Behind the Lens // Holidays 2014

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I guess thats kind of always how the holiday season is right? Seems like it takes forever to get here and then once the time comes its over before it even seems to start! 

This year the kids were out of town so it was juts Paul and I for Christmas. We have a lot planned for next year so we needed to save time off and stay in Ridgecrest instead of traveling. While we absolutely miss spending time with our families one added bonus to sticking around this year was being able to book some sessions during the break. I actually had four bookings the week of Christmas and one was even on Christmas day! That really is the beauty of owning your own business, you have flexibility with your time and are pretty much in control of when you work. I know that this won't be the case every year, but for the times when it works, it works!  

North NJ Photographer

The only majorly sad thing that happened  is that I accidentally dropped a lens during a session and unfortunately I think it is donezo. I have insurance but my deductible is the same amount as the lens. There are zero camera shops here in town so the chance that I will be able to get it fixed is also slim to none. It was a great lens and my go to lens for kids and families, so I decided I just needed to invest in a new one. Luckily I found a similar but different lens that I was thinking of upgrading too anyway on ebay for the same price as the lens that broke, so that has been ordered. We will see how it goes! 

Even though we stayed relatively busy this holiday season, we still had quite a bit of down time. Paul and I bought a couple of games and have been playing them pretty much non-stop. We are slightly addicted and we don't care what anyone thinks! This one is called Caverna and we seriously love it. 

North NJ Photographer

I cooked Christmas dinner for the two of us this year and it turned out pretty good. We prefer to fry our turkey but couldn't get our hands on any oil this year so we will have to wait for some good 'ol friend turkey next year. 

North NJ Photographer

I decided to say goodbye to my other blog at the end of this year. I was documenting a photo a day plus my goals and reading list over there, but I've decided that 2015 is really going to be the year of focus. I need to focus my efforts in order to stay on track. I really feel like spending all my time over here on this blog will only help me to remain focused on my business and how I want it to grow during this next year and beyond! So expect to see more personal stuff on this blog in addition to sharing my client sessions etc...

I like documenting a photo a day however, so going forward for 2015 I'm going to utilize Instagram with the hashtag #CWP2015365 to keep track of my daily adventures for this year. I am hopeful that I can keep it up. I would love for you to follow along my journey. Follow me here: Cinnamons Instagram

The First Year // Lenses


If you are just coming across this HERE for links to other posts in the series! 

Soon after I started my study of all things photography, I discovered my kit lenses weren't going to cut it. Because most kit lenses are made of plastic and they cannot open up to very wide apertures, you are limited in the style of photography you can achieve. The sharpness of your photos is also affected.

After reading about it over and over again, I finally (and by finally, I mean like three weeks after I had the camera) bought a “nifty 50" (a 50mm 1.8 prime lens.) This lens, as many have said, really changed everything about what I was doing. Putting the 50 on my camera and then putting on my kit lens, I could physically SEE the difference in focal distance. You can read about that all day long, but I didn't get it until I experienced it myself. It also allowed me to open up much wider. The widest aperture on the 50 is 1.8 and on my kit lens it was 3.5. That is a HUGE difference and changed my ability to get better lit photos with much better bokeh.

After acquiring the 50, I continued to learn a LOT about lenses. I figured out the difference between prime and zoom and a fixed zoom and what all of the descriptions meant. I can tell you exactly what a 70-200mm f3.5-f5.6 description means and how a 70-200 fixed 2.8 is different. I learned that more expensive lenses are referred to as “glass” because…wait for it…their insides are made of glass and not plastic. Imagine that?!

My next lens purchase needed to replace my kit lens. A 50 is great but since it is a prime lens the only way to zoom is to move your feet and for what I wanted to do, that just wasn't going to cut it. I proceeded to do some massive research on the best lens to cover the 20-70 focal range for the best price and landed on the Tamron 28-75. This lens continues to be my workhorse. Because I shoot a lot of families with small children, I need something that will zoom as well as something that is wide enough to get a whole family in the frame. Although I would eventually love to have something wider than 28 for more artistic shots, this lens is on my camera 85% of the time during a family session and remains sharp and accurate. It is quick to focus and I do really love everything about it.

I went on a bit of a lens shopping spree at one point last summer and picked up three other lenses at the same time. I acquired a 50mm 1.4, an 85mm, and a wide angle lens.  Paul was starting to learn more about how to use the camera in manual and I wanted to put the 50mm f1.8 on the backup camera for him to use. This is the only reason I bought another 50mm.

Since that point, I have sold the 17-40 in order to purchase at 70-200. My reasoning behind this boils down to a few different things. I do love a really good wide angle shot with a lot of negative space, but I was finding that with the 17-40 I would use it maybe once during a shoot for only that shot. I was learning a lot more about focal length, compression and depth of field at that time and I knew that I wanted to add a 70-200 to my collection. Since my Tamron gave me a nice ability for negative space already with the 28 focal length, I decided it would be best to sell the 17-40 and pick up the 70-200 instead. I do not regret this decision. The 70-200 is a fantastic lens. The compression you can achieve at 200 is just so buttery and brilliant. I would and will use it way more for portrait work than with families, but I still am very glad it is in my repertoire.

I would at some point like to pick up a 100mm macro or 135mm as well as maybe a 10-20mm wide angle. Having the full spectrum of focal ranges covered is great but I feel like also it sometimes causes analysis paralysis by way of providing TOO many choices. I know what each lens is capable of doing, but they definitely aren't always necessary for general family photography. If someday I grow more into senior/engagement/wedding photography then maybe I will reconsider my lineup for lenses that suit those needs better.