Lights, Camera, Action

This week I've been asked several questions about what camera I use, lenses, editing software, who takes my pictures, etc.  So, I've decided to dedicate this blog post to helping other bloggers in these areas!  Grab a coffee, this is a long one!

Honestly, I didn't start blogging until I had the camera.  Fashion blogging is something I've wanted to do for a while, but I didn't actually start until I could have great pictures!!  Most of you know that I own an online boutique as well, and just like with blogging, a picture on a viewer's screen is ALL. YOU. HAVE!  A picture is worth a thousand words, and that one picture is all that standing between you and the gain of a new follower or the loss of a current one.  Of course, your whit in the caption below is just as important, but first you have to impress the viewer enough with the picture to even get them to read the caption!!

This is a battle that EVERYONE deals with, so please don't think you are alone!!  But if you can start early on with a great camera that will lead effortlessly to good pictures, you will have a leg up, I promise!  Below are 4 avenues I would suggest for those who want to up their social media game.  Each will work on their own, though you can mix and match suggestions based on financial availability and what you most comfortable working with!  I will start with the most expensive option and work my way to least expensive:

1.  Buying a Camera, Lenses, and Editing Software ($800).  This is your most expensive option, and its the route my husband and I chose to take.  We didn't know enough about photography at the time to even realize there were short cuts that could be taken that would still lead to great pictures.  He got me the Canon Rebel T6.  This camera will run you somewhere around $550 depending on where you buy it from... I think Best Buy is a good option for someone who doesn't have that kind of money, because if you get their credit card, and spend over a certain amount (maybe $300), you can get 6, 12, 18, or 24 months of interest free financing depending on what you are buying!!  The rules might have changed a bit since we did that 2 years ago when purchasing our computer, but its a good option for those that want to invest in their blogging futures, but don't have that kind of cash on hand!!  This camera came with one lens: a 18-50 mm.  This is your basic lens.  Its good for "body shots" as I call them (pictures that capture head to toe).  This lens is great for a fashion blogger; to show the fine detail of an outfit while being able to stand far enough away to get the full body shot.  It is great for capturing a nice landscape in the background as will if you zoom all the way out to the 18mm.  This camera comes with auto focus, so you don't even have to be good at working a camera to take amazing quality photos!!  It will {slowly} make the adjustments for you for a good, crisp, clear photo, and tell you when to click!  I also got a 55mm lens.  I bought this lens mostly for my boutique, to take close up shots of merchandise, because this is the lens that does that awesome effect where the item in focus is crystal clear, and then everything else gets blurred.... I LOVE THAT!!!  However, for a fashion or beauty blogger, this would be your "portrait lens."  Its perfect for a glam shot, it makes any face look flawless, and your flatlays would have such vibrant detail!  If you had a trip-pod (which I don't) this lens would deliver the most perfect selfies!!!  Its a must have because it makes anyone look like a great photographer!  Lastly, I purchased Lightroom.  This is an editing software made my Photoshop, but unlike Photoshop, it can only change lighting effects.  You can make even the dreariest of days look like the sun is shining with this program.  You can clear up the picture even if you accidentally focused in on the wrong area during a shoot.  But don't be misled like I was... Your pictures still have to be pretty dang perfect...  A stray hair?  Can't fix that... Wish you held the camera straighter?  Can't fix that... Random people in the background?  Can't fix that... This program is not Photoshop.  It can only change lighting, contrast, clarity, shadows, etc.

2. Buying a Refurbished Camera, Lenses, and Editing Software ($600).  This option would be the exact same as #1, its just a little bit of a cheaper way to go... To find a good refurbished camera, go to a camera company's website and search through their refurbished options.  For example, go to shop.usa.canon.com to find a used canon camera that has been given all new parts for $100 to $400 off of the original price!!  The only catch here is that you don't have long to think on your decision - the ones you see are the only ones they have at that time, and everyone is looking at the same cameras you are!!  And once they are gone, you might have to wait a while before one of the same model you want comes back available, and even then it might not be the same price as the last time....  Finding a camera this way saves you a lot of money, but you need to do the research in advance to know exactly what you are looking for, decide what a good price would be to you, and be willing to check back for it everyday until you find "the one"!!  And once you find it, buy it!  You will still want to get the 55mm lens, because it takes such amazing pictures, and Lightroom to add the finishing touches!

3. Buying an iPhone Lens and Lightroom ($250).  I can't personally speak to how well the iPhone lens works, because I have never used one, but Blake and I just discovered this as an option last week.  You can find one at momentlens.co for $100 (though it is on sale this weekend only for $90).  It is a 60mm lens, so its going to be more for those closeup shots.  But still get Lightroom for editing!

4. But honestly, the iPhone 7 lenses are supposed to be professional quality lenses anyway!  And since most of us have gotten pretty good at mastering iPhone photography, I might would suggest just getting Lightroom for $150 and brightening/tweeking your regular-old iPhone photos (if you have already jumped on the iPhone 7 board)!!  That is easier than carrying around a bulky camera and having people stare at you while you take too long to get the right shot, especially if you aren't ready to take on the financial burden of a $600, or even a $300 camera! 

 

So, what have you learned from reading these 4 options!?  Lightroom is a must!!  I can't tell you how beneficial its been to have, even if only for the sole reason of allowing Blake and I to take pictures on a cloudy, dreary day, but still make them look sunny and happy!!  You can't tell it, but it has been absolutely gross for every photo shoot day except for 1.  Lightroom has allowed me to be able to edit the pictures to make them look bright and happy anyway!!  But again, please note that every other detail in the picture needs to be thought out, because this software can't fix, remove, or add anything.

Blake very graciously takes my pictures...  But if your man isn't willing to do the same, get a girl friend or anyone else to go out there with you!!  I do love a good mirror selfie for getting full body pictures, but it is nice to have the real deal on your Instagram feed as well!!

Here are a few examples of why you need Lightroom. Period.