Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 1, 2015

Better Blog Photos, Coming Soon!

I finally did it: I splurged on a new camera - my first DSLR!  I actually purchased it way back in May but, as you know, a family emergency took precedence and learning to use my new camera definitely slid down my list of priorities.


Canon Rebel T5i
Canon Rebel T5i

On the advice of a photographer friend, Melissa Oivanki, I bought a modest Canon Rebel T5i and a Canon wide angle lens.  I also purchased a simple light kit (something like this).  Melissa gave me excellent advice, explaining that it's the lenses that really make the difference.  I'm already saving up for better lenses!

Because I often talk about money, I decided to be honest about this purchase and admit that I really struggled with spending the money!  It took me a year to finally go for it.  I questioned whether it was worth it to make this investment, but I really enjoy taking photos.  With my new camera, I'm thinking that I might even take some photography courses.  My old Panasonic Lumix  DMC-FZ28 (discontinued, but this is similar) was a wedding present Hubs and I bought ourselves in 2008 and it served us well, documenting international adventures in Greece, France, Portugal, and Hungary - plus many trips to the States - and all of our memories at home.  Ultimately I decided that it's worth it to not only support a creative endeavor (it's good for the brain!), but also capture fun memories.     

Unfortunately, my old Lumix was slowly failing. The biggest issue was the colour sensor - it stopped reading aqua properly!  Aquas came out looking like a flat blue and pictures started turning out grainy and dull.  It's been difficult to set my old Lumix aside and reach for my new Canon, but already I can see a major difference in photos - look at the velvet chair below! 

Teal velvet MCM chair
New Camera
Aqua velvet mid-century modern chair
New Camera
New Camera
I've never been able to show you how vivid it is, and how much green is in the hue - it always photographed like a flat blue microsuede, not the luscious velvet it is:

Old Camera
I'm so excited to be able to photograph the lakehouse more accurately, without everything looking yellower, bluer, paler, brighter, darker, grainier, or more washed out in photos.  Hopefully I can depict things more true to life, like our DIY solid maple counters, which are quite pale in real life but always photographed with a yellowy tinge.  With my new Canon, I'm capturing them a bit better already:

New Camera
My old camera still photographed close up details fairly well...

Old Camera
But I love how crisp close up photos are with my new camera, even with my having no clue what I'm doing:

Purple and pink orchid
New Camera
New Camera
Some days, though, I feel a little overwhelmed and frustrated.  Although I've always enjoyed taking photos, the technical side has never thrilled me as much as compositions.  Frankly, some of my photos are ending up worse than with my old camera, but I'm trying not to get discouraged and just focus on the joy of learning something new.

I'm especially having trouble focusing when I take photos of rooms and I have to be careful with the wide angle lens that I don't end up with weirdly stretched out real estate listing-style photos!

New Camera
I'm slowly phasing out my Lumix, so you'll see a mix of photos for the next few months.  Once I get the hang of it, I'll be taking new photos of the lakehouse so you can finally get a better feel for the space (and maybe even a video tour...).

While I try to figure this out, if you've come across a great tutorial - especially for shooting interiors - I'd love to know about it!  Also, if you happen to stumble across an aqua camera case, I'd love to know about that too ;)
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14 comments

  1. I have an older version of your camera, and I've enjoyed it, but it may be time to replace it soon. When I do, I'll probably buy one like yours.

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    1. The Lumix is so good, isn't it? I love that it introduced me gently to some creative control. I'll miss it! I'll let you know my thoughts on the Canon once I've used it a bit. Is your Lumix failing too?

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  2. I bought the online Shoot Fly Shoot course (through The Lettered Cottage blog- her husband does the class) and it is SUPER helpful. I only shoot in manual now because of it, and I feel pretty confident doing so. You get several hours of video instruction broken down into type of photography and you can log in at any time and re-watch the videos.

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    1. I've seen the ads and wondered about the course!! Thanks so much for telling me your experience with it. I will definitely look into it. It helps to hear positive feedback.

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  3. Congrats on the new gear! It really makes a big difference. I've always loved Canon cameras and lens as they make everything look more vibrant.

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    1. It seems a lot of folks are brand loyal so I feel guilty jumping ship, haha. I've already noticed the colours are vibrant, like you say. With some fiddling, I should be able to accurately capture colours around here. I'm excited!!

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  4. I have the same camera. I hesitated to spend the money too, worried that it would become a big expensive paperweight if I never followed through on learning how to use it. I ended up using rewards points I earned through my work to buy it, because I couldn't bring myself to spend my own cash. I remember that I watched this video the day I got the camera and found it very helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzn6yKTVcfs

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    1. That's so smart that you used reward points! I'm glad someone else hesitated with the purchase. Everyone seems to drop big bucks on camera equipment without the hand wringing I do! I will check out that video right now, thanks so much for the link!

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  5. Wow, that is quite a color difference between cameras. I have always wanted a big ole camera like that since I took a photography class in high school, of course cameras have changed a lot since then though. I always look at things and think "that would make an awesome photo" and wished I'd had a better camera than my old point and shoot. Enjoy!

    That little spiky plant is too cute btw.

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    1. I always think the same thing when all I have is my phone for pictures. I don't haul a camera around, so I always find neat photo opportunities when it's at home. Sigh...

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  6. Count me in with the angst over spending for a good camera. I bought a Rebel several years ago and am happy with it.

    This site has good info about lenses - http://photonotes.org/articles/beginner-faq/lenses.html

    (and I think that planter is worth every penny!)

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    1. Ooo, thanks for the link! Happy to hear someone else found this purchase difficult to make! I see other folks drop thousands and I feel so cheap, lol.

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  7. Just bought the exact same camera a month or so ago! My first too. I am loving how the pictures are turning out, even though I am only using the automatic settings right now. I am hoping to take a photography class some time!

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    1. Yes, the automatic setting is sooo forgiving! If you take an online class, I'd love to hear a review!

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