The photo on the left was taken with an iPhone 4s.
The photo on the right was taken with a Canon 5DII and an 85mm f1.8 lens.
There is a difference.
Sure, lots of people say that it’s not the camera that matters, but the person behind the camera. That’s true, to a point. But the same person (me) took the two photos above, in the same conditions, with the same amount of talent. The DSLR just had the sensor clarity, lens sharpness, aperture, and shutter responsiveness required to make the picture vastly better.
If you are taking all your family photos with your cell phone, please consider investing in a good camera. Current phone camera technology is way behind the rest of the camera industry. The quality is just not close to what you’d get with other cameras. Even a $100 point-and-shoot camera is a huge improvement over your $300 camera phone. The lens in a point-and-shoot is sharper and the sensor are clearer than anything you’ll find in a 2012 cell phone.
If you can afford a DSLR with a fast lens, that is even better. You can look into used cameras to save money. Look into cameras from 2009 or 2010 if you’re interested in used gear. A consumer DSLR, such as the Canon Rebel, is a great choice for amateurs. Be sure to choose quality lenses, because the quality of an image is highly dependent on the quality of the lens. For the sake of this demonstration, I used a 2009 camera body and a $350 lens. You don’t have to choose the most expensive gear on the market for great photos.
Here are a few of the reasons why this DSLR picture is better than the cell phone picture:
The phone picture is fuzzy and dull. The DSLR picture is crisp, clear, and vibrant, due to its superior sensor and lens.
2. Motion blur
The phone didn’t stop the blur of his hands. The DSLR’s high ISO and fast lens enabled me to use a fast enough shutter speed.
3. Shutter lag
The phone doesn’t respond instantly when I push the button, so I couldn’t catch his eyes open. The DSLR responds immediately.
Your kids deserve great photos of their childhoods. When they are all grown up, they’ll look back at 2012 phone camera technology and think how primitive it was. Because it is. But the rest of our digital camera technology is excellent, and I urge you to use it. Give your family photos that they will still love 50 years in the future.
Pull out your good camera for special occasions. If you can’t afford a good camera, hire a professional. Ideally, hire a professional once a year, even if you do have a nice camera. If you can’t afford to hire someone, borrow a friend’s camera once in a while. Just don’t rely entirely on your phone.
It’s important for me to mention that no matter what camera you buy, the quality of your photos will depend on your understanding of the equipment. Read the manual, take classes, learn what you’re doing. Or hire a professional. Because your kids are worth it.
Mike and I spent the day with my parents and our niece and nephews. A summer day doesn’t get any better than a water park, a pizza picnic, banana splits, dining al fresco by a lake, an outdoor concert, and lots of time with family.
This is a great shot that my Dad took of me with my two nephews at the Water Mine here in Reston. This park is so much fun for the kids that we’ve taken them there twice this week. And as you can see, it’s also fun for at least one grown-up I know.
A massive wildfire has destroyed miles of Colorado’s beautiful Front Range, including hundreds of homes in northwest Colorado Springs. The fire is spreading, and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes all over the region. You can see horrifying photos of the fire at the Denver Post.
I lived in Colorado Springs for six years. My heart is breaking as I watch the news and see the destruction of so many places that I know. I’m thinking of you, my Colorado Springs friends, and the city that we love. I hope you and your houses are safe.
As countless people lose their homes this week, I’m reminded to take a moment to appreciate the roof over my head and the special belongings around me. I encourage you to do the same.
Today I read an interview with an evacuee who grabbed his wedding photos before fleeing his house. It gave me chills to think that perhaps some of the 18,000 evacuees chose to save the photos that I or my friends took for them.
If any of my Colorado Springs clients have lost their photos in this fire, please contact me at [email protected] I have all my images archived, and I will send you anything you need. I really hope none of you are in that situation. My thoughts are with you tonight.
My alarm chirped at 5am this morning, and I was out the door before sunrise. I decided that I was going to treat myself to a Saturday morning of tourist jogging. I spent two and a half hours running around DC, taking pictures of all the cool stuff that I encountered. 10 miles and 177 photos later, I came home to my boys with lots of stories to tell.
