I shared a couple of days ago that I finally took the plunge and bought a professional camera – a Nikon d800. I wanted to share a bit about how I made that decision. It all started with seeing spots on my pictures.
See those two black spots in the sky? Now, those are just spots on the mirror that need to be cleaned. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the camera or that I need a new one, but it got me thinking more seriously about getting a new camera and a new lens. I’ve been thinking about upgrading for a long time, but not seriously. This gave me a little nudge.
Then, my dear blog friend, Maria of Dreamy Whites, started sending me product and lifestyle shots of my Milk Paint line. I asked her if we could work together, since I felt like I needed a fresh perspective on the products and needed to stop DIYing everything, for goodness sake. I knew her brilliant photography would capture the heart behind my products and she did not disappoint.
…and looking over her gorgeous photos made me realize that it’s time for me to grow as a photographer.
About a year an a half ago when I was shooting for my book, I really worked on it. I actually read my camera manual, took more time on shoots, read up on techniques, watched tutorials and upgraded some of my equipment. Since then, I’ve just been content to hang out on a plateau. I’ve gotten a little bit lazy and I often rush through blog shoots. I even realized on my vacation that somewhere back in May, I had changed the white balance setting and picture quality and I never changed it back to my preferred settings!
Now I’m ready to hone my skills. I didn’t need a new camera to grow as a photographer, but I felt ready for an upgrade. I knew my camera, it’s capabilities and limitations pretty well. A new camera would, in a way, force me to grow.
Let me be the first to tell you that a fancy-schmancy camera does not automatically mean better pictures. I remember when I upgraded to a d7000 from a refurbished d50 and thought my pictures would instantly look more professional. I was so discouraged when I had to actually take the time to learn the camera and sharpen my skills. So, this time, I went into buying a new camera with realistic expectations. I knew there would be a learning curve.
As I started hunting for the new “bread and butter” of my business, I knew I wanted to get a full format, pro camera on the lower end of the price spectrum. I poured over reviews and agonized and talked over my husband’s head about ISO and noise and tethering and RAW format. The photography world is so overwhelming to me, because it’s so technical AND so objective at the same time. People want cameras and lenses that do different things well, so they’ll give a camera that may be great for me poor reviews, because it’s not a good camera for sports photography. Some of the technical speak flies way over my head and leaves me glassy-eyed and uninterested, but concerned that I’m missing something important. After many hours of research and waffling, I settled on the Nikon d800. Since I already have several lenses, I bought the body only.
When it arrived and I pulled it out of the box, I was so nervous.
I had just spent a lot of money and now the pressure was on. Could I handle a big-girl camera? Would the quality of the pictures justify the expense? I took some quick snaps, but didn’t really have a serious shoot until yesterday after I cleaned up and “played” with the accessories in the master bedroom a bit.
Here are some of the shots I took…
There’s my Opa’s rug! I loved the “marshmallow” rug from HomeGoods, but it felt too big for the space and was honestly hard to vacuum and made massive hairballs. I think I might turn Opa’s rug the other way, but I’m living with it for a few days as is.
I also added the striped pillow behind the bolster…
…and an antique quilt at the foot of the bed.
I love how the colors in the rug work with the blue and white in a very classic way.
(Yep, there’s the leg of my tripod! Ha, clearly I didn’t take too much time on this shoot.) Anyway…the needlepoint chair against it? Yes, it may be a little old fashioned, but I love it.
I shot with the d800 on a tripod (as you could see), using a remote shutter release and a 35mm f/2 lens. I only used the natural light in the room. I bumped up the brightness, fill light, contrast and clarity on the pictures in Lightroom, but not dramatically.
So, what are my thoughts on the camera? I love it. I still have a lot to learn about it, but after the first shoot, I think the colors are move vivid and the d800 handles the light better than the d7000, specifically when shooting towards the window. I’ll share more when I’ve had the chance to take some more pictures. I just took it for a little spin around the block, but I need to take it out on a road trip, so to speak to really get to know it. I will definitely do some comparison shots with the same lens/same positioning, same subject, etc. I am also looking forward to shooting tethered to my computer when my computer is back from HP with it’s new drive.
More on the camera, my agenda and all of the goings-on in the MMS household soon…