Something Sakura: Photography 101

Hi friends!

I’m currently on my flight to DC and I finally have some time to sit down and write a blog post that I have been wanting to for quite some time now- that’s right, all about photography.  Photography has become such a big part of my life whether it’s for personal use, my blog, or Bloguettes.  My mom has always loved photography.  She had a Nikon DSLR that she would whip out all the time and would take pictures of my sister and I.  Who knew that a decade later, I’d find the same love for photography as my mom did.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a professional photographer, but I do enjoy it and not to toot my own horn, but I think I’m pretty good at it?  I love being behind & in front of the camera and I’ve learned a whole lot more about photography through these last couple of years.  I frequently get asked about my equipment I use and also a lot of other questions about my photos on my blog & Instagram, so I wanted to address them here.

I think this post is especially helpful for a lot of those that are just getting into photography or those that wants to or just bought a DSLR and has no idea what to do with it.  Our society is more visual than ever now and a whole lot more judgmental.  If you don’t have good imagery on your blog, website, or Instagram, people will immediately overlook your content- and no one wants that!  Bloguettes grew thanks to our focus on good imagery and I think a lot of business owners should really focusing on capturing good imagery to grow their business. Well, let’s get right into it!

What do you recommend as my first DSLR?

I personally love Canons because of the user experience and I would recommend the Canon Rebel T5i as a beginner camera.  I started off with the Canon Rebel T3i (not manufactured anymore) and I had it for a solid 4 years.  I learned everything about how a DSLR works with that camera and I got a lot of use out of it.  There are obviously higher quality cameras, but I truly believe that the Canon Rebels are a great beginner camera that also doesn’t break the bank.

Why do you prefer Canons over Nikons?

They both are so, so great.  It’s all just personal preference.  I personally think Canons are a little easier to use.  The biggest differentiation for me between the two is the live adjustment on your screen.  For example, let’s say you’re taking a photo and you’re looking at your screen on the back of your camera and you want to brighten what you’re about to take a photo of.  If you’re using a Canon, you can look at your screen and make the adjustment to make it brighter and you can see the changes you’re making on your screen, but if you’re using a Nikon, you have to take the photo and play the photo back in order for you to see the adjustment you just made.   I hope that makes sense… again, unless you really know your DSLR settings really well, you’re gonna have to go back & forth between taking the photo and playing it back to make minor adjustments.  Other than that, both brands provide high quality imagery!

Do you only post DSLR photos on your Instagram?

No way!  I would say it’s about 50/50.  I do have wifi on my camera, so it’s pretty easy for me to download my DSLR photos into my phone right away to Instagram, but I don’t always carry my DSLR with me.  The key is all in the editing process of your Instagram photos!

What camera do you currently have?

I recently upgraded to the Canon 6D.  The camera cost about $1,500 just for the body itself (not the lens), so it’s definitely an investment, but totallyyyyyy worth it!

So, here’s why I chose the 6D- I went to the camera store original thinking I wanted the Canon Mark III 5D, which is the king of Canon cameras.  I asked how much it was and when he told me, it was about $1,000 more than what I had saw listed on craigslist and wasn’t sure if I was that confident in my investment anymore.  I then asked the guy what the next level below of Canons were and he had recommended the 6D and told me that the only difference between the two is that the 6D has wifi (5D does not), they both provides basically the same quality of imagery, and the 5D is just better for video.  I obviously knew that I wouldn’t be using it for video and I of course would looooove the wifi, so I was sold.  I’m obsessed with the 6D and it’s a big upgrade from the Rebel T3i, but I am happy that I learned all about photography before I made an investment on a better camera.  The quality of the photo is impeccable and I feel like I hardly have to edit my photos!

Something Sakura: Photography

What do you edit your blog photos in?

I use Lightroom for all of my photo editing and I use the VSCO 02 preset.  I would like to purchase more presets soon, but I really love the 02 preset!  Lightroom allows you to organize your photos, edit your photos in batches, and change your image sizes in batches as well.  It’s really the best and I highly recommend everyone to get familiar with it.

What’s your camera setting?

I started shooting in manual from the beginning.  I know it’s a little intimidating if you’re just starting off, but I highly recommend it.  I would just play around with my camera and change all of the different adjustments to learn more and more about my camera.  I had made so many mistakes and took crappy photos, but that’s what made my really understand what each adjustments are for.   This post isn’t to teach you about photography, but I would highly recommend learning what the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture does!

What format do you shoot in?

Something I wish I would have known from the beginning is shooting in RAW format!  Again, this is not a lesson on photography, but shooting in RAW format will allow you to do so much with your pictures!  A RAW format photo is an uncompressed photo, so it allows you to edit a whole lot of your image without losing the quality of it.  For example, when you take a photo on your phone (that is a .jpg format) and you put it in your photo editing app, you can only edit so much of your photo until you start losing the quality of it- you can only brighten it so much until you start losing the color in other areas and such.  Well, if you shoot in RAW, you can edit whatever you want, wherever you want.  If you have crappy lighting in your bedroom, you can make it look like the brightest room.  Every DSLR camera has this format, you just go into your setting and under “quality” or “format” you’ll see RAW format.

What lenses would you recommend as a beginner?

First thing I would recommend, is to determine what you’re using your camera for.  Are you going to need a close up lens to photograph food or are you going to need a pretty versatile lens that’s going to capture full body shots and close ups for portraits?  I ask this because lenses can be very expensive, but they’re pretty much how you’re going to determine the quality of your images.

When I bought my first camera, it came with a kit lens (Canon 18-55mm) and that’s mistake #1.  Yes, it’s versatile and yes, it allows you to zoom so you can capture pretty much everything but the quality is not that great and you’re paying more for your camera for a lens that you probably won’t use except for the first year.  I then purchased a prime 50mm 1.8 lens because I read that a lot of bloggers used it, but it wasn’t too versatile for me and I ended up falling in love with the 35mm 2.0 lens.  We recently purchased a Sigma 24-70mm lens that I really like.  Just FYI, prime lenses are lenses that DO NOT zoom- though it’s not versatile, it provides excellent quality, so keep that in mind when purchasing a lens!


I could talk on and on about photography, but I’ll end it here for this post!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and if you have any other questions, feel free to comment below and I’d be happy to address it!  Again, everyone has their personal preference and this is just mine 🙂