I remember when I got my first “real camera” in the 5th grade .I thought I was soo cool. I snapped pictures of everything- from blurry shots of my converse to pictures of random rocks on the ground. I wish I was kidding you. Then I joined yearbook. Documenting candid moments around the middle school and spending afternoons in the darkroom made me fall in love with photography even more.
Over my college years, I kind of strayed away from photography; borrowing my mom’s Canon Rebel on occasion for travel and dabbling with her ten-year-old hand me down Rebel in my free time . For months upon months, I debated back and forth about investing in a camera for myself so I could get back into the thing I had always loved. In April, I finally got the Canon 6D. It was love at first sight. With a new camera, I rediscovered my love for photography.
Taking photos is a part of my summer internship this year. That was one thing that really sparked the idea of finally investing in a good camera and lens. However, another secret reason I invested in a new camera and lens is because I am hoping to get into senior photography/portraits/blog photos this upcoming year. I think it would be something I would really, really enjoy!
Recently on Tumblr, photography-related questions have been pouring in. Questions about everything and anything photography related have flooded my inbox (in a good way!). Y’all asked about specific camera and lens and blurry backgrounds, so I wanted to do a quick summary on all those questions. I do want to disclose that I am not a photography expert by any means whatsoever. All I can do is give my experience and personal advice, but I hope you find these suggestions and tips helpful. Let’s get started, friends:
1. THE CAMERA
When I started getting back into photography, I asked several photographer-friends if I should invest in a new camera or if I should invest in a new lens. The vote was pretty split, surprisingly enough. After investing in both a new camera and a new lens over the past few months, I can definitely say that decision depends. If you don’t already have a DSLR camera already or your DSLR is ancient like mine was, opt for getting a new body. If you already have a great camera body, get a new lens. When it comes to cameras, I am a huge Canon fan. My sister and mom have the Canon Rebel, and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a first camera. It isn’t ridiculously expensive, but it’s a very solid, high quality camera. If you have a large budget, definitely, definitely get the Canon 5D Mark III. It’s a fantastic camera, and a lot of professionals use it. The 5D Mark III was out of my budget, so I opted for the next best option- the Canon 6D. I absolutely love it, and it is seriously a fantastic camera body.
2. THE LENS
When it comes to camera lens, you tend to get what you pay for. Choosing a lens totally comes down to what you like to shoot and what you are looking for. For me personally, I wanted a prime lens because I love to shoot portraits and lifestyle pictures. My very first ‘real lens’ was the Canon 50mm 1.8. The 50mm 1.8 is very affordable and is an absolutely beautiful lens. It allows you to create that beautiful blurry background (also called Bokeh). We will discuss later in the post how to create that blurry background/bokeh. I personally use the Canon 50mm 1.2. It is a very, very pricy lens, however, it was definitely worth the money. 100%. I saved up for it for a long time, and I have no buyer’s remorse whatsoever. It is such a gorgeous, gorgeous lens, and I couldn’t love it any more. I purchased my 1.2 from Best Buy, but Amazon is another great option. I definitely see a difference in the quality of photos between the 1.8 and the 1.2. However, the 1.8 is still an incredible lens, especially if you are looking for a perfect ‘first lens’. Another great prime lens for portraits is the canon 85mm. You can’t go wrong with that one either!
Here are some photos to compare the Canon 50mm 1.8 and the 1.2. The main difference I notice off the bat is the size. The 1.8 is very light and easy to tote on the go. The 1.2 on the other hand has some serious weight to it and is quite big.
[50mm 1.8 – $125]
[50mm 1.2 – $1,349]
* Okay, so now for explaining how to get the beautiful, blurry background. It’s definitely all about the F-stop. I set my camera on manual mode, and then I change the F-stop. In easy-to-understand terms, the lower the F-stop, the blurrier the background. The higher the F-stop, the less background the blurry is. For the photos on the left, I used the highest F-stop possible (F16) on both lenses. For the photos on the right, I used the lowest F-stop possible (so F1.8 on the 50mm 1.8 and F1.2 on the 50mm 1.2). So do you need a $1,000 lens to take beautiful photos? Absolutely not. As noted above, the 50mm 1.8 takes some gorgeous photos that really allow you to get that desired blurry background!
3. SETTINGS & LIGHTING
If you are an avid-selfie photographer, you understand already that lighting is everything. Lighting can make a HUGE difference. With DSLR camera, that definitely still applies. Best time to shoot? In my opinion, morning or evening (the golden hour). As for settings, I personally shoot on manual mode. Manual mode can be tricky at first, but I definitely prefer it when taking photos. If you are new to photography, definitely opt for Auto. If y’all would like to see a post on manual mode in the future, let me know & I would be happy to make one.
I hope you could find this post helpful! If you ever have any other photography-related questions that you would like me to post about, let me know. I hope you have a fabulous Friday!