Photography Basics

Kev will be popping in and guest blogging about photography over the next little while. Today he starts with talking about equipment…


Photography Q&A Part 1: Intro & Equipment

Hi There! I’m Kev and I’ve been blessed with the task of taking daily photos of Jen in her outfits, the food she cooks, the crafts she makes, and anything else that she may want documented. How lucky am I? Seriously though, I really do love helping her and I hope to be able to help out a few of you while I’m at it.

When Jen originally asked me to write a guest post to field some photography related questions, I immediately started thinking about all of the different topics I would need to cover. The more I thought about it, the more complicated and in-depth these topics became. This led me to conclude that the most efficient way for me to cover everything would be to break it up into a series of articles.

As I reviewed the topics I wanted to cover with Jen, she reminded me to keep it simple and basic. So, in order to make sure I’m being as relevant as possible, I’ll start with the basics. If it’s too basic, I apologize, but I promise that I’ll cover more advanced topics as the series goes on…

Click the CONTINUE READING below to read the rest of the article!

The basics, bluntly speaking
If you want to take quality photos that will allow you to have control over every aspect of your image, you’ll need to buy some decent equipment. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to break the bank and buy every piece of photo gear under the sun, you just need to get a few quality products in order to get started.

Though there are some really good point & click digital cameras out there, it would be smart to invest in a DSLR. Despite many recent advances with point & clicks, they are still lacking one key element: a good lens. Combining even a low level DSLR with a half way decent lens will make your images way nicer.

So if you’re serious about taking your photos to the next level, buy a DSLR. It may seem complicated at first, but in time, through trial and error, you’ll get the hang of it. For the sake of time and lack of sponsorship, I’ll leave out my opinion as to what cameras are best. However, Nikon and Canon both make affordable, beginner DSLR’s that come with a multi-purpose kit lens. Before you make any purchases I encourage you to do some research and find out what camera might be best for you. One thing to keep in mind, however, is to buy within your expertise level. Don’t buy something way out of your league or you’ll end up being in way over your head, along with having a hefty debt. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that once you go down the Nikon (or Canon) path, the lenses and other accessories you buy with the camera will only work on other like products. In other words, if you buy a Nikon body, lens and flash, then decide to switch to a Canon body a few years later, you’re going to need to buy a new, Canon lens and flash. The brand’s accessories are not interchangeable, so choose wisely. Regarding this topic, I’ll leave you with one thought: When I started shooting, I bought a Nikon. Now, many years (and cameras) later, I’m considering to take the leap and make the switch to Canon…

On top of buying a camera and lens, you’re going to need a good sturdy tri-pod. I’m assuming many bloggers documenting their fashion may not always have someone readily available to take their photo for them. Therefore, you need a tri-pod. The sturdier the better. It’s also important to make sure that your tri-pod can hold a camera in both portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) format. Most of them do, but just double check before you buy anything.

If you’ve still got some cash left, you might want to consider buying an off-camera flash. The flash that comes with your camera (built in, above your view finder) pretty much sucks and doesn’t really give you much control over it. It’s either off or on (for the most part). An off-camera flash will come in most handy for indoor shots (which I’ll cover towards the end of this series). So if you’re planning on doing most of you’re shooting outdoors, you might not need to worry about this just yet. But if you’re a sucker who lives in the North East (as we do) then buying an off-camera flash will be a bit more of a necessity, as our weather is not always corporative.

So there you have it, the basics. You’re going to need a DSLR, lens and tri-pod in order to take good photos. To those of you who already own this stuff, I promise that the rest of these posts will be a bit more insightful. Here are some topics that I plan on covering in the coming weeks: focusing, exposure/lighting, shooting indoors vs. outdoors, advanced lighting… Not necessarily in that order. While I’m writing these, I’ll try to keep in mind the specific demographic of bloggers photographing their outfits. However, if you’ve got a specific question or unique circumstance, just let me know and I’ll be sure to work it into one of the articles. Lastly, I’m planning on having explanatory photos to go along with every future post. So you’ve got that to look forward to, too!

  1. Awesome guest post! The photos always look great on this blog. I am definifely going to check back to read more about how I can improve my outfit photos and make my pictures look better in general.

  2. Hi Jen&Kev! I’m so excited about this photography series! I definitely need to invest in a DSLR soonÒ€”think it’ll have to be a Nikon so I can use the lenses from my old Nikon 35mm SLR. Anyway, I can’t wait for the future topics! Your tips are really helpful!

  3. Really looking forward to these articles! I’m just starting to get interested in photography so this is perfect. Thanks!

  4. Thank you, I’m definitely enjoying these! Worked out perfectly since I had just asked for advice in a comment a few days ago :o)

    – Ana

  5. melissa •

    hubby that is a photographer only uses canon. switch to canon, kev! i recommend it as well =)

  6. Great guest post annnnnnnd I love my Canon πŸ˜‰

  7. Hey Kev! Justin and I are in the market for a SLR. We went to Costco this weekend to check out the various brands, and I sort of feel in love with the Cannon EOS Rebel T1i. I know Justin plans to contact you about specific models and such… so I thought I’d give you fair warning! It’s just too funny that I read your post this morning. Anyhow, awesome pics as always (and love the subject matter!). We miss you guys!

  8. This is great. I’m sure some people already knew all this, but I didn’t! Thank you!

  9. It’s Kev! Woot!

    I’m a total novice, so I’m glad you started at ground level. Excited to read more!

