We broke out a little secret weapon for our nursery reveal yesterday, but after this post it won’t be so secret- we got a new digital camera! Here it is playing newborn…
We’ve long sworn by the (often underestimated) power of a point-and-shoot digital camera (in fact, here’s a recent post about how we get the most from ours). Just about every picture ever featured on this site was snapped by our Canon Powershot, and while we never claimed to be the Annie Leibovitz of shelter blogs, we were pretty satisfied with the flash-free, color-adjusted-in-photoshop pics we churned out each week. They seemed to do the job well enough.
But like many parents-in-waiting, we suddenly felt the urge to upgrade our photographic equipment before look-how-cute-our-baby-girl-is documentation became a top priority. Plus with the moolah that we saved from our under-budget nursery makeover, we already had enough in savings to splurge for a nicer camera (since we definitely believe in buying things after we have the money in the bank).
So after some research and a few conversations with our camera-savvy friends, we ended up snagging a Nikon D3000 DSLR off of Amazon for just about $450 beans (note: we noticed that listing prices routinely went up and down, so you might want to watch for a bit before taking the plunge to ensure the best deal). It boasts a lot more control than our current camera (and has already given me several flashbacks to high school photography class – f/ stop wha?) but there are really two main upgrades that we’re the most excited about:
- Being able to shoot in lower light (which will come in handy since a moving child + a low-lit house = blurry baby pics on our old Powershot)
- Using the slightly wider angle lens to capture more of room in each pic – a difference you can see clearly in the side-by-side comparison shots below, which were taken from the exact same spot on the exact same tripod.
Hopefully it will mean better shots for our baby book and our blog (everybody wins!). But we still have a pretty healthy learning curve ahead of us, so any and all photography tips would be welcomed with open arms. ‘Til we get more comfortable with it, we’ll probably be using our tried-and-true (not to mention purse and pocket-friendly) Powershot for the majority of our blog pics. But nevertheless, we’re excited to have finally reached the 21st century of digital photography with our new purchase and we look forward to learning how to use it a bit better so we can get ready for the bambino and upgrade the ol’ blog. Here’s hoping we don’t drop the darn thing…
Psst- Some of the links included above are Amazon Affiliate links.
Update: Over two years later we’re still loving our camera. Here’s the 50mm lens that we got for better photos of moving things in low light (aka: Clara & Burger) along with pretty detail shots, and an update post about how we’re liking our camera in general here.
[email protected] says
I somehow missed the brand of camera that you were using before. Knowing only a little about photography, I’ve always been impressed with what can be done with a point and shoot, too — which is why I’ve dragged my feet on upgrading ours (plus, they’re so easy to take everywhere).
I have to admit, though, I love the wider shots that your new Nikon is capable of. It wouldb be especially handy in smaller rooms, which our older home has a few of. Maybe it’s time for a replacement!
Oh, the burden of envy…I splurged on a point & shoot (and I do love it) when my first digital camera broke and I so wish I had saved a few more months to buy this camera. I know you’ll love it and learning to use it will be a great adventure!
Kate @ Domesticating Kate says
Congrats on your new pre-baby, “baby”! I bought my Nikon (D90) last fall and have been completely in love with it. I still haven’t completely figured out how to use it, but I’ve been pretty happy with my results thus-far (when they’re not blurry). It’s definitely time for me to invest in a tripod and a wide-angle lens.
Have fun with it! Your blog photos will look even better now!! And if you’re worried about dropping it, you might want to get yourself a clear filter to keep on the lens at all times. It makes me feel a little more secure about my lens and makes it less likely to crack if I drop it (I’d rather replace a $20 filter than a $300 lens!)
My husband bought a fancy camera like yours when I lost my trusty PowerShot, and I still don’t know how to use it. But Pioneer Woman has a photography tutorial series that I’m working on. It’s written assuming you know nothing about photography, so it’s perfect for me!
My husband and I purchased a Nikon D90 before our honeymoon last fall. It has been hands down worth every penny. You’ll find the more that you practice and experiment with the SLR the more you’ll love it. I think you guys made a great move in buying the D5000.
Photoshop will be your best friend. The main things I needed to figure out were aperture, white balance settings, and ISO speeds for shooting in different light conditions. I like Pioneer Woman’s tutorials too. Good Luck – you’ll love it!
I’m excited to see another Nikon owner! I have a D70 and LOVE it. You guys got a great deal!
Amanda Joy says
Yay for Nikon! It is the best! I also need to learn mine better. You may have used him for reviews, but Ken has really great tips on using the camera. I found it very helpful.
I recommend the book “Understanding Exposure”.. you can get on Amazon new or used for a great deal and it goes back into F/stop and all that (and gives great example pictures in the book that demostrate how changing these settings can change your photo). Also, i’m not sure what lens you have, but I LOVE my 50mm 1.8 (mine is canon) they are around $100 on Amazon and worth every penny!!! It is great for baby pics as it has a sharper focus area and will do the lovely blurred background (bokeh, sp?) in close up pretty baby shots. Good luck with your new “pre-baby” :) I am in love with mine and with a baby on the way for me too (due in Oct) I know it will get plenty of use. There are some really good photoshop actions for baby pics if you are interested. Ok, sorry I wrote a novel. I love photography!
Elle Sees says
I’m not ready for the upgrade, but I’m bookmarking this post for when I do! I’m still too trepidacious as a picture taker. I hope to see some tutorials maybe?
I just got the same camera for Christmas! As boring as it is, I would recommend reading the owner’s manual. When you spend that much money on something you should make sure you’re using it to its full potential. I’m still learning how to use mine, but one thing I recently learned about was changing the ISO setting to get rid of blurriness when shooting in dark settings. Here’s a link that helped explain it all: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2008/05/iso-setting/
Thanks so much for all the tips guys! We’re learning stuff already. Keep it coming!
Oh and a quick note: if you are on Babycenter, there is a board called “Photographing Your Family” There are a lot of pros on there and they are great with advice about cameras and editing. Since you are already familiar with photoshop the tips they give could be helpful. :) Hope this helps
Ah fun! I also have and love my Canon Powershot, but am looking forward to the day when I can buy a nicer camera (I’m also waiting until we have kids). I think the best thing would be to have both…so you can always have your Powershot with you, but then take really nice photos with your SLR when the mood strikes.
It’s funny because I noticed your nursery photos seemed sharper but I just assumed you sharpened it in photoshop. Love the nursery by the way!
Photo question, what do you do with all your photos? Do you print them out and put them in albums? Where do you store all your albums?
We actually have a post about that in the hopper, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks…
Just chiming in to say I LOVE my Nikon so much. You will too! Got an upgraded lens for Christmas and I LOVE using it — I warn you now about the number of baby pics you’ll be snapping away. ;)
Hi!! Best tips any photographer has given me (a new professional photographer) Read your manual. Shoot in Manual. Watch the white balance. Practice alot. :-) Have fun with your new purchase!!
Jessica @ How Sweet says
That is so funny you posted this because I thought those nursery reveal photos were FAB!
I also have a canon elph which I can usually shoot pretty well with but I have never done anything THAT well! I knew something was up! :o)
Congrats on the new cam! Can’t wait to see more beautiful photos!
And since photos of your home are so integral to your blog, tax write-off high five!
Congrats and welcome to the world of DSLRs :) I have a Nikon D40 and love love love it. I highly suggest checking out the following amazing websites. You’ll find a lot of tutorials there.
Pioneer Woman: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/
I Heart Faces: http://iheartfaces.blogspot.com/2007/10/i-faces-tutorials.html
MCP Actions: http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/
Digital Photography School: http://digital-photography-school.com/
Photoshop is a great post processing tool, though pricey. It’s little brother is less costly and called Photoshop Elements. I’ve been testing Adobe Lightroom 3 beta, which you can download for free right now: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/
Hope this helps!
forgot to attach this link!
has lots of info on ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and photographing children!
Leigh @ Kesler Expressler says
I’m going to second (or third or fourth) the recommendation to head over to The Pioneer Woman’s photography section. She does a really great job of explaining the core principals.
YAY! I got a D5000 for Christmas, and I’m officially in love! You guys are going to have a great time with the 3000!
