31 Days: Day 1

Wow, does anyone else feel intimidated by "day 1"?
To recap: I've accepted the 31 days blogging challenge.  Since I would like to take better pictures of my home and DIY adventures, I'll be exploring better home photography!


I thought I would start with equipment.

When I started this blog, most of my pictures were taken with Tim's iPhone 4.  I know I know - shush, we're getting there. They were ok in natural light, but really bad in I guess you would call it "unnatural" light.

Natural                                                         Unnatural

When I wasn't feeling lazy, I would use my digital camera, but it must not have happened very often, because I can't even find an example of a picture I'm sure I took with my digital camera.

So here I was following all of these pretty blogs in my reader and slowly getting more and more certain I needed an upgrade.  This was confirmed when my friend, the amazing Kait, came to visit and took a few pictures of our apartment.

Tim's iPhone
Kait's Nikon D80(? can't remember exactly) + a little photoshop
Yeeeah. That's what I thought too.  Preety awesome...

As the need-for-a-better-camera tension mounted, so did our impending move from Boston to San Diego. Realizing we were going to see amazing landscape (Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, it felt like ALL of the US essentially), we decided to take the plunge and buy a pretty nice camera.  

So here is what we're working with these days: 

Digital Concepts .5x wide angle lens (couldn't find a link - sorry)

Tim and I found it all as a sweet package deal on craigslist for $700.  It also came with a little cleaning kit, extra batteries, and a hulking case (still on the lookout for a replacement).  Yes, still a lot of money, but we're using it almost every day, so I think it was worth it.

I don't know much about cameras, and most of the time I leave the technology decisions up to Tim. But we did both know we wanted a DSLR (Digital Single Lense Reflex) and that we didn't want a top-of-the-line huge investment.  Have you ever spent a ton of money on a hobby only to abandon it a week later?  Yep, me too.  If we ever decide to upgrade, we'll know we took the time to learn and commit to the investment.

What the heck is a DSLR? Why are they any good? Well this has been discussed in great length on the interweb.
Here's a basic answer.
In a nutshell?  More creative control. This is where I have the most to learn, but hey, that's why we're here for the next 31 days!

Anywho now I can take pictures like this...
And with the help of Picasa they can look like this...
*Soon we'll explore that "little help" from Picasa...

Now maybe I'm sharing a little too much and you wont trust that my apartment looks as pretty as my pictures.  It does!  I promise!

What kind of cameras are you using?  Why?


  1. I am saving my nickels and dimes for a DSLR, but for now I just use a 2 year old canon P&S. It does pretty ok, except in low light and I obviously can't do wide angle. I like picasa and picnic, but to get decent shots for the blog it's a total pain...dragging out my light tree, messing with settings (slow-syncro helps for my camera and upping the exposure while keeping ISO under 400). Not close to what you can get with a simple snap on a DSLR, though. I'll be following your 31 days with interest!

  2. Okay, I'm REALLY excited about this series! As a fairly new blogger who wants to take pretty pictures but pretty much has know clue...? Yeah...that's me. And I like the fact that you're learning too, so I'm hoping I won't get too muddled down in photo-speak. :) My mom is a photographer, so that helps, but mostly I don't understand a thing she says. Ha! She just handed down her Canon 30D to me, so I'm really excited about your series!

  3. i love photography but since becoming a mother i think my memory capacity for learning the terms & techniques has dwindled greatly, as has the free time to put what i learn into practice, as has the budget for non-necessities. also, being a mom of two small kids also means my stuff might get ruined by sticky little curious fingers. so we bought a little cannon powershot point & shoot, and i'm very happy with it. it has some manual features so i still get to play around and adjust the settings if i feel like getting fancy (which your breakdown of terminology is helping with!), and it's small enough to easily fit in my purse/diaper bag, no lenses to switch around and worry about, etc. the only complaint i have with it is the awkward manual focus, i wish i could just twist around the lens to focus like the fancier cameras can.

  4. @cindy the cottage chick: I hear you. Point and Shoots can totally work for nice interior pics, especially if everything's staged well. I'll be getting into my thoughts about staging over the 31 Days. That's the fun part for me :)

    @Jenna: You made my day with that comment - it's exactly what I was hoping to do!

    @katie: I'm totally with you on the ease of a P&S - especially fitting it into your puse. I lugged around my DSLR this weekend and it got heavy really fast haha!

  5. I am very excited to find this 31 Days series! I love photography, but until recently I have been rolling with full Auto and relying on Photoshop Elements to make my pictures look better. I decided I had enough of Auto and wanted to figure out what MAKES a picture good to begin with. And since I just started my blog a month ago, I could learn a lot of photography for blogs (staging and what nots) So anyway, thanks :o)

  6. Hi, I just read every single post of your 31 Days series since I'm trying to better pictures of my home for my blog. I did 31 Days of Pumpkins so I know the marathon!

    Thanks so much for the tips and the work you put into them, they are definitely useful!

  7. @ Jessica, wow you're a marathon reader too!! Your totally welcome for the tips, thank you for taking the time to read them. I hope they help!