  10. Cant wait to read more. Thanks Kev.

  11. I’m so glad you guys are doing this! I can’t wait to learn more about your indoor shots, as they are always so beautiful!

  12. This is just great. Love it! Wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next installment.

  13. Yay for husbands! I am so excited Kev is doing this. I have a DSLR and a tripod but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to up the quality of my photos. I’m excited to learn more!

  14. I am so excited about this series! Boyfriend takes most of my daily photos so I’m going to try and get him to read it too. I’ve looked at Kev’s photography site and think he is an amazing photographer. Thank you Kev for doing these tutorials & thank you Jen for volunterring your husband!

    – Sarah Yvonne

  15. very excited about this series of posts! i’m currently taking my first photography class and love any extra insight i can get on this wondeful craft! thanks for taking the time to share your expertise & thanks to jen for sharing her lovely blogging space. you guys are a very inspiring couple to say the least! πŸ™‚

  16. Jen & Kev, thank you for coming up with this series! This will be VERY helpful for us bloggers out here. Can’t wait for the rest of the series πŸ™‚

  17. This was very helpful! Thanks!

  18. So helpful! I was waiting for a post like this. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to read the other parts of the series!

  19. I’m really looking forward to this series. I have been taking photos for a while, but have never really honed my skills. Thanks for taking the time, Kev!

  20. Yaaaaay! I am so excited Kev will be doing these posts for all of us out here who would love to learn to take better pictures and need some step by step basics! Hopefully he doesn’t leave out shooting interiors, oh and closeups of food too! Thanks Jen for all your blog wonderfulness!

  21. Yes! Thank you SO MUCH for posting this series. I can’t wait to read more. I’m not sure if you are taking requests, but here are some of the things I’ve struggled with as I’ve purchased my first d-slr recently:

    – Which lenses do what (and maybe examples of shots taken with different types of lenses). It’s been hard to figure out which lenses to buy.
    – White balance and light metering. I finally get aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, but white balance and light metering still confuse me.
    – Maybe a tutorial on using an external flash? Especially when it’s used but not mounted on the camera.
    – Recommendations for decent but affordable tripod(s). I have one but it doesn’t get super low to the ground like the one you posted above. It’s also awkward to adjust and tilt the camera. Are ball heads necessary? I’m so confused, lol.

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise!

  22. This was so useful. Thanks Kev!

  23. Hey Kev
    Thanks for the info! You do such a great job photographing everything on the site!
    I don’t know if you have a specific store you would suggest to buy a camera from, but when Steve bought my DSLR (beginner) last year it came with 8 weeks of free camera classes. Some were pretty basic, but at least 4 were great! Actually shows you how to work each button, how to do white balance, and get it off the Auto mode! LOL It’s a great place to start from. To see if there are any classes in your area, check out this website:

    The only question I have is does it matter the type of flash? The ones with bounce? I guess the more expensive the better, but is there anything I should stay away from? I’ve got my outdoor shots mostly figured out. I just hate the built in flash for indoor shots!

    Thanks for doing this. It is greatly appreciated!

  24. i enjoy your style file and food pics, and look forward to hearing more from a really good “blog photog”

  25. My point and click pictures always blow so this is helpful.

  26. It’s so nice that you’re taking the time to share your expertise with us. In general, I think blogging really teaches you to push yourself to create a higher quality end product for readers. For most, that means you need good photos of whatever you’re doing. I’m looking forward to your posts!

  27. I am sooooooo excited that you will be doing this series of posts! I just bought a DSLR and I am learning how to use it as a hobby, but with your tips, I may be able to get better photos sooner! and with less head ache and frustration! I always love the photos on this blog, so ii will be great to learn how to achieve likewise great photos on my own camera! Thanks Kev, and Jen! haha!

  28. This is such a fantastic idea! I’m about to invest in my first DSLR and this will be so helpful!

  29. thanks kev! i’m so excited for your series. i have a DSLR and a decent lense, and have always wanted to take a photography class, but keep putting it off. your insight is much appreciated. I would love to hear more about the off-camera flash and any tips for taking good night shots… as soon as the sun goes down i have no skills.

  30. This is very cool! I had to send this to my boyfriend!

  31. Claudia Mac •

    Love JenLovesKev Blog and am really looking forward to the photography posts! I would really love to learn how to take quality pictures of beautiful interiors. I’m a current interior design student and would really like to learn how to take photos that will show my future work at its best!

  32. kev, you are the bomb! this basic intoductory post is just on my level! i’ve been contemplating purchasing a DSLR to increase the quality of my photos, and now I’m thinking that AND an off camera flash. but first the DSLR. Can’t wait for the coming posts!

    and you take GORGEOUS photos of you beautiful wife!

  33. Thanks so much, can’t wait to see more!!! Yes, *all* of the photos are gorgeous on the site, and of course, Jen is gorgeous too, which doesn’t hurt πŸ™‚

  34. Wow! That’s a great post, I just bought a dslr for my blog purposes and am kind of regretting it but I m glad to hear that I m actually on the right path. Ha~ Thanks!

  35. awesome! Thanks Kev! Jen is so lucky to have such a knowledgeable hubby! You take amazing photos of her! (and the food!!)

  36. […] been about 2 weeks since my first post, photography basics, which reviewed the equipment you need in order to start taking better photos. So, I think enough […]

  37. […] here is the 3rd installment of Kev Photo Basics. If you want to catch up you can read the first 2 Here and […]

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev