Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Photography: what I use
Ever since I got my first DSLR back in 2009, I've loved taking photos. I always did, even before that – photos of my friends on nights out, pretty bits of scenery – my computer is full of folders called 'Sunsets' and 'Nature' and 'Clouds' and other incredibly basic things. But having a DSLR made me say "Sarah, you have a GOOD camera. Do it justice." It made me more mindful of the things I photographed, it made me want to seek out interesting locations, and it made me want to get better.
I'm still pretty much self-taught, and there are still plenty of gaps in my knowledge, but it's satisfying to look at my latest posts and feel proud of the images, and think that yeah – I've got a lot better. While I think it's true that you don't need the most expensive camera or the fanciest equipment to be good at photography, I do think it makes a difference, especially when you've got to the point where you sort of know what you're doing, but want to get better. So this is what I'm using at the moment...
It feels like you can't be a blogger these days without a DSLR, which isn't true, but I got mine about the same time I started taking this blog seriously, so they are connected in my head. For me, the blog was somewhere to put those photos I was taking, and then it evolved into taking those photos to put on the blog.
I started out with a Nikon D40 and am now using a Nikon D3200, which I really love. I always, always use my Nikkor 35mm lens with it, which is great for close-ups and portraits. The super low F-stop means all my photographs have that lovely soft-focus background.
About two years ago, I got an external flash (the Nikon SB700), which has really helped me take quality photos in low-light. I love it for restaurant reviews, as the food always looks so dramatic against the dark background. I'm using this one. I use it for almost all my photographs, even the ones that aren't in a dimly lit environment. Directing the flash to shoot off the ceiling means it does a good job of recreating natural light, and I don't have to faff around with reflectors and homemade studios and all that, because if I'm shooting a recipe, I want to hurry up and eat it.
Example photography from the Nikon D3200:
The Compact (ish)
I love my DSLR. Love it. But with the addition of the flash, it's a total beast. It weighs a lot, murders my shoulders, and is no fun to take out on a day trip any more. So I've been hunting for a smaller camera that will still take great photographs, and I've found it.
The Sony A5000 isn't the smallest camera in the world, but it's small enough to fit into a shoulder bag and doesn't weigh the same as a small child, so I call that a win. I'm still getting to grips with it, but I'm really happy so far. I took it away to Spain with me recently and left the DSLR at home, and the photographs I took there are great - sharp, crisp and even with that soft focus background we all love so much. It even has a handy selfie mode, with a flipping screen. I'm already using it more and more, and I can see the DSLR spending a bit more time on the shelf than it was. My shoulders are thankful.
I got mine on John Lewis here, and I also picked up a cool vintage-style case for it on eBay.
Example photography from the Sony A5000:
(I took it to two hen dos, hence all the booze)
I mostly use my iPhone for day-to-day shots and Instagram, but I'm never overwhelmed by the shots I take. When I look at posts like this one, I'm a bit embarrassed by the quality - you just can't do much about it, especially when light is low. That's one of the reasons I bought my Sony, because I didn't feel that my iPhone was a good enough alternative for my DSLR. I tried out the Samsung Galaxy S7 a few weeks ago, and was seriously impressed. The screen is huge, the photos are sharp and it's really easy to use. For someone who takes photos a lot when they're out and about, it's a really great choice (it's also dust and waterproof, which is handy for a food blogger's sticky fingers!).
Example photography from the Samsung Galaxy S7:
Like I said above, I'm not an expert, but I'm always happy to chat photography. What are you using these days?
I was sent the Samsung S7 to try out for two weeks but was not compensated for this post or my honest thoughts.
(Dress from Sugarhill Boutique)
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