Next week is our first Photography Basics Class and I can’t wait! The main purpose of the class is to learn how to better use the camera you already have, so I started going back through my old work from before I had a full frame camera. I mean, I can’t really teach someone what is possible with their camera if I’m using one that is totally different!
It was a really fun trip down memory lane. I realized that because of the camera and lens limitations, I had a different style than I do now. And in some ways, I think I’m going to incorporate some of that more! You know that creamy background that everyone loves so much? You don’t see much of that in my early work– because I couldn’t achieve it with the lenses I owned! But it meant that I had to work harder to get the best pictures I could by creating focus points with more intention. At the point that I upgraded to a nicer lens, and eventually to a full frame camera, I knew I was at the absolute upper limit of my equipment capabilities. I knew every last detail about my camera and got the absolute best quality images that were possible under the conditions. That’s what I still strive to do with our cameras now– learn every last detail about them so that I can use them to the extent of their abilities when needed. All of these images were taken on a Nikon D3000 with the kit lens (18-55mm) at f/4 to f/5.6. Shutter speeds were incredibly low– most slower than 1/100!
In comparison, we now shoot with Nikon D700 & D800 and a variety of lenses, but for portraits I prefer the 85mm. Depending on the image I’ll vary from f/1.8 to f/2.8 most of the time. And my shutter speed never goes slower than 1/200 unless I’m using flash. Poor Josh had to endure many photo set ups like this! When I was learning, I practiced a few hours each night taking pictures of leaves and trees outside our apartment. I know I looked like a nutcase taking hundreds of pictures of leaves each afternoon, but hey, that’s what it takes for me to learn. Once I got enough under my belt to take some pictures of a real person, Josh had to endure. I’m so thankful that he did, too!