Happy Monday, friends!
I have received many questions about photography over the past few months-how I got started, where I take classes, what kind of equipment I use, etc., so I put together this post to give you the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How behind my new-found love for all things photography.
Q: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
A: I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. I inherited a tremendous sentimentality from my dad, who was the picture taker and album-keeper in my family when I was a child. I have many memories of sitting with him on the sofa as a child, wrapped in a warm afghan , looking through photo albums. Before the age of DSLRs, I happily shot with a point and shoot-little photo shoots with my nephews and macro shots of flowers, etc. (cheesey but true.)
I also have a fierce creative streak. When I started Wynnbaby, my line of vintage-inspired baby linens, I paired with my friend Amanda Reynolds to do some preliminary product shots. Those photos were beautiful but I knew that I was going to need to know how to photograph my own products and to photograph them well. So I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 20d, used from a friend. I started with a 50mm 1.8 lens (a $100 lens that I still use regularly) and enrolled in an online class that taught the BASICS of shooting a DSLR. I was clueless. The class was four weeks and it wasn’t until week 4 that we got a very brief introduction to shooting in Manual Mode (the setting on a DSLR that lets you individually select your camera’s settings for full creative control).
After that first online class, I found ClickinMoms.com, a website geared toward women who are both hobbyist and professional photographers. They offer a big selection of online courses, tutorials a forum, etc. I took a class through ClickinMoms called “The Best Darn Beginner Course Ever,” and it really was the best darn class imaginable. I followed up that class with several other more advanced courses (also online through Clickinmoms.com, what can I say, I love them). I also invested in Photoshop (CS5) classes to learn how to effectively post-process.
Q: What camera do you use?
A: I started out with a Canon 20D. It is a great camera and you can now buy one used for less than $200. Check sites like Amazon and Ebay for sellers with lots of positive feedback. After using the 20D for 2 years I upgraded to a Canon 5d. Again, I bought used from a trusted online seller.
Q: What lenses do you use?
A: I prefer prime lenses (no zoom). I shoot with a 50mm or an 85mm 99% of the time. I have used www.lensrental.com to rent lenses and have been very happy with them! It is a good way to try out cameras or lenses before committing to buy!
Q: Are you a professional photographer?
A: I started out taking my own product photos and photos of my own boys. I then started to get requests from friends to photograph their children and families and it was a great learning experience. Eventually, by word of mouth, I started to get requests from friends of friends who offered to pay me to do photography for them. A lot of these requests came from sharing my photos on Facebook. At first I had a hard time charging anyone but when I stepped back to consider the time and money and resources I have poured into learning this skill, I knew it was fair. I am 125% committed to staying at home with my kiddos so at this point, I haven’t been doing more than two or three paid shoots per month. In the future, who knows. I just love the creative art of it all and it is a great creative outlet for me at this time in my life.
I would like to do more conceptual photography focusing on young children and the magic of childhood imagination. The styling side of photography is my favorite part.
Q: What advice do you have for a mom who just wants to take better photos of her children?
A: If you are using a point and shoot camera, turn off your flash and shoot in natural light. Get out your manual and set your dial to “sports”-this means a quick shutter speed for fast-moving little ones!
If you own a DSLR and are shooting in Auto, you aren’t much or any better off than if you were shooting with a point and shoot-arguably even less so? If you aren’t up for learning to shoot in manual, turn your settings to Aperture Priority Mode. A wide aperture of say 2.8 or lower will give you the “blurry” background for pretty portraits.
If you want to learn manual (yeay!!!), take a class, you’ll never look back!! 🙂 Again, I love Clickin’Moms. I have taken online course through several sites and have found ClickinMoms to be head and shoulders above the rest.
Have any other questions? I would be happy to answer them in the comments or use them in a future post!
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Great info, Erin! I’ve so enjoyed watching you progress from the first camera you bought from Kelly to now. I had no idea you had upgraded to the 5D– GOOD FOR YOU! Your shots are amazing. You’ve got the eye, for sure.
Thanks Beth! I really needed to upgrade because the 20d did not spot meter and I am crazy for backlight!
Just wanted to leave a quick note and say that I love your blog. I’ve been a follower ever since you messaged me from etsy. Makes me smile that your cute kiddo wore one of my bunny hats!
I photograph as well and it has been fun watching your journey 🙂 I also love you spiritual journey!
Oh, thank you McKell! It’s hard to believe that Wynn ever fit into that tiny newborn bunny hat, I need to put it in a shadow box someday. Thank you for reading!
well girl, you are just awesome and a huge inspiration. Great info. 🙂
I really need to invest in a few classes.
I have a love for photography, but I have so much to learn about my Nikon.
I’ve had this camera for a few years, and I’m feeling the itch to upgrade and take classes…thanks for the links!
These are great tips! I was unaware one could rent lenses. Thank you for sharing that.
I now shoot all my photos in Manual on my Canon and I will never go back. It has taken me a lot of practice and failed shoots, but it is so worth the time and patience.
Your photos are always stunning! You capture life.
i’m in awe of your photos. you have such wonderful talent. thanks for the link to clickin moms. I do have a question about your editing. do you edit all your photos and if so, do you use photoshop? i’m still not sure how photoshop works. is it a software one installs and is it self explanatory? obviously, all this is foreign to me:) I want to make photo books for my kids and I don’t know how to edit them prior to submitting the pictures. oh and one last question. I still yet have to make photo albums for my kids first year. it’s already been several years and i’ve never got around to it but i want to now. i just don’t know if I want to go the scrapbook route or create digital photo books. thing is, I never got around to making them a baby journal either so I thought maybe I could combine both into a scrapbook but I just don’t where to begin and if there’s a better way to do what i have in mind. can you please share what you did. sorry for the lengthy comment!! thank you!!!
You are ridiculously talented!!! And KIND….to share with us all those tips! Thank you! Do you ever use a tripod? Just curious who took the pic of you in the long white dress with your baby. So stunningly beautiful! xo Amber