This afternoon I thought it might be fun to share a journey with you all that I’m taking right now. I’m working on Florence Finds, Dream. Find. Do. and my day job, but I’ve also decided that I need to get better with my camera. Since this article, I’ve been making so much more effort to take my Canon 40D out. One of the great (intentionally great) things about Florence Finds is that it really forces me to do things that I don’t normally make time for. I have had to practice my photography and editing skills to make my posts look their best. Add to that the best part of 2 years that I spent editing down the selections of wedding photos that I had to put together for real wedding posts, and I like to think I’ve developed an eye for decent photography. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I’m any great shakes myself, but knowing what you want to achieve and recognising when you have achieved it are just as important, right?!
One of the things I have also wanted to do is find a new camera and that is a tall order when you start out with a camera like the 40D. I’ve seen wedding photographers start out with the same camera body that I use and I don’t even scratch the surface of it’s capabilities, so although it frustrates me with my own lack of knowledge, I’d be equally frustrated to lose the functionality it has. My biggest bug bear is that it’s waaaaay too big to be handy for a blogger. I need my camera on me nearly all the time, particularly as literally any aspect of my life can become blog-able. Often when I least expect it. So I wanted something as good but smaller. After all, although the ‘blog camera’ my camera is also really our family camera too, and I wanted something Pete was equally comfortable with. I fell in love when I met Laura and Pete Lawson and saw their new baby – the Fuji Finepix x100, so I was thrilled when Talk PR agreed to loan me one to review for Florence Finds. All the photos in this series are going to document my discoveries with this camera.
For comparison, the Canon 40D has now been replaced with the 60D which retails at almost £1000 with kit lens or you can pick up a second hand body and kit lens like mine for around £400, wheras the x100 is £645 on Amazon.
Todays shots are literally, fresh out of the box. It felt like such a luxury to take the camera last weekend and sat on the front step of my house while Pete was washing the car and start taking a few pictures whilst reading the manual. These notes are just how I have found the camera and things I learned a long the way, and this weeks certainly hold no revelations, but I hope I’ll have a few tips that I pick up along the way that might be useful to some of you reading. Please also note, this is written strictly from the perspective of a blogger and the way I use a camera for that purpose. I’m no pro!
Objective 1: Detail shots
My first concern was the focus as I wanted to see just how specific I could be about the point of focus, probably because my usual camera seems to have a bit of a problem with that right now. I often take shots of things very close up, like nails, jewellery and food so wanted to test that out.
One of the things that comes across most in the x100 reviews is that although a great camera, it’s not the easiest to use. I spent a considerable time on my front step trying to get it set up so I could just focus on anything, never mind something close up. Shot after shot came out blurry and that’s when I turned to the manual and hit reset, so I could start with fresh settings. Once I fathomed them, I was pretty pleased with the results!
As a blogger, all of the photos that I take are important, and honestly, I’m guilty sometimes of getting frustrated and settling for images I’m not that happy with, but the ones I’m most critical of are the shots taken for my What to Wear Posts. My husband Pete usually takes these shots but I set the camera up by practicing on him in the same spot first (so the light is the same,) and then direct him to take the shots of the items I want to highlight in the post. However natural these shots look on any fashion bloggers site – they’re nothing but!
The point of the shot above was to share the new earrings I had found and even in Petes’ hands the camera did a great job! Good fashion shots are the difference I feel between ending up with a cringe-fest or a professional looking blog post, so this is a big must-do for me. The easier it makes things for Pete the happier I am – heated discussions about what is the correct setting, do not for happy outfit shots make!
I should also add that although taken in good natural light, the images here are all straight out of the camera, no editing and the colours are perfectly true to life.
Next week, I’m going to start looking at changing the depth of field manually and playing with exposure… wish me luck!
PS I’d love to hear if any of you have any great tips for improving photography skills, perhaps books you have read, or courses?