Unless noted otherwise, I take all of the pictures on my blog. It's pretty obvious that I'm not a professional photographer, but I do the best with what I have. What do I have?
My journey into photography is a long one. I've owned cameras ever since I received my first 35mm Minolta when I was in the 6th grade. I bought my first digital camera in 2001 and I've been shooting digital ever since. Here's how I ended up where I am today... I'm always trying to learn and improve.
Point and Shoot
Prior to December 2010, most of my photos were taken with this Canon PowerShot SD790 IS Digital Elph that I purchased for under $200 at Costco in 2008:
The PowerShot is considered a "point and shoot" camera, meaning that it's compact, affordable, and has reliable auto settings that are great for taking photos on the fly. The best feature of this tiny camera is that it's about the size of my mobile phone and it can fit into any pocket.
Although this is no longer my primary camera, I still use it occasionally. It's great for situations when you need to take a quick snapshot (meetings with friends, sporting events, etc.) and you don't want to carry a huge camera around your neck. I also prefer to have people take snapshots of me on vacation with this camera because it's simpler to use (and less expensive) than the camera I use for my other shots.
When I use this camera I almost always shoot using the "manual" mode and I learned to use things like the macro setting and white balance to get the best pictures possible. I also try not to use the flash. I relied on point and shoot cameras for nearly a decade before I broke down and invested in a DSLR. I still own this camera, although I haven't used it much since I upgraded to a DSLR (more on that later).
Mobile Phone Camera
In addition to using my Canon, I also take pictures with my mobile phone when I'm out and I either want to be more discrete or I forgot my "real" camera. The photo above was taken with my BlackBerry Tour.
I caved in and purchased a "crackberry" in January 2010 because my husband needed one for work and they were buy one get one free at Verizon. Of course, our Verizon bill now looks like a small car payment, but that's another story. This mobile phone can take photo (at 3.1 megapixels) and video, so I don't miss an opportunity to catch a memory. I also can surf the web (although I prefer to use a "real" computer), keep up with my friends on Facebook, and check my email. I like using my BlackBerry camera without a flash to capture pictures of food and food-related items when I'm out shopping. It's silent and very discrete, so it doesn't alarm people in mall stores, ice cream parlors, and quiet restaurants.
In June 2011 I purchased an iPhone 4, so now it serves as my mobile phone camera option. I love the iPhone 4 and I highly recommend it. I especially enjoy the Instagram application.
In November 2010 (after much consideration) my husband and I decided to invest in a "real" camera. Actually, I really wanted it, he agreed that it was worth it, so he bought it for me as an early Christmas present. Did I mention how much I love this man?
I opted for a DSLR camera which allows me to have much more control over my photography. I am nowhere near the professional level and I don't intend to make a career out of taking pictures, but I do appreciate having more control over how I document everything in my life from food to family to vacation. I now have the ability to take clear shots indoors without a flash, use different (though expensive) lenses to achieve special effects, take photos without down time between shots, shoot high-definition video with my camera and a bunch of other things that I haven't even realized I need to do.
I now own the following Canon lenses:
18-55 (This lens came with my camera)
55-250 (This lens also came with my camera)
50mm (My favorite lens for food photography... and a lot of other things!)
Stay tuned for more updates as I actually learn how to use this new camera.
Photojojo has a great online store with unique photography items. My favorite recent purchase is this seatbelt camera strap. I used to attend events and get my camera mixed up with all of the others with CANON stitched on the neck strap. Not anymore!
Now that you know I'm blogger on a budget, I'd also like to point out that I don't use Photoshop. Yes, I know it's the editing tool of choice for "real" photographers, but again, my funds and my time are already allocated to other uses, so I use PicMonkey to edit all of my photos. Picnik has a free version, or you can pay $25 a year to upgrade to the Premium (which I do). It's web-based, so you can access it from almost anywhere and it's super simple to use. I had Photoshop Elements years ago and I will admit that I wasn't dedicated enough to master it. When I found Picnik, I was in heaven. Not only is it a fraction of the price, but it's user friendly!
My photography philosophy is to use what you have until you outgrow it. At this point in my life I'm spending a lot of time pursuing other goals, so I'm not ready to invest the time into learning Photoshop.
Photography Tips From People Who Know More Than I Do
I've improved my skills by reading digital photgraphy tutorials and checking out the work of other bloggers. Here are some of my favorites:
The Pioneer Woman has fantastic tutorials for food photography and general photography.
Vegan Yum Yum has great tips on food photography.
Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker has food pics that make my mouth water.
Sarah at Short Stop has amazing photos, both food and non-food related.
Monica at Lick The Bowl Good she used an old point and shot for her amazing food photos until Nov. 2010!
Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles has great tips and fantastic food photos
Ellie Won at The Kitchen Wench has a tips for beginners and ponit-and-shoot photographers