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Easy to Use Digital Cameras for the Mom, Dad or hobbyist
What kind of Digital Camera Should I Buy?
I am a professional photographer and I've spent my share of time at weddings this year, often surrounded by people using small point and shoot cameras or their camera phone to capture images of the event. Although easy to use, a camera phone is not going to give even an amateur photographer images they will cherish.
I have used both Canon and Nikon professional grade cameras, although I have a lot more experience with the Canon line. For moms (and dads) who consider themselves "mommarazzi", A good Canon camera will help you capture high quality images of your children at a great price.
Canon makes a wide range of DSLR cameras. I'd focus on the professional line, meaning the cameras that when they were introduced by Canon were the top of the line Canon camera at the time.
Sure, a Canon t2i, t3i, or rebel are good cameras, but when a cheaper camera does too many things at once (such as take pictures and video) it can't really do one thing well. If pictures are what you want to take and you don't care about video, you are better off buying a Canon 40d (easy to find used for around $500) instead of a t2i (around $900 new) with all the features it offers.
You can find Canon 10d cameras and 20d cameras even cheaper used. Even though the megapixels are much lower than on a t2i or t3i, the overall quality of the camera is what you are looking for if you want high quality images.
As a professional that has had a Canon rebel xl, a Canon t2i, a Canon 20d, a Canon 40d and a Canon 7d, I would choose a 20d, 40d or 7d above the other two any time and I paid more for the Canon t2i than I did for the Canon 40d.
Special Effects with Lenses
Aperature Settings or F stop. What?
Are you trying to get a picture of your child with their face in focus but the background blurry? This is not a fancy photoshop trick employed by professional photographers. It is all about the f stop that you use to capture your image.
What is an F stop or Aperature Setting?
The F stop or Aperature Setting on Your Camera will dictate how wide your lens will open up when you press the shutter. The lower you set your F stop, the wider your lens will open when the shutter is pressed.
For example, this picture with a pink bleeding heart in the front and the blurry flowers in the background was shot using an aperature setting of 2.8. If I used a setting of 5, most, if not all of the hearts would have been in focus. Both would look the same to the photographer through the viewfinder, but the effects are different.
The lower the aperature setting on your lens, the more blur in the background.
The lower the aperature setting on your lens, the less light you need to correctly expose your shot.
Try it. Set your aperature to 2.8. Focus on your child's eyes. Take the picture. Get your lighting right and you will be pleased with the results.
The Rule of Thirds.
These two kids were adorable to photograph during a fundraising event held for a little girl with leukemia. Although there were three other photographers with other families and children causing chaos, the image of these siblings portrays a calmness between the two.
Taken with a Canon 60d, this image was captured by a hobbyist helping out. He learned the rule of thirds and he employed the rule here.
What is the rule of thirds?
Does your camera show a grid that creates nine equal boxes across the view finder? This is to help photographers use the rule of thirds when composing a photograph. Instead of centering your subject, at one of the points where two lines intersect, try putting your center subject there. This will be more difficult if you don't have a grid, but when composing a photograph try to envision a graph and place your main focal point in one of the cross bars.
The sister in the picture is in the top left cross bar while the brother is in the lower third of the picture. Off center, the picture of these two siblings looks more professional and less like a snapshot.
Get Close with a 50mm Lens
Up Close with a 50mm Lens
While getting up close shots is easier with a Macro Lens, you can use a simple 50mm lens and get some pretty beautiful shots of nature. Standing close to the flower and taking a deep breath before pressing the shutter button will give you a crisp close up image of a flower. Take your time, steady your hands, and don't just snap the image.
Compose the image. Don't say to yourself, "I'll fix it later". Try to get everything right in your camera the first time. The steadier your hands are, the more crisp your images will be. If you have trouble with shaking hands (many of us do), try using a tripod for that perfect image.