As for tips – I don’t really have any – other than – I had NO idea what I was doing when I bought it, but just by playing around I think I’ve gotten a lot better! Good luck, can’t wait to see the amazing shots you take! :)
heather s. says
I was just wondering yesterday if you were going to take the plunge into getting a new camera since all of my baby-makin friends seem to do so right before the baby comes.
In the side-by-side pics above it just looks like one is slightly zoomed in. Did you really take them both with the same zoom applied (I know you were in the same spot)?
Yup, same spot and no zoom at all on either camera. It’s just a wider lens on the DSLR and our little Canon has always taken tigher and closer shots (even when zoomed all the way out).
Melissa S. says
Ooooh, a nice, shiny new Nikon. Sweet! You’ll love it. I’ve shot them for years- N80 (35mm film), D70, D300, and most recently my beloved D3.
As for advice, Pioneer Woman and Understanding Exposure have already been mentioned, and they’re what I always recommend for new SLR owners.
Also, I recommend that you just shoot it, and shoot it, and shoot it, and keep shooting it. Go outside with it to do nothing more than take photos of flowers, etc. The more you shoot, the more you’ll learn about settings and composition.
Also, Google makes great free photo editing and organization software called Picasa (picasa.google.com). There’s even a Mac version. :)
Jennifer (take the day off) says
If I have learned anything about the Petersiks, it is that this likely wasn’t an impulse purchase. I am sure you did a bunch of research before making the purchase! I really want to make the jump to the DSLR but I’m a little nervous.
My husband and I, after much consultation with our vastly more photography savvy friend, also recently purchased the D3000. We were initially looking at a more fancy pants model but were encouraged that this model would suit our needs perfectly. We still have a lot to learn, but are looking forward to capturing many a baby moment with ours as well. I have also found thepioneerwoman.com photography tutorials very helpful. Cheers and happy photographing!
Yay for Nikon! I have a Nikon D80 and I love love love it!
I will second the comment about reading your manual. I’ve also Googled around and found different articles that really helped me. The best advice I can give is practice, practice, practice. Take it everywhere and just take lots of pictures. Have fun and enjoy your new “family” member.
I thought I noticed a difference in the nursery photos! Congrats on your newest baby! I’ve been shooting a Nikon for about 3 years now and still love it. I’m sure you will, but definitely try out all of the settings and read the manual. It seems so boring, but it will help you a lot. Since you’ll have a little one soon, I bet you’ll be able to get a lot of practice and not get tired of your subject! Oh, I also keep my trusty little Canon powershot in my purse so I always have a camera with me. It’s come in handy many many times!
As a Nikon user and professional photographer, I’m going to second V’s comment and suggest a Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 (I actually use the 1.4 but for your use you won’t need it and don’t need to spend the extra money). A prime lens is going to give you the best light and the crispest (is that a word?!) pictures. It’s a cheaper lens as well! The 50mm is almost always stuck on my cameras. Good luck with your new pre-baby purchase! :)
Sally C. says
Congrats on your new purchase! We got a DSLR with our first and it was awesome just because of the lack of time between shots. You can put that thing on machine-gun speed and you won’t miss a minute! Of course, data storage is a much bigger problem in our lives now. :-)
Wanted to mention that one my favorite bloggers and pro photographer just started a series on her business blog called Mama (with a camera!) Mondays. I think you’ll love following her family and she’s awesome about sharing what she knows about photography. See the fabulous Erin Cobb here: http://erincobb.com/Blog/.
The hubs just bought me a DSLR (I chose the Pentax K-x) for finishing my MBA. I have no clue how to use it, but I’m slowly working my way through the manual. Good luck!
Wow, this could not be better timing. I have been saving for a new camera and am so torn on what to get Canon/Nikon!!! I’ve been leaning toward a Canon Rebel. How was that you decided what type of camera to get? I might just copy you two since you all seem to research so well and find the best deal for your buck.
I told my friends having a baby that one of the things you NEED (along with diapers) for a new baby is a DSLR :) We had the point and shoot until last Christmas, when I got a DSLR for my birthday/Christmas/any other holiday- present. Our new baby has much better quality pictures than my son’s baby pictures…I wish we had saved and bought one years ago since her baby book is going to be better than his! (I do it online so everyone can order a copy) Have fun!
