Someone asked me recently if I had any recommendations for buying a new camera. It used to be so easy! These days there are so many different brands and models it’s difficult to know where to start!
Why do you want a camera?
What are you planning to take photos of, and what are planning to do with the photos? If you are after some quick easy snaps to post online, stick with your phone.
If you are looking for better quality photos (ie less likely to encounter things like chromatic aberration, performs better in lower light conditions, can capture in raw format etc) you may need a camera.
If you want to print your photos, particularly larger prints, you may need a camera.
Considerations in Selecting a Camera
Read the specifications and reviews to make sure the camera has the features you want, and that the image quality is in fact better than your phone. There’s absolutely no point in lugging around a camera if your phone can do the same thing.
A few features that may or may not be important to you:
Does it take video, is it 4k?
How good is the auto focus, and the focus tracking?
Does the screen tilt?
How big is the camera, and how heavy? Do you want a camera that can fit in your pocket, or are you happy to carry an extra bag? Do you travel, will it take up your cabin luggage weight?
How big are the buttons compared to your fingers? I’ve met several people with big fingers who had trouble with fiddly buttons that were too close together on their cameras.
Do you want to be able to use different lenses, or are you happy with the fixed lens some cameras have? This may be a budget consideration (lenses are often more expensive than the camera body) but also weight and space for carrying it around.
Types of Cameras
Still the most popular type of camera, they have good battery life, and there’s a huge range of interchangeable lenses. The second hand market is great too. The variety of features and models available is massive.
Cost varies, from entry level crop sensors up to professional full frame cameras with ridiculously high shots per second if you like fast moving things.
These are the new kids on the block, a lot of DSLR users are switching to mirrorless. They are typically smaller and lighter than a DSLR. They have interchangeable lenses and some have converters so you can use your existing DSLR lenses. However the batteries do not last as long as a DSLR.
Technology is still quite new for mirrorless cameras, there are upgraded models being released fairly often.
Compact or Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Called “compact” for a reason, they are smaller that a DSLR and easier to carry around. Typically these do not have interchangeable lenses but they do have a zoom range which may be good enough for your needs.
These cameras “bridge” the gap between DSLR and Compact cameras. They typically have a fixed lens (not interchangeable) and not as bulky as a DSLR. They tend not to have a viewfinder, you look at the LCD screen on the back to take the photo.
There are other cameras - Micro 4/3s as well as action (GoPro) cameras, but if I was looking at just the photography side and not concentrating on video as much I would stick with the main ones above.
In general, the more you spend on a camera you will be able to shoot faster, higher burst mode (more photos per second) and take photos in lower light (without using a flash) with less grain. Build quality will also be better.
If you really like photography, I’d recommend spending around £500 on an interchangeable lens camera. (If your budget is considerably less, stick with your phone for now, you might find the cheaper camera is not much of a step up.)
When you are ready, you can invest in new lenses to expand your photography repertoire.
If you’re not fussed about lenses, spend the money on an advanced compact camera with a fixed lens, preferably the latest model in your price range.
Models to Consider
I’ve tried to keep this as simple as possible. Obviously there are many other things that may be important to you, but hopefully this has given you a good starting point. Here are some current models to consider: (July 2021)
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Versatile Zoom Range
Good in Low Light
Good Image Quality
Price range: £500
Great Image Quality
Great battery life
Price range: £600 and up (depending on what accessories and lenses are included)
Sony a6000 - an older model but still worth a look
Up to 11 FPS Continuous Shooting
Price range: £500
Completing GCSEs is a big achievement under any circumstances. Some teens have had to overcome serious obstacles along the way, whether it was an illness in the family, a parent losing a job, or the pressures of social media. And then, just as they are almost at the light at the end of the tunnel, about to celebrate with prom and parties, the world gets shut down by a global pandemic.
Prom is a huge milestone, and I’m disappointed for them that it has been cancelled. I still remember mine! (I know, it was a looong time ago!) It is the final moment when all the awkwardness of their younger teenage years are behind them; and excitement about their future may just make them realise that school wasn’t so bad after all. It’s an opportunity to shed their school uniform finally and wear something beautiful. This is meant to be their night, no parents, no siblings.
