago on Black Friday.

2. Note: Neither me nor my husband have any photography experience outside of just taking photos for fun. I'm sure that is apparent in my photos! We just do our best!

3. The husband is usually my photographer, but if I have to fly solo, then I use our tripod (an older version of this) along with this remote. I will set the camera to a 2 second delay remote sensor shutter release when self taking pics - the 2 seconds is just enough time to hide the remote. Let me just tell you - it is IMPOSSIBLE to take photos using the timer vs. the remote because the camera can't focus on what's not there, and since you're behind the camera pressing the shutter button - the camera focuses on the background, and will continue to focus on the background even when you do step into the frame. Definitely pay the $8 to get a remote! I kicked myself for not getting one sooner.

Interested to see which posts I used a tripod for? Here you go! I love that you really wouldn't know any different - human vs. tripod.


4. I use my iPad to manage all of my photos. I just pull all my photos off my card using this SD card reader. (The card inserts into the reader which plugs into the iPad.)

5. I really don't edit my photos much other than lightening them, cropping, or straightening.  Although, I do blemish out wrinkles in my clothes. Nothing worse than taking 23876823687 pictures, just to download them and see that your skirt was all wrinkly! I use the Aviary app for photo editing, and do all the editing on my iPad.

Ok, so now for the game changer - the lens. All last year, I was using the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. It's a great lens, don't get me wrong, but I could never figure out how to achieve the blurry backgrounds that really make you stand out more. I learned that this blurry background is really called "depth of field" and that the 50mm lens was a great basic, starter lens to achieve this. So, for my 1-year blogiversary, I decided to buy a 50mm lens, and I could not be happier with it.

Just so you can appreciate the difference - let's look back at some old photos and compare them to some new ones taken in the same spot. 

Using 18-55mm lens - Original post here

Using 50mm lens - Original post here

Using 18-55mm lens - Original post here

Using 50mm lens - Original post here

Using 18-55mm lens - Original post here

Using 50mm lens - Original post here

I know some of these comparisons are a little unfair because along with the new lens, I also switched to taking all photos over the weekend in bulk - choosing the most optimal, sunny time to do so, vs. taking them individually every dreary morning, so that in and of itself, helps make the photos more appealing. So, for the sake of comparing apples to apples, I give you these photos below.

Focal length 35mm
Aperture f/3.5
ISO 100

Focal length 50mm
Aperture f/1.8
ISO 100

The lower your f stop, the greater the depth of field (i.e. your blurry background.) It is such a subtle difference between the two photos, but you'll see my hair pops better in front of the dark green bushes behind me and my neighbors' flowers on their back porch get a little fuzzier in the second photo. I prefer the second photo over the first because the background is less "noisy" and I feel like I stand out more.

So, a couple things to note about the 50mm lens. It does not zoom. I didn't realize this when I first got it! You physically have to move closer or farther away from your subject to get the detail you are looking for vs the camera zooming in and out. With the 50mm lens, the husband has to stand farther away from me than when he was using the 18-35mm lens in order to get a full body shot. For this reason, it's more difficult to use this lens for taking indoor photos purely because of space constraints.

These are the complete basics of basics that I've learned about lenses over the last few months. I literally knew nothing about this before this year. I actually learned a lot from a couple of Kileen's posts - here and here. I've also referenced this post here.

While I would love to have a professional photographer take all my photos for me, I definitely think buying the 50mm was money well spent and the lens alone made huge improvements in my photos. I can't recommend this enough! Sorry for the photo heavy post, but I hope this was helpful. 


SHOP THE LOOK:

40 comments :

  1. I love my 50mm lens and mine goes down to 1.4. I think it was a great investment on the blog. Also love this casual friday outfit.

    xo
    PinkSole

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    1. It's amazing the difference that change alone makes. My mind was blown when I took my first pictures with it!

      Thanks!

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  2. This was a really fascinating read! Even for someone like myself who is not into photography and doesn't understand the first thing about it, I learned a lot and you explained things very clearly, so thanks for that! if someday I move into "Big Girl Pictures" I will reference this post. And I loved the comparison pictures- very interesting and helpful. And your outfit today- so cute! Also just clicked over your snap widget to see your FULL game day outfit. LOVE IT!!!
    Gina -- On the Daily Express

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    1. I'm so glad you found it easy to follow. I'm sure to a photo expert, I sounded a bit moronic, but I wanted to touch on the simple stuff that I felt made big impacts! Thanks for the input!

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  3. Thanks for all the info. on your photos. It's takes a lot of patience to get them just right! Great casual look.

    http://www.kathrineeldridge1.wordpress.com

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    1. Yes, it definitely does! Glad the husband is patient!!

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  4. So interesting! I'm not into photography at all, which has been one of my blogging sticking points... I do agree that the new lens makes all the difference! I'll file all this information away for when I'm ready to upgrade my camera!

