Entering the DSLR World

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. Back in February I purchased my first DSLR camera and all I can say is LOVE IT! I love it so much I’m kicking myself in the butt for just getting one before Lennox as born instead of the powershot I had and spent $300 on.

So, what did I get? Well I started with one from my coworker but then decided to trade up and get something newer and what everyone seemed to recommend to me – the Canon Rebel T3i.

Canon Rebel T3i

I have always been a Canon girl – starting back with my film SRL camera from photography in college where I learned how to shoot manually, develop and print my own back and white photography and mount photos, to point and shoots both simple and advanced.

Although, I hadn’t done manual photography in quite a long time, once I got into the basics again, it all started coming back to me. As I have been learning my way around my camera, and trust me, I still have SO much to learn, I have found a few resources that are really great.

Manual Photography Learning Resources

My favorite site for help is Click it Up a Notch. She has a lot of great tutorials with many examples.

The Pioneer Woman also has a lot of great tips and I love her Photoshop actions for editing.

Between a pretty good picture and then some great editing actions – I was able to get to this picture, which I just LOVE.


My Favorite Lens


My favorite would probably be the one that everyone told me to get – a Canon 50mm f/1.8. It is great for beginners who don’t know all their settings yet, and still want great pictures on auto. Although I love that one and it takes great photos, I have also been using my Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 quite a bit, as the one downfall to the 50mm is the inability to do close-ups. I ALSO have a Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS zoom that came with my original camera for those times where I need to do a long zoom. I can’t wait to try this zoom out on a Whale Watch next month!

My Favorite DSLR Accessories

A camera strap cover from Etsy that my sister-in-law got me – super comfy and helpful when out and about w/ my camera! My other favorite accessory would be my Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop. Seriously, this thing is amazing. I didn’t have the money to get a speed-lite yet, so my friend Sarah over at Nurse Loves Farmer told me about the Lightscoop. I ordered one and have loved it ever since. The #1 rule I have learned, don’t use your built-in flash if you can help it. Since I don’t have an external flash, this one will have to do. What it does, is bounce your flash off a little mirror and onto your walls to light up a room. It works really great indoors. I have taken pictures in almost pitch black rooms and they have come out really light.

Here are a few examples (all pictures taken in rooms WITHOUT lights on at night!)

picture taken with lightscoop picture taken with lightscoop picture taken with lightscoop

My Camera Bag

A LowePro Passport Sling II I love this bag.

LowePro Passport Sling II - Source: Lowepro.com

LowePro Passport Sling II – Source: Lowepro.com

It is a great bag when you are going out for the day or traveling and need to bring more than just your camera. With Lennox, we are always bringing something  – whether it’s a change of clothes, wipes, snacks, etc. I also like to be able to throw my wallet, keys and phone in one bag. I don’t need to be the crazy bag lady! It has a number of dividers within it for my lens, camera and everything else we tote along with us. The fact that i can wear it as a messenger bag too is great. I have taken this bag on plane trips, road trips, concerts and days out to the Zoo. It has held up great!

What am I missing: Skill – I’m still learning! I also want a small camera only – camera bag for when I only want to bring my camera & the attached lens – for times when we go to the park or for an evening walk. Do you have one you love?

So, that is what I have so far. I have lots to learn still and I hope to start sharing some tips and tricks as I learn my way around the camera and taking manual photography. Do you have some great resources to share with me?

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3 thoughts on “Entering the DSLR World

  1. Sarah @ It's a Vol!

    I have the Nikon D5200 and I LOVE it! My favorite lens is my Nikkor AFS 18-200mm VR II (I think I got that right). It’s perfect for all the time use! I have a few other lenses but none that I love as much as this one!

    My favorite resource is my user’s manual. Sounds silly, but there is a wealth of information in there!

  2. Steph

    You take some gorgeous photos. I have a fancy pants camera that I used for Zachary’s birth and that was it. Maybe I should take it out and dust it off 🙂


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