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3 Must Haves for Great Pictures | Photography 101

September 23, 2014

Vintage Minolta Camera |

Even as a child I loved taking pictures.  Granted, those pictures were not always good....sometimes a little blurry....sometimes a little dark.  But there has always been a part of me that enjoys holding a camera and snapping pictures from different angles.  My dad enjoyed taking pictures (this is his camera in the pictures), and I think I probably developed an interest from watching him.

As I've gotten older, my cameras have gotten to be of a better quality (and of course, more expensive).  About a month after starting my blog last year, I purchased my first DSLR and love working with it.  It is a Nikon D5100.  I'm dreaming of this camera, but for now with my budget the Nikon that I have is going to do.

I did, however, just purchase a couple new lenses (a Nikon 60mm and a Nikon 50mm).  I have been thinking about this purchase for months.  It is not a cheap investment as these two lenses cost more than I paid for the camera.  But they are a good upgrade and will work with my dream Nikon once I'm able to purchase it.  Your lens actually makes more of a difference to your photography than the camera itself.

I get a lot of compliments on my photography and staging here on my blog.  Hearing this means so much to me because I am the type of person who is very critical of myself and what I do.  I know that I have so much more to learn, but am grateful that at least some people see something in my skills that I don't see yet!

3 Must Haves for Taking Great Pictures |

I do have a confession to make.....

I have never shot pictures for my blog on anything but the automatic setting.  I know, I know.....I've heard it before.  Shooting on manual mode is the way to go.  But the few times that I have tried, the pictures turned out poorly.  I don't know what I'm doing.  And I've never taken the time to learn.

The best way to learn (and probably the only way that I'm going to take the time) is if I teach while I practice.  So occasionally we are going to take a break from the DIY and the baking and the painting of furniture to learn a little bit about photography.  Sound good?  Whether you are taking pictures for a blog, snapping photos of your family, or enjoying photography as a hobby it never hurts to learn a thing or two.

For today's lesson, I'd like to share my three must haves for getting good pictures....and they don't involve an expensive camera or a fancy lens.

Photography 101....3 Must Haves for Great Photography |


This is one of the first things I learned when I started blogging.  Natural light is the key to great pictures.  While you may think that turning on a light in your house may help, it actually casts a weird color to your picture.

Learning about natural light took my pictures from this.....

to this.....

Which one of those batches of cookies would you prefer to eat?

The location of your natural light creates different effects on your pictures.  And your "perfect" light will change throughout your house during the day. And there are times when too much light is a bad thing.  But all that is another lesson for another day.

A tripod is a must for getting clear pictures.  It is almost impossible to not move when you are snapping a picture and even the slightest little movement can cause your picture to turn out unclear, especially if the lighting in your space is not great.  Tripods range in price as well as style.  My tripod is a very basic model, but I'm hoping to upgrade to this one soon.

As nice as it is to have your camera mounted to a tripod, it is possible to have a little movement when you push the button.  So that leads me to my next must have....

When I purchased my camera last year, I added this little remote to my order.  It is a generic brand but works perfectly.  And it cost a mere $5.  Having a remote allows you to move from behind your camera to rearrange what is being photographed or to be in the photo yourself.   And best of all, it is the only way to completely eliminate the possibility of movement with your camera.

Using these three things will put you on the road to getting great pictures, even if you are lacking in skills.  And all three are either free or can be purchased at a very reasonable price.  And who doesn't like that?

So what do you think?  Are you interested in learning ways to improve your picture taking skills?


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