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    1. Yay- glad it was helpful! This is the kind of stuff that I would have loved to know starting my blog! Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  5. OMG if I liked you before, I love you know, I have the same camera, but I got it with the 35mm lens, but after this post and Alisa's post on it, I think the 50mm might be my next investment (I also want a zoom lens for trips, but that will have to wait). Now I know who to bug whenever I have questions :)

    Natalia

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    Replies
    1. You really do need the lens. You will be so happy with it - I truly wished I knew about it sooner!
      Happy to help however I can!

      Delete
  6. Umm, I literally was soaking everything you wrote! Thanks for this post! That's my whole "issue" is -- getting/taking great photos for my blog. My husband takes my pictures too -- but I've never thought about a tripod + remote! We don't have a DLSR and am actually looking into investing one. I have a Samsung Galaxy Android camera and I play around with the f stop and ISO (even though it's a point and shoot) but it's still not the same. Is it worth it to wait for Black Friday sale for a DLSR? Thanks for the info about the lenses, too! :)

    rhea @ rheaetcetera.com

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    1. I don't think Black Friday necessarily matters - we got it at an actual camera store- so maybe buying from Best Buy would benefit you more on Black Friday. Ours was more of a package deal- we got a discount on a second lens along with a case and an SD card. Definitely shop around!

      I'm really happy you found this useful!

      Delete
  7. Really nice and informative post, I downloaded the Aviary app and can't wait to use it- thanks for the info. I love your photos and outfits. Have a lovely weekend! Looking forward to next weeks outfits (and random theme). Rachel xo

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    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm so glad you thought it was helpful! And I hope you like the app as much as I do!

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  8. Love your leopard sneakers!! : )

    Kayla
    www.lovelucygirl.com

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  9. This has been invaluable for me. I've not heard of aviary app before but I shall be downloading it. I've only had a camera for about 4 months now so still very much a beginner. I'm bookmarking this page to read when I'm a little less tired and can take it all in. Thanks for the post!

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    Replies
    1. I hope you like it! It's good for the basics, but I do minimal editing to begin with!

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  10. You look amazing in everything and your wardrobe and style is so impressive. I am particularly drawn to the pink dress, that whole outfit is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The fit on the pink dress is amazing, I really wanted to get every color!
      Thank you!

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  11. Great post, thanks for sharing at the #WWDParty.

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  12. I LOVE your style! You had some really cute outfits in this post. Glad that you are happy with your new lens. Stopping by from the #WWDParty, but I will definitely be following you.

    Thrifting Diva
    www.thriftingdiva.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much - this was such a sweet note! Glad you stopped by! I appreciate the support!

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  13. Your photos look great to me! Of course this is from someone who is just using the timer app on her iPhone. One of these days, I might invest in a good camera and try to learn photography 101!
    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, I am a big fan of the iPhone timer as well! :)

      Delete
  14. You already know how much I love this post :-) Thanks so much for writing it - am going to check out Kileen's post & download the Aviary app !!!

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    1. My pleasure! I hope it was helpful!

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  15. I love the outfit! And wow, that lens really does make such a difference. I just got my dslr a few months ago, and I'm kind of hopeless with it. Once I figure it out better, I will definitely treat myself to a new lens :-)

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    1. Oh I know I only know 1/10th of what my camera can do. I really need to take a class! Good luck getting to know yours!

      Delete
  16. Thanks for stopping by :) Interesting post, I keep on changing lenses too... I did some seminars that helped me a lot. Love your leopard shoes!
    x Nina
    http://trendsurvivor.com

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    1. I really need to do a photo seminar! I think it would be invaluable!

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  17. The lens is definitely worth the investment. Fashion blogging is what finally led me to learn my camera, photography, etc. I wanted a blurry background and finally figured out that the kit lens wasn't going to do it because it doesn't have a high enough aperture. So I got a 50mm/ 1.4 and have made tons of improvement since then. Great post!

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    1. Yay! Glad you can appreciate the power of a lens. It really blew my mind!

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  18. Such a great post! Just on time when I am in the look for new lens/camera. Lens really make a difference, also the lighting of course.
    http://www.weshopinheels.com

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    1. Yes, absolutely! I always have to be looking INTO the sun, which unfortunately means sunglasses are a must! :)

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  19. Your tee and leopard slip-ons are awesome and the new lens makes pictures so much better. I always love your photos. Thanks for such a thorough review on the lens. =) I need a good, professional camera or semi-pro at least. It makes such a huge difference. =)

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    1. Yes, what a difference a camera makes! It was hard to make the transition to a DSLR, but I do think in the end it was worth it!

      Delete
  20. I love my 50 mm lens! It's perfect for my blog photos. Its amazing what a blurry background will do in terms photo quality!

    Katie
    Style Diary

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    1. I know, right?! Glad you can relate. I certainly love your photos!

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