Digital creativity: I eat, sleep and breathe it.
Photography, graphic design, you name it. It’s my biggest passion in life and there is truly nothing much more that can fulfil my creative needs like an afternoon shooting something exciting, beautiful and of course, create AF.
For as long as I can remember I have aaaalways been a creative, as a little girl I was obsessed with painting and drawing and even won awards at primary school (cute right!). I took every creative subject my school had to offer from fashion tech, to drama, to design and took them all the way through NCEA where I excelled and loved every second of it!
A lot of you may know this story, but after I started my degree in events, marketing and PR, I completely lost myself in essays, research papers and exams. For a creative like myself, my degree honestly BORED ME TO DEATH so I needed something where I could express my creativity and use the skills that I had learned throughout my school life! Photography was a big one, and when starting my blog it was definitely one of the biggest elements, aside from creative writing, that I was most excited about pursuing in a brand new way.
So here we are! I’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of years so I thought it was time to share what I know, even though I am still a total amateur and will forever feel like I’m still learning the ropes when it comes to cameras, lenses and editing! I still have those moments where I literally feel like I have “all the gear and no idea”, but I think learning about cameras and photography as a hobby is brilliant because you can quite literally never, ever stop learning.
DSLR Body: Canon 70D
Fun fact: Before I wanted to start my blog, I actually wanted to start YouTube! I bought the Canon 70D because it’s great for filming and that was pretty much my number one intention for getting it. It’s still absolutely perfect for taking photos, the only downside is how heavy and bulky the body is! It’s definitely not ideal for travelling and has given me the sorest neck and shoulders, so if you’re wanting an amazing camera body for epic blog photography, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.
I can’t seem to find it online anywhere so I’m starting to think that Canon has discontinued it, but my best advice would be to go into a camera store (I reccomend Progear in Newmarket) and ask them what a good DSLR is for a beginner that will still allow you to advance with.
I decided I wanted to ease into the content creator world by starting a blog instead, so I definitely wish I had saved a little bit more and bought the Canon 5D Mark 3 at the time, but I am now currently saving up for the new Canon 5D Mark 4 which is painfully pricey (literally causes me physical pain when I see the price tag) BUT it’s the ultimate body for fashion, product and landscape photography. I neeeeeed it, but realistically, it’s probably a 3 year away purchase goal.. lol.
For quick pics and Vlogging: Olympus Pen EPL8
My beautiful little baby!!! (shown in the header image). I bought this gorgeous camera in London in 2016 for my travels because I just couldn’t deal with the weight of my Canon 70D. It takes gorgeous pictures, is super light and of course is the most aesthetically pleasing camera I have everrrrrr seen. Unfortunately I don’t think the brown colour way is available in NZ, but I’ve linked the black one that is currently available.
The reason why this camera is probably a great starting point if you’re new to blogging and photography is due to its interchangeable lens. You can purchase different lenses that are compatible to the size of the camera such as this Olympus 45 mm lens which means you have the luxury of being able to play with razor sharp depth of field but don’t have to lug around a huge camera while you’re travelling! I think I’m going to make that lens purchase super soon for travels!
The size also makes it great for vlogging, all though I do have my eye on the Canon G7X just because I know it’s super light and my arm often gets sore holding up my little Olympus (I realise I now have a rather large camera/lens Wishlist.. RIP my bank account).
Sigma 18-35 mm. Again, I bought this for shooting YouTube videos and it does an AMAZING job! You want an incredibly quick Auto Focus for shooting YouTube videos so this lens is absolutely perfect for that. It also gives an insane depth of field so you can get that beautiful, blurry background that is so aesthetically pleasing!
I’m also using it to shoot all of my blog & Instagram photos at the moment and again, it does an absolutely insane job, BUT it is an incredibly bulky, long and heavy lens. For my fashion photos, I’m looking into a fixed 24 mm lens such as this Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 which is much more compact, lighter and wide enough for awesome fashion and landscape photos.
HOW I EDIT MY PHOTOS
Just like everyone else, I’ve come a loooooong way from using fugly Instagram filters and attempting to edit my photos by upping the brightness to the point of overexposure no return. All though I often just quickly play with the in-app Instagram photo edit setting, I’ve grown to absolutely love a couple of different editing apps and recently bought Adobe Lightroom which has been two words: GAME. CHANGING.
This one is for those who are pretty serious about their photography. You have to pay a monthly fee (I think it’s like 12 NZD) but if you really want to up your photo editing game, you need to jump onto the Lightroom bandwagon. After watching a whole load of YouTube tutorials and even purchasing some presets, I have re-fallen in love with photo editing purely because this program offers you so much room for creativity – plus once you get your head around it, it’s super easy to use! If you’re a blogger or Instagrammer, I highly recommend you explore all that Lightroom has to offer.
I feel like eeeevvvveyrrrryoooone uses VSCO, but for good reason. For those who are wanting something a little bit more complex than Instagram in-app editing, this is the one for you! They have a million and one amazing filters for easy editing, and you can even add grain effects, sharpen the picture up (better than the IG sharpen) and play with the high/low lights properly.
Ya know those people who always use those cool scratchy effects and pretty light leaks on their Instagram pictures? IT’S THIS APP! I finally found it at the end of last year and love using it to make my pics look a bit more interesting.
HOW I EDIT MY VIDEOS
If you’re starting out with YouTube, my biggest advice would be to start with iMovie which already comes with your Mac Computer, otherwise you can download it here. It’s super easy and has the basics, otherwise if you’ve got the funds/ready to upgrade so that you can create higher quality video content, you need Final Cut Pro. It’s what everyone uses, and what everyone needs if they want to push their creative boundaries in terms of video!
LIGHTING IS KEY. This is even relevant when you’re just using an iPhone camera. You’re photos are never going to come out nicely if you haven’t got access to natural lighting (unless you’re using artificial lights). The best time to shoot outside is during the four hours after sunrise, and two hours before sunset, that is when I try to shoot all of my portrait/outfit shots just because the lighting is less harsh! With product photography, I will shoot at any time of the day but I always need to be near a ginormous window. The morning hours are ideal for even-lit pictures, but I’ll shoot in the afternoon if I want to play with shadows!
Your first couple of photos will never be the best. This is relevant with fashion and product photography! Like most things in life, the first one that comes along is usually always never ‘the one’. I like to take time with my shoots to make sure I’ve definitely gotten ‘the one’ and if it means forcing Liam to spend 20 mins taking the same pic of me in the same position, or two hours rearranging product set ups until it looks exactly how I want it to look, THEN SO BE IT! It always pays off because there’s nothing worse than taking three pics and hating all of them cause your arm could have been pushed back slightly more.
Start shooting on Auto when you’re learning how to use a DSLR camera. It pretty much does everything for you! The pics may not come out quite as good as they could if you were playing around with settings on manual, but at least you know they’re going to come up looking balanced.
Once you’re ready, move into the Manual setting. It’s all about having the right balance of ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture – I can do another blog post about this if you guys are interested! Basically, ISO is the setting where the camera decides how much light it wants to let in, the shutter speed is how quickly the camera will click to get a sharp or blurry image (great for shooting star photog) and aperture is your depth of field (pretty blurry background).
Manual focus gives you so much more room for creativity so that you can get your pictures looking EXACTLY how you want them! I find shooting on Auto Focus doesn’t quite capture the subject as sharp as manual focus can. Plus you have way way wayyyyy more control.
I hope you guys found this super helpful and as always, please don’t ever hesitate to ask me more about anything tech related, I’m always happy to help! If you’d like me to go more in depth on a particular topic then also please let me know so that I can go a little bit ore in depth for you guys 🙂