When I first started this blog, I liked food. I did not like photography. I was the least knowledgeable about cameras. It was a miracle that I knew MP meant megapixel. I had owned two or three point-and-shoot digital cameras in my life and all of them had stopped working after a good two or three year stint of working really well. In December of 2014, 5 months after I started this blog, I took the leap and bought my first DSLR camera.
My baby was a Nikon D3200. It’s nowhere near “professional” grade as some cameras whose starting prices are in the $1,000 range. I couldn’t bring myself to spend that kind of money (yet). I likened it to giving a kid with their learner’s permit a Porsche. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but definitely not recommended.
In the summer of 2019, I upgraded my camera to a full frame Nikon D750. Check out posts like my Best Simple Guacamole and Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts to see how it compares to photos with my old D3200.
While I was researching, I was up in the air between a Canon Rebel or a Nikon DSLR. Both were supposed to be great starter cameras – but I chose a Nikon because my sister had an older model of the D3200 and was pleased with it. The D3200 had a higher megapixel count and could also do video (which I LOVE, but it’s a lot of work.) See my Peanut Butter, Banana and Oatmeal Muffins recipe post for one of my favorite videos to date.
If you’re trying to improve your blog (or just any) photography in general, here are a few resource suggestions from a photography newbie turned intermediate photographer.
Blogging Photography Basics!
- Make sure you like how your camera feels in your hand. Go to the store and pick them up. Practice shooting. If it doesn’t feel right, try another one in your price point. You don’t have to buy it there, but it’s better to get a feel of something before you commit to buying it online.
- Although the “kit” lens (the lens that comes with your DSLR) is more than enough for some people, consider upgrading to a prime lens down the line to fit your photography needs. I bought a 50mm lens basically on the reviews of other food bloggers. I enjoy this lens a lot, although I have a lot to learn still.
- Invest in a good tripod. For photos of food, it’s important to have photos without blurriness. Tripods ensure your hands won’t shake the camera and produce a less than great quality picture.
- If you’re getting a tripod, also consider getting a wireless remote for your camera. My D3200 has a 2-second remote delay option, and it’s great for when I want a picture of hands holding something or pouring a liquid and nobody else is around. I get to be the photographer and the model. It’s a glamorous life. #notreally
- Learn how to actually use your camera! If you do nothing else, start by reading the camera manual. Watch YouTube videos on how to learn shooting with your DSLR. Pin to your photography Pinterest board all of the helpful pins you find and read them when you have the time. There are so many resources out there in terms of how to make your photography better.
Here you can find my current gear recommendations — Photography Gear
Helpful Books and Videos on Photography
I learned a lot by watching Jared Polin’s videos on Youtube – FroKnowsPhoto was really helpful, but he has a lot of content. For a beginner I’d say just browse to his most watched videos or videos labeled for beginner photography. He’s a funny guy and really knows his stuff. His voice also doesn’t irritate me, so that might’ve added to why I was able to watch so many hours of his videos.
I just finished reading Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography. I have the ebook version and found it really helpful because it also has some video content in the book that you can watch. This book gets a little advanced as the chapters progress, but it’s good to have around as you become a better photographer and want to learn more. Bonus: it’s 50% cheaper than the paperback version and takes up no space in your bookshelf. I used gift cards to buy this ebook. Birthday money well spent!
How Can I Get Better at Photography? Practice!!
Knock, knock…it’s common sense calling. Start shooting! Take pictures of things. See what works, what doesn’t, and try to see what you can do to make your photography more appealing to the eye. Try using different modes. Step out of your comfort zone of shooting in auto! I switched to aperture priority mode and haven’t looked back. It’s a good stepping stone between automatic and manual. There’s always room for improvement.
A few things I’ve learned along the way:
- Try shooting in the natural light.
- Choose interesting subjects/things that are beautiful to you!
- Don’t get discouraged when things aren’t going as well as planned.
- If a photo doesn’t look that great, there’s usually a way to doctor it up by doing some photo editing.
Be sure to check out my post on photo editing in this very informal series on blogging photography!