Picking up your camera daily and practicing your photography can be challenging. But practicing often, especially daily, can really help you improve your photography skills. Plus capture all those amazing everyday family moments you don’t want to forget. Here are 4 tips for daily photography made easy.
1. Choose a good walk around lens
When you are working on shooting every day, it is important to choose a camera body and lens combo that won’t end up sending you straight to the chiropractor. For a long time, maybe two years, I carried around the Canon 5d Mark II and the Canon 85mm lens. But, on long days , like a trip to the zoo or Disneyland, that would leave my shoulder aching. It is so heavy and slow to focus which means I missed a lot of those spontaneous moments.
If you can find a good combo that has a light weight lens it will make all the difference when you are thinking about whether you want to carry your camera with you everywhere. And the more often you carry your camera, the more often will you will able to catch those moments that you didn’t know were coming plus it makes it easier to document your life.
I have two combos that I love for carrying around with me all the time. The first one is the Canon 5d Mark II (the Canon 5d Mark III and Canon 5d Mark IV are the more up to date versions of this camera) with the Canon 28mm lens. It is a small light lens plus it’s a good focal length for daily activities like grocery shopping, playing at the park, and just hanging out. It is a sharp lens with a quick focus and nice color straight out of camera (which means less editing if you are shooting daily too). I’ve also been debating giving the Canon 24 mm pancake lens a try. It could be a good one to rent to see if there is enough difference between it and the Canon 28mm focal length. Because it is a pancake lens it is even lighter than the 28mm. I also think that the smaller lenses attract less attention when you pull them out in public than the large ones.
The other combo I have been using is new to me, but I am loving it. It is a mirrorless camera + lens combo with the mirrorless Fuji XT1 and the Fujinon 27mm pancake lens (another reason I might try the Canon 27 mm pancake lens). The size of this Fuji camera and pancake lens blows me away. You know that inside zipper pocket of your purse? Yeah, it fits in that pocket. Which is crazy. The fact that I can throw it in my purse and not even notice the weight is huge. The 27mm focal length is perfect for daily shooting too. I’ve used it in full sun, crazy fog, and at a night time baseball game. It has performed close to the quality of my Canon in these situations. I think my Canon full frame combos still have something extra though so at this point I am going to have to figure out how to balance using them.
2. Pick the right camera bag
Over the last ten years I have tried numerous camera bags that were made specially for the DSLR cameras. One of my favorites that doubled as a purse without adding too much weight was the Ketti. My only issue with the Ketti bag was that the outside is fabric so I was always worrying about it getting dirty or torn which doesn’t make it ideal for carting around daily.
The next bag that I tried was the Ona bag. It is leather outside which was perfect for daily use but the size of the bag I choose was ginormous. It isn’t something that could double as a purse. When I was doing family sessions, it was a wonderful bag. It holds my Canon 5d Mark II with a lens attached and at least two other lenses with room left over for more. Although the room is kind of at the top of the bag above the lenses which makes it awkward to know what else to put there. I would love to try the Ona Tote Bag for every day use since it doesn’t have that additional space at the top of the bag.
Then about a year ago, I was lucky enough to win a camera bag from The Bloom Forum. It is a Kelly Moore bag and a backpack style. I took this bag when we went to Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park. There is plenty of room for my camera with a lens attached and two more lenses as well as things like my wallet & keys. The backpack style is spot on perfect for days where you need to be more hands free like vacations or hiking and even for shooting family sessions. But, like the Ona bag, it isn’t ideal for everyday use because of the size.
The thing I have liked the most so far is the Ona Camera Bag Insert. It is reasonably priced and I love that I can use it with any kind of purse that I buy on my own. It holds my camera body with a shorter lens attached and one other lens. Most of the time I just carry the camera with the lens attached and use the other side pocket for things like extra batteries or the Fuji Instax camera (or my wallet depending on how much room is left in the purse). I love that there are little side pockets on the insert too which I use to hold additional memory cards, lens cleaner pen, and lens caps.
3. Ignore the strangers around you
Hands down this is the hardest one for me still. I have to actively work on ignoring people around me if I whip out my camera in the middle of a place that others may not be photographing. I tell myself things like, I will never see them again so it doesn’t matter or if they were a photographer then they would probably have a camera out too or what’s that saying about how people are more worried about themselves than you?. It is so much easier to photograph your daily life when you are on vacation and everyone else is taking pictures too (like when you are at one of those places where every other person has a DSLR hanging around their neck like Disneyland). But, it is much harder to pull out the DSLR at the grocery store or places like the eye doctor (I have taken pictures at the dentist, eye doctor, and pediatrician but usually ask them first if they mind which eases that uncomfortable feeling). The more you practice taking photos when other people aren’t taking photos the easier it gets. This is another reason why I like those combos above that include the smaller lenses. They just feel less obvious when you are using them in public.
4. Leave the camera somewhere within reach
This is an at home tip. I know that I am much more likely to pick up the camera and take a photo of my son reading on the couch or the way the light is filtering in through the blinds in the afternoon if my camera is within easy reach. We have a console table that is about the halfway point in our house and I often leave my camera sitting there so I can grab it quickly if I see something I want to capture. These moments are the unplanned moments of my daily life that I wouldn’t otherwise be planning to photograph and sometimes end of favorite photos. I’ve also found this kind of daily shooting in my house has allowed me to really learn the light in the rooms at different times of day so that when I do want to get a planned photo, I am ready. I know what the settings need to be and I can just pick up the camera and shoot without missing the opportunity.
Just to recap, the things that have allowed daily shooting to be easier and more accessible for me are:
· using the best camera/lens combo,
· finding the right kind of bag for carrying the camera around,
· ignoring the strangers around me; and
· Leaving the camera within reach when I am home.
My hope is that these tips inspire you to get out into the world and make sure you are photographing all those moments that light you up and make you thankful for this beautiful life. If you want more photography tips, be sure to grab your free ebooks here.
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