Today was my first double-digit running day! I stopped to take so many pictures that my pace was a comical 16 min per mile, but who cares. I did in fact run the whole distance; I just stopped a lot to enjoy all the interesting things along the way. I loved every minute. I think my running style is more like moving quickly between photo opps than actual running. I only wish I could run with my real camera instead of my iPhone. But even a camera phone can make me a happy photo runner.
This picture from the White House is my favorite of the day, but I saw lots of things that made me smile today. How did it take me 37 years to figure out that getting up early and doing cool stuff is more fun than sleeping in?
My good friend Christy is attending the wedding of a family member next weekend. The bride and groom couldn’t afford to hire a professional wedding photographer, so they hired an inexperienced new photographer. Then a few days ago, that photographer got nervous, and canceled on her clients just two weeks before the wedding. That’s just horrible.
Apparently the bride and groom are unable to pay for anyone else. They asked Christy to help. Christy is an incredibly kind person who agreed to shoot the wedding, even though she is not a photographer and has never done anything like this.
Ordinarily, when someone contacts me and says, “My friend can’t afford a photographer, so I’m thinking of shooting her wedding. Do you have any advice for me?” I reply, “My advice is to say no.” I mean it. Shooting a wedding is a difficult and stressful responsibility, and you risk lifelong disappointment for the couple if the photos do not turn out.
But when Christy found herself in this situation, with a family member needing help at the last minute, I could empathize with her decision. Before I was a professional photographer, I found myself helping friends and family in need, too. I’m sure lots of other amateurs have been in this situation. After all, I understand that not everyone can afford to hire a photographer. After today’s conversation, I’ve decided to write a list of tips that could help people like Christy.
These are NOT my tips for professional photographers or new photographers who are starting a business. You can see my advice for new photographers here: How to Get Started in Wedding Photography.
These are my tips for amateurs who have no intention of becoming professional photographers, and are just trying to help desperate friends. Disclaimer: This information will not prepare you to become a professional, and it won’t guarantee that you’ll do a good job of shooting a wedding. But it could help you get through the experience.
Our gorgeous Saturday continued with lake time with my family. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephews came over for a dinner and games on the boat. As we drifted along the lake, I looked around at my family and wished I could bottle that day and keep it forever.
We had the most perfect weather all weekend, with temperatures hovering around 75 and low humidity. On Saturday I spent almost the entire day outdoors, which is how it should be on a day like that. I woke up early and began my perfect day with my longest run of all time. I did nine miles along beautiful trails, and had so much fun that I just didn’t want to stop.
I took this photo early in the morning here at Lake Anne. It’s a family of geese swimming through the mist rising off the lake. The babies were just tiny newborns.
The sun was coming in low from the right, and the geese were swimming toward an area shaded by trees. I placed myself at at angle where the geese were in the transition between light and shade. I chose a large aperture to create very little depth of field, to keep the fog soft. I wanted only the geese and their trail to be in focus. I could have zoomed in closer, but I chose this wide angle to give the sense that this family had the lake all to themselves.
This was my view at the end of a yoga class, when I was supposed to have my eyes closed in corpse pose. The reflection of all the corpses overhead was too cool for me not keep my eyes open and enjoy it. What can I say, I’m more visual than spiritual, I guess.
I got up early Sunday morning to check out the Love Your Body yoga festival at Reston Town Center. Then I spent the afternoon with my family on the lake. Yet another great day.
I love this picture! Not only is it a great moment – the three of us at the finish line of our first race as a family – it is also hilarious, thanks to Danny.
Last week I mentioned to Mike that I was considering running the Twilight Festival four-mile race in Ashburn on Saturday night. I asked if he’d be willing to come along and bring Danny to cheer for me. I was shocked when he suggested that he run it, too! Mike isn’t a runner, and has never done a race before. He just thought it might be fun. (It is!) He plays soccer regularly, so he’s in good shape, but he had no idea whether he could run four miles.
We decided to go for it. On Saturday night, we packed the Bob running stroller into the car and headed to Ashburn. Then the three of us ran the race as a family. I was so excited that we would all do it together.
Hi, I’m Charlotte! I’m a photographer in Reston, Virginia. I love hiking, running, and exploring the world with my husband and young son.