After reading many, many reviews (many of which were far too technical for me to understand), we finally settled upon our very first big kid camera: the Nikon D3200, in all its glory, bundled with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses. We took it to Colorado with us, and scored some pretty amazing shots of the scenery. (I mean, if you aren’t able to get a good photo while in the mountains in Colorado, there’s probably no helping you…) But we basically just set the thing to Auto and let it do the work.

Once we got home, I spent some time reading up on exposure so I could learn to do more manual shooting. I also purchased these cheat sheets, which have been super helpful. They give me an idea of what the aperture, shutter speed and ISO should be for any given setting. I’ve mostly been fiddling around with indoor shots, but I finally got some (of the dog, of course) that aren’t as truly terrible as some of my early shots. (I took one in the dining room that was completely black. During the middle of the day.)

I’m starting to learn how to use the available light from the windows to light my shots, so I don’t have to use the terrible built-in flash. I’m far from full understanding how it all works, but I’m definitely beginning to grasp that it’s truly all about the light. Also learning how to better compose a shot – I read somewhere that a dead giveaway that you’re looking at a newbie’s photos is if you can see a whole bunch of extra junk in the frame. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your subject – makes for much more interesting and focused (ha!) shots.


Lulu is clearly thrilled to be the subject of all of this! (Actually, she probably is – she was only allowed on the couch for this portrait session.)