Jacquelin Seybert says
I’ve had my Canon Powershot for years and have loved it. My husband recently purchased the Canon Rebel T1i from Amazon. We absolutely love this one too. We take pictures of our furbaby all the time :) We might take a photography class at the local community college to learn more about the features.
You MUST get the Thrifty Fifty lens. 50mm f/1.8 – runs around $100. It is by far my favorite lens. Perfect for portraits and awesome for low light.
I also love my wide angle for shooting things like interior rooms (I have the Sigma 10-20mm). It’s wide enough that I can stand in my front yard and get the entire house in a shot, facing straight on. Wide lenses tend to distort though, similar to a fisheye, so you have to be into that look. Personally, I love it.
You guys made a great choice!
I have a Nikon myself, and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.
The only thing I can say about getting the most out of your camera when photographing a child, particularly a baby, is switch things up. Try different angles and when the Beanette gets a little older and starts toddling around, try to follow her and take pictures of what she does, as opposed to waiting for her to do what you want her to.
I really recommend checking out http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/ because she’s a wonderful photographer, especially of children. She has three little boys and a lovely baby girl so I take a lot of inspiration from Ashley (:
I’ve had a Nikon DSLR for three and a half years, shot almost 40,000 pictures and it still looks and acts brand new. It’s easy to use, takes great pictures, and is super upgradeable (when the time is right!) I love the comparison shots. My mom has a Powershot and it’s a great little camera but she gets so mad when we are taking pictures side by side and she can’t get one shot off in the time I can do five! It’s not a huge deal until you’re trying to catch sneaky, fast kids (then you’ll extra appreciate the DSLR!)
I recently purchased the Nikon D5000 which is not all that different from the D3000 and I absolutely love it! Your new camera is much faster than a point and shoot at capturing the shot you want. Once your little one is active you will appreciate this feature. I was actually so impressed with the photo quality I decided to start a blog of my own to share my Charleston adventures. Congrats on the purchase! No buyer’s remorse here!:)
This is the first time I’ve commented here but I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and wanted to say I love your site!
My fiance just bought my a D3000 for my birthday and it’s amazing, you will love it – it’s a brilliant beginners’ DSLR.
He also has a photography basics guide on his blog which might give you a bit of an overview to get started – it’s at http://www.johnwaller.co.uk/blog/archives/380.
Ashley @ The Design Thief says
I am 90% happy for you and only 10% jealous of you guys! It’s amazing how different the side-by-side pictures are! Anyways, keep shootin’ awesome pictures of the house!
Congrats! I got the same camera for Christmas this year, my first SLR, and I’m LOVING it. Can’t wait to see more beautiful photos!
awesome! I’m going to second the other comments–definitely definitely invest in a 50mm. It’ll also be a huge help when you take pictures of your little one sleeping since it is good at low light.
finally! so happy you guys went with Nikon! I’ve been looking at the D5000 but can’t make the plunge until i have enough saved up :)
[email protected] says
My husband and I are photographers and we LOVE Nikon! We wouldn’t have anything else! Great choice! We use the D300 and D90. And the pics are awesome! :)
DSLRs are the BEST!!! We just got one and absolutely love it. I highly suggest going to your local bookstore or online retailer and picking up a book specifically for your model. This way you’ll learn only about your camera model and its capabilities. Books like, David Busch’s Nikon D3000 Guide to Digital SLR Photography which is $20 on Amazon can be extremely helpful when starting out.
Good luck!!!! and have fun!!!!
The Pioneer Woman blog has entire page devoted to photography with lessons on different way to do things.
Nice upgrade! And I love the room. It’s very peaceful, very sweet, very YHL. Baby P will enjoy it.
The Virginia House says
My husband bought me a DSLR (Canon) last year after I dropped my point and shoot in the ocean. (woops) I love it!! I still haven’t read my manual (woops again) but have learned so much by just playing around with it. Don’t be afraid to change up all those settings and see what happens.
I recently bought at canon rebel and I love it! I was determined to only use the manual setting, so I played around with numbers and read some online tutorials (they’re linked on Darby’s Fly through our window blog). I hope this helps! Here is the link to her tutorials…
Amanda Sevall says
I love my Nikon! I still love my point-in-shoot too. :) How exciting to have a new camera!! Make sure you go check out all the super cool straps you can get for it over on etsy!! :)