January 6, 2011

On Becoming a Photographer


@AngryJulie photographs BabyGirl's ponies at BlogHer

This year I decided that I was either going to learn how to ballroom dance or become a photographer. Both have been on my Someday list for quite some time. Ballroom dancing looks so elegant and now that there are shows on TV that feature it so I’m not so strange in saying I want to learn how to ballroom dance.

But ballroom dancing will have to wait another year because this is the year I will become a photographer. With a real camera!

I was asking a few people about cameras. I have had pretty decent point and shoot digital cameras since 1997. But a real camera has always intimidated me. And by real camera I mean one of those with an actual lens that you adjust and a real flash that will light up the subject and not just blind you while creating a horrible photo.

I asked my friend Julie from Angry Julie Monday what type of camera would be a good one to start with given my limited knowledge of photography. Julie’s a photographer for her ‘in real life’ job and has had jobs as the official photographer for several blogger events. I trust her knowledge of cameras and photography and knew she wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction.

She suggested this beautiful Nikon D3100 as a good beginner dSLR camera. It was a conversation we had on Twitter. And Julie was helpful and kind and I think only laughed at me once or twice. Maybe three times if you count an LOL. Most of all, she assured me that this camera would be easy enough to start me out but also sophisticated enough to stay with me as I improved.

Guess what arrived today as my New Year gift from CycleGuy? Yes, you guessed it! My very own Nikon D3100. With a real lens that is separate from the body of the camera. (Now how do I attach it? I really need to read the manual, don’t I?)  And I’m afraid to take it out of the box! I’m so excited but at the same time I don’t want to screw it up or take ugly pictures. I know there will be a learning curve and you all get to be the guinea pigs and see my ‘not yet ready for prime time’ photos.

I’ll be linking up with various photography sites and weekly links and I look forward to sharing with you my new-found interest. I hope you’ll share your thoughts as I journey through the year in photos. If you’re a photographer your insights and professional knowledge are always welcome.

Now, I’d better go unpack my new camera because it won’t do me any good in the box! And if you see me with my new fancy camera, smile, say cheese and hold that pose while I figure out what the heck an F-stop is and if the white balance is balanced and if I’m on the correct ISO. I’m not sure what any of that means but it sounds all fancy-like camera speak doesn’t it?



Jess January 6, 2011 at 7:24 am

Oh I can’t wait to see you slay this amazing talent. I know you have a keen eye for finding the beauty in things (read: me) so this should come as no hard walk for you!

Happy Joy!

Jax@Aly&Ash January 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hey Sara, yes, read the manual! Every photographer will tell you read read read your manual and know your camera inside and out! Bring your manual with you when you go practice shooting and maybe even sleep with it! Just kidding on that last one! Have you checked out 365project.org. Its a great way to get you shooting and they automatically provide the details on each image so you can learn more as you look at other photographs. What lens was used, what F stop & shutter speed etc. I’ll be participating this year thought I started a few days late (which means you should do it too even if a few days late starting!! Good luck on your new adventures in photographer! You’ll be addicted before you know it! 🙂

Kate @ Songs Kate Sang January 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

Oh, Sara! I am so excited for you! If you haven’t started your 365 yet… let me know when you start. I didn’t start on time and now I am having a hard time talking myself into starting since I was late!

We will have to take some photography walks together!

Jessica R. January 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

A few words of advice
1) Shoot. Shoot. and just keep shooting. The more you use it the less intimidated you’ll be. This isn’t our parent’s world where you had 24 photos and you’d better not mess them up.
2) Put a bounce flash on your birthday list and in the meantime turn the flash off. Flash directed at your subject flattens the image. Instead, turn it off and play with real light.
3) I’ve written quite a few pieces on the Tiny Prints blog and site about taking good pictures – both from personal experience and from what I’ve learned from the photographers here. was the first. You can find the others by searching Photo Tips.

Now go have fun!!

Jenn (GH) January 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

That is so awesome. Both of those things are on my goals list. My hubby and I have actually done some ballroom years ago and it’s so fun! BUT this year I told myself I will improve my photography.

Becca - Our Crazy Boys January 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Congrats! You can see an amazing difference between my “before DSLR” and “after DSLR” photos!

Lolli (betterinbulk.net) has amazing and easy tutorials. As does Darcy (http://my3boybarians.com/).


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