Would love your advice for upgrading my camera skills!

My birthday gift to myself consisted of a Kelly Moore camera bag (which arrived in three days!) and a DSLR workshop in Richmond to help me upgrade my camera skills.  Living small by choice is wonderful, but not being able to convey that living small can be comfortable via the pictures on my blog frustrates me.  I need to upgrade my skills.

So, off I went to Richmond this weekend with my D5000 and it's stock lens in this snazzy bag.

Taken before I went to photography class...and it shows

The workshop was very basic, which was a good thing.  I've read about aperture and ISO, but can't say I was an expert at picking the right settings for every situation.  When I get a good shot, it's because I've tried almost everything.  It's often a happy accident.  For every photo I post on this blog, there are probably a dozen or two that I've deleted after looking at them.

There were a few things that still trouble me, which means I need to do some more reading.  The instructor also recommended a few investments that I was eager to make immediately after leaving (they should hold these things next to a camera store or Best Buy...they'd make a mint).  Apparently, my 15-55 mm lens is junk.  I need a 50 mm lens.  I need Adobe Lightroom 3 (no mention of Photoshop really).  I need some filter things.  I need an external flash and a diffuser.

Another thing that surprised me: the instructor said he always uses the "auto" mode for white balance, then fixes color in editing.  When I tagged along with Chris Scott when he photographed the images I used in my profile of Ami Smith, he used a gray card to adjust his white balance frequently.  The results were beautiful.

To be fair, the instructor let me put his 50 mm/1.8g lens on my camera and it look some really cool, close up pictures.  Food bloggers and crafts people on Etsy must love that lens.  But, I found myself wondering what lens is best for design bloggers (maybe something wider?).

I'm babbling right now because I'm a bit overwhelmed!  Design bloggers, I'd love to know what lens (or lenses) are you favorites and whether you use Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, or Photoshop to edit you images.  I'm confused!


  1. I also need a good wide angle lens - I hardly ever use my 50mm!

  2. Wide is better, the other suggestions of the 35 or 24 prime are the way to go. Primes will be cheaper and get you more f-stop options. I have a 35 prime (Nikon) that I love and got fairly cheap.

    Lighting is always good to learn, but master what you have now first and then move up to the lighting. It's a whole other set of variables to keep track of and coordinate. Lighting interiors can always be tricky as you'll usually need multiple light and be able to mix well with ambient.

    I use Aperture and love it, much cheaper than lightroom with similar functionality. Learn the curves, saturation, and vibrancy to get good interior photos with good color.

    A good trick with interiors is HDR, basically taking multiple images of the same scene at different exposures and using software to combine them pulling the shadows and highlights from the multiple photos for a nice look. Can be done to give you a realistic look, instead of the clowny ones people usually get with HDR

    I've been following you on twitter for awhile now. Good luck with the photos and let me know if I can be of any help

    A trick I've been wanting to


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