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March 18, 2012

Photograhy 101 | My Camera | Canon Rebel t2i & Canon G11

I'm starting a new series on the blog - a sort of work-in-progress-how-I'm-teaching-myself to take pretty photos.  I do not claim to know everything there is about photography, but I'm learning.  So... I thought I'd bring you a long for the ride with a behind the scenes look at what I'm doing to produce the images I post.  First off - My Cameras.

Most blogs and books I've read about Photography say that you don't need a fancy camera to produce attractive images.  I believe this to an extent because I worked without a DSLR (aka, fancy camera) for such a long time and still produced some pretty photos.  I made it work with using natural light and favorable composition.  It worked, but it was a struggle to so some of the things that I wanted to do.

My First : The Canon G11

The first camera I purchased (a year and a half ago, about $500) was a Canon G11.  I describe this as a hybrid-DSLR.  It is not just an ordinary point-and-shoot, but it is not a full-blown DSLR.  It gives you the ability to change all of the settings, has a pretty high quality sensor and built in lens.  It is not as bulky as a DSLR and is great to travel with.  I used this camera on our honeymoon to get some amazing images.  In fact, when I was researching starter cameras, I learned that many 'real' photographers use a Canon G11 as a travel camera because it has all of the functionality of a DSLR without the bulkiness or the hassle of multiple lenses.

Here is a photo I took using the G11.  I took this on my sun porch with natural light that is filtered by white curtains.

The G11 was a great starting place for me to learn how to use the settings of a camera to make the images look good, but I struggled with the built in lens for some of my food photography.  I mainly struggled with the lack of control of focus - most point-and-shoots put the entire frame in focus, instead of having the ability to focus in on one aspect of the image, which is how the human eye 'sees' things.  When I did finally make the move to the DSLR it was a whole new ballgame for me.  I was able to control everything I'd struggled against - being able to focus in on exactly what I want to focus on and blur the rest of the frame.

My Second : The Canon Rebel T2i with 50mm f1.8 Lens

Just this past Fall I made the move from a Canon G11 to a DSLR, the Canon T2i (about $700+lenses).  I only have 1 lens for it so far - a 50mm f/1.8 (about $100).  The 50mm lens is known to be the most natural 'human' eye lens.  It is what allows you to focus on one particular part of the frame and then gives you the the ability to control the focus.  You can set it it shallowly or deeply from the object on which you have it focused.  

I've learned that the term for this effect - the focus on an object (or objects) with a blurred background of foreground is called bokah.  So, now you know what I'm talking about when I talk about the bokah.

This photo is a good example of my focused in on an object, then the rest of the photo is blurred.

It is an appealing image for our eyes to look at because it tells us where to focus - the bowl of eggs - and tells our brains to put all of the other objects secondary.

Those secondary objects are important, though, because they help to tell the story of the photo.  If the plate and flower in the background were also in focus, they would be fighting for our attention.  With the blurred background, it helps us to naturally focus in on the eggs, then 'see' the other objects as sensory objects to take it subconsciously. 

As you can see, the background objects in the muffin photo are not as blurred, making them more of a distraction. 


  1. I am interested to read this series! I have a Canon Rebel as well and am learning as I go. Your photos are always so beautiful, so I am thrilled to learn we have the same camera. Thanks for sharing what you have learned!

  2. I'm interested in this series, I've a new Canon and any tips are appreciated.

  3. Good choice for a series to start. Can't wait to learn more from this.

  4. Great ideas! I love taking pictures and really want to take my own pictures for my blog! I going to save this post to my favorites! Thanks! Desiree

  5. kelly in georgia9:41 PM

    Oh happy day! Love that you are doing this. I have the Canon Rebel 3ti. Are you setting the aperture yourself? And what are you using for editing? I've been saying I need a 50mm lens. I think that lens really helps to make food photography beautiful. Thank you so very much for including this on your blog!

  6. Thank you for sharing about your photography! I'm a beginner and really want to learn but struggle with how to start.

  7. Looking forward to reading this one. Have purchased the G11 and really never used it. Thanks!

  8. I have a G11 and a Cannon T3i. Love both of these cameras, especially the macro feature of the G11. Also you can take blurred background shots with the G11 whet it's set to aperture. I'm still navigating through my new T3i but it's heaven.

  9. yay! I'm looking forward to this series

  10. I just got that same lens for Christmas and I'm loving it!!!

  11. I am SO excited about your series. :-) I got a Nikon D3100 a year ago and have learned so much through trial and error...I'm looking forward to learning more through your posts. I'm kinda addicted to photography.

  12. This is such a helpful post and I look forward to learning more. Thank you!!

  13. I can't wait to hear more. I have a little point and shoot right now, and I'm pining for a DSLR one day. Until then, I'll live vicariously.

  14. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)


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