Entering the world of digital photography | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Entering the world of digital photography

If you've been reading my blog for very long at all you'll know that I rather like photography. Ever since I was really young I enjoyed playing around with my parents' SLR...in fact, over Thanksgiving I was looking through some of my old albums that are at my mom's house and I found some still life photos I had taken of things like Easter eggs as a 10 year old. If I hadn't majored in music, I would probably have majored in art with a photography emphasis.

Over the years, I've learned a lot about it, but I just barely went digital in March of this year. I know, pretty unheard of. I clutched my pearls of film photography for quite a while before I finally gave in. Most of the reason was financial...I wasn't about to go buy some cheap digital point and shoot when I had been shooting with an SLR for years already. And, Joel was still working on his doctorate and it's not like we just had a thousand dollars sitting around earmarked to purchase a digital SLR. Anyway, we got a nice tax refund this year and after some discussion we decided that the camera would be a justifiable purchase. And it has been.

Why do I love digital? Let me count the ways:

1. I can take unlimited pictures and not have to worry about film costs. That was the one thing that held me back from progressing as a photographer with film. I couldn't afford to just shoot anything and everything. Which leads me to the next reason I love digital...

2. I can see immediate results of the settings I chose. I understood the exposure triangle before, but it was hard to let it really sink in when I had to write every setting down for each frame (and honestly, how often could I really do that?) and wait until I had the roll developed to understand how those settings affected the fnal result (and that's assuming I could even find my notes once I had the prints back!). Now I can experiment more freely without worrying about the waste of film, and I can see exactly what my experimentation resulted in. Because of this I have progressed as a photographer leaps and bounds in the past 8 months.

3. I can pick and choose which images I actually want to print. Before, I just had to develop the whole roll and throw out anything that didn't turn out for whatever reason. Now, I can decide at my computer which shots I want to have hard copies of and keep the rest on a disc or hard drive. Of course, I can also delete anything that didn't turn out and it doesn't have to occupy space in my life anymore.

4. It saves me money in the long run. Sure, the initial camera purchase was pretty spendy, but I did already have lenses, so I only bought the body. I used to spend at least 50 dollars a month on film and developing costs. Usually more, since I am quite an avid photographer. Now, I don't have to initially buy the film, can choose which prints to "develop" and there are so many online labs that are so cheap! I just ordered over 200 prints and it cost me 26 dollars and change, and that included shipping. To get the same amount of prints at a film lab would have been at least triple that, and more if you use 1 hour services.

5. Finally, it makes it easier to blog and share over email. And that's the most important thing in this age of technology, we all know. I realize I should be posting a picture or two with this entry, but Blogger is having issues with image posting, so I'll try to come back and edit later today.

I have a Canon digital Rebel XTi. It has been a great camera for me so far, the only complaint I have with it is that it tends to underexpose if I'm not careful. This is an across the board issue, so most people just set it to overexpose by +2/3. It's a wonderful entry level camera if you have not ventured into SLR technology. If you're a Nikon kind of person, I've heard that the Nikon D40x is a great camera to start out with. Someday I hope to graduate to a Canon 40D, but that won't be for a while.

Lastly, I thought I'd open it up to you for questions. I've gotten lots of emails recently about photography and I like to help people learn. It is a skill that brings me so much joy, who doesn't love getting a shot of their children that just captures them perfectly? So, post your photography questions here and I'll make another post in the next week or so and do my best to answer them. I am by no means the most expert of them all, and I hope that I"ll get the chance to learn a thing or two through your questions too! Feel free to ask about any of the photos I've posted on this blog if you'd like to know how I achieved a certain look.


  1. Hi Lara!

    I have a dRebel XT also, but my photographs are not nearly as good as yours. My great shots are fairly accidental. I have two questions right now: how do you take good Christmas tree shots (like the ones in your header) and where do you have your prints developed? One of the reasons I have continued to have my girls' photos taken professionally (and expensively, I might add) is because the finish on professional photos is, to me, what makes them look really professional. Does that make sense?

    Thanks, Lara, for sharing your abundant knowledge with us! : )

  2. How do you get it so your kids aren't killing each other in a photo.
    Besides Fruit Loops, I am aware that works. :)

  3. I totally agree with you on every one of those points!!!! I LOVE my digital cameras!!

  4. YEAH! I will always take advice. Let me think of some questions I have, and will comment again later!

    I plan on going Rebel first and then on to bigger and better someday. But for now just learning I am fine with what I have.

    I think my biggest thing is photoshop. We don't have it, we have a different program that isn't quite as great. . . someday right :)

  5. This is good to hear, I'm desperate to improve my photos and want to get an SLR myself. The biggest problem is the lack of light in the winter, I have to set things up so much to get the light I need.

  6. I'm so glad you've finally gone digital. I have the Nikon D70 and it's a great starter too! Love that we can instantly see what was captured! And...I love all your pics on your site! You are very talented!

  7. I love your pictures. I am not a good photographers. My subjects hardly ever cooperate.

  8. Photographers=photographer, yes I did go to school, however in my defense it has been a long time. :0)!

  9. Ok.. maybe you can help me.. I've been told I capture great pictures.. have even done a few weddings.. senior pics.. etc..

    My first digi camera was a Nikon coolpix L 3 5.1 megapixels 3xzoom and AF.. I LOVED it.. it was small.. and it took great pictures.. til my loving son dropped it and broke...

    I'm a nikon girl all way .. I have a 35 mm film camera that I adore.. but film is NOW expensive.. soooo...

    Hubby bought me Cool Pix Nikon 6.0 megapixels ISO 800
    All the functions are the same.. etc.. however the NEW one only gives me blurry pictures.. NO MATTER WHAT I do.... If I didn't get this with the old one... Why now all of a sudden with the new one.. could there be something wrong with the camera.. Memory Card???? Any advice would be great!!!

  10. I have a question: Hank told me to call you last night about a camera. (i said it would be nice if he surprised me-it's what I really want for Christmas.)

    Anyway, how much was your camera or do you know of any good deals right now?