I have gotten several e-mails and Facebook messages over the last few weeks about my camera. What kind it is, what lens I use, what I do as far as editing, how I get them to look big on the blog, etc. So here's the skinny:
Sidenote: Aside from the facts (i.e. the type camera and lens I have, etc.) I know nothing about photography. I know how to work my camera and I know which buttons and settings make my camera take great pictures depending on where we are and what light we have, but other than that I will never pretend to know anything about photography. Everything that I do know, I learned by reading my camera manual and reading Pioneer Woman's photography lessons, which are not only informative but hilarious.
My Camera: Canon Rebel T1i; this is a digital SLR camera. I purchased it at Best Buy and I purchased the body only (meaning it came with no lens.) I knew the lens I wanted so I bought the lens separately. (The photo below is just my camera; I don't have that lens. Mine is different and doesn't look like that.)
My Lens: Tamron super wide angle lens. You can find it here. The official name is the Tamron Zoom Super Wide Angle SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical Autofocus Lens. And the real name might as well be in Japanese, because I have a very limited knowledge of what those numbers and abbreviations mean. I know the 17-50mm is maybe the focal length, but I don't know what focal length means. And I know that the f/2.8 has to do with aperture. So go to PW's site cause she can explain aperture better than I can.
Here is what I like about My Lens:
1. Like it's name says, it's SUPER.
2. Like its name says, it has a super WIDE angle. Meaning even if I'm up in my children's faces taking their picture, I can still get a good amount of background in. Or, say I want to take a picture of my parent's house. Rather than using my regular angle lens and backing up 10,000 bajillion feet, I only have to back up about 10 feet. Because you can see a LOT through this lens. Whereas with other lenses they have a limited view.
3. I also like it for it's use in taking pictures of rooms in my house. With this lens I can stand in the doorway of a room and capture the entire room from the doorway. Like for instance, Sam's nursery photo:
Taking Pictures: When I actually take pictures, I shoot in Av mode (which is sometimes just "A" mode on certain cameras.) I think it stands for Aperture, because when I'm in Av mode I can adjust the aperture myself (meaning I can crank that 'f' number up or down myself.) I prefer to take pictures in natural light. As in, daytime. I can get pretty decent pictures in natural light, whether sunny or cloudy or shady or whatever. If I'm inside I also prefer and need natural light (i.e. SUNLIGHT) in order to get the best pictures. At night I have to rely on my overhead lights or lamps, of course, and my pictures don't turn out so great. Sometimes I get desperate and use the flash. Ugh. I hate using the flash. But most of the time I can get by without it. But like I said, I definitely prefer the natural light.
The only thing I do as far as making adjustments on my actual camera is to adjust the white balance, depending on the kind of light I'm in; my camera has a nifty white balance button on the back, so I just hit that button and then pick from the options: Auto (meaning it'll adjust itself), Cloudy, Shade, Sunlight, Tungsten (or 'yellow' light, like from lamps or indoor lighting), or Fluorescent (meaning I'm under a fluorescent or 'white' light, maybe at the ballpark or in an auditorium or a restaurant).
Editing: I do all my editing with iPhoto, which is the program that came on my computer (Mac.) I do not know anything about photoshop; my parents got me Elements 8 for Christmas but I eventually returned it because I just didn't have time to learn anything new at that point in my life. So I'm sticking with the simple iPhoto for now. As far as which editing tools I use, I usually just play around with all the "effects" which include changing the color (black and white, sepia, antique, fade, boost, etc.) and then I also play with things like Exposure, Contrast, Saturation, Temp, etc and just toggle around with those switches until it looks the way I want it to look. My editing does not make my photos looks 'crisp' and 'clear'. (Although I wish there was a button on my camera for that!) I give the 'crisp and clear' credit to my camera and lens, which are amazing for a just-for-fun photographer like me.
Collages, Invitations, Blog Designs, Etc: I create all of my birthday invitations, collages, and pictures that contain text, as well as my blog header, my blog category titles to the right, and anything else of that sort on a free photo editing website called Picnik. It's just a fun creative outlet for me. I finished Mary Ella's party invite a couple weeks ago...
Posting Photos on the Blog: I store all of my photos on Flickr. I have a paid account and it's basically just a way to keep my photos online and secure instead of having to load them onto discs or an external hard drive every time my computer fills up. When I get ready to blog, I just find the picture I want via my Flickr page, I copy the HTML code, then I paste it into my blog post wherever I want it. I usually choose the larger MEDIUM size for my blog because that's what fits best.
I really hope that helps! Sorry I couldn't offer more info on photography itself. Like I said, I'm definitely not an expert, and it's a learn-as-you-go hobby. I'm still learning myself! Please let me know if you have any more questions though and I'll do my very bestest.