It is also often the last time they will be professionally photographed until they get married. Let that sink in! These photos are important. You’ve bought their dress or suit and all the accessories. Why not still get dressed up and take those photos? We can still mark this occasion for you.
For this year, I am offering special prom packages for you.
Your £10 NHS donation means the £50 session fee is waived.
PLUS if you get in touch and book by June 30 you will get a voucher for a future session that you can use yourself or gift to someone else.
If you want to include friends and family members, we can plan for that too.
Prices of the base packages are here.
Congratulations, class of 2020. Keep making us proud.
A lot of people have digital files of their children that never end up getting printed. Is that you? My goal is for everyone to have a product that will last at least 100 years, family heirlooms. I promise you digital files will not last, they become corrupted or deleted/lost forever.
If you've ever had school photos taken by me, you'll know that I ask kids questions about themselves to include in their photos. This album similarly incorporates things about your children along with their photos.
This is how it will work:
I will provide you with some questions to ask your children, you can also make up your own questions, these are just suggestions.
You send to me their answers and photos, and I will design your book. The higher resolution the photos you send the better the result for printing. Your book will be 8 x 8 inches square. The sample one below is for 2 children, I can design your book for any number of children but for this price the number of pages is fixed. Additional pages incur additional cost.
The total cost for the design and the book delivered to you is £250.
Here is an example of what it will look like.
We've been at home for 3 weeks now, and in the UK kids are officially on holiday, so no e-mails from schools with work for them to do. In case you are needing some inspiration to keep busy, I came across this pdf (I can't for the life of me remember where or I would credit them!), I did not create it. Some ideas only take a few minutes (make someone in your house a cup of tea), some may never happen (in my house it would be "make a music video"!) but hopefully you will find a few good suggestions.
While most kids are at home for the foreseeable future I wanted to help entertain them and you, for a few minutes anyway!
Starting Monday March 30 I am bringing you a Scavenger Hunt! Every day there will be a different challenge/hunt for things around the house. You will need some sort of camera, a phone or anything is fine. It helps to have an app to put together a collage, there are several out there: Layout App by Instagram, the Unfold App, or PicCollage to name a few.
How Do You Play?
Check Marla White Photography Facebook page – each day I will post the prompt for that day’s hunt. I will also post on my Instagram Story and here on my blog.
Share your creations on your own Facebook page with the hashtag #MWHunt or on Instagram and tag @marlawhitephotography. You can also post them under my daily post on my Facebook page. I will be checking all 3 places.
Check back to this blog post daily for tips, tricks and ideas to help your kids get their creative juices flowing for each challenge.
p.s. This scavenger hunt is meant for kids of all ages. Heck adults can participate as well! You don’t have to be local, anyone can join in!
Oh and there will be two winners!! One lucky person at the end will win a £20 voucher from Oakingham Belle! So when life gets back to normal you can celebrate at the Oakingham Belle! And another lucky person will get a free coffee every day for a month at Brown Bag!! Yes!!!
Now … let’s get this party started … I can’t wait!
Have a look around your house for letters to spell your name. You can make a collage to put the letters together.
To give you an idea of what to do … here is mine! My letters are from some board games, toothpaste, a mug. I used my phone and then used PicCollage to assemble the letters into a collage. I would only show this to your child if they need help getting started. Otherwise let their creative minds take over! I can’t wait to see what your child’s name collage looks like!
A few places to look if you are stuck: calendars, clocks, books, TV stations, thermostat, game boxes, house number, phone etc. There are so many numbers around your house if you start to look for them!
Don’t forget you can go outside too, just stay away from others!
Who doesn't like the Toy Story series, right?
Mr. Potato Head,
Bucket o Soldiers,
the RC buggy,
Rocky the wrestler,
etch a sketch,
toy tape recorder (can't imagine many of those around!)/karaoke machine,
barrel of monkeys,
the getaway toy corvette,
ooh Bullseye the horse,
Stinky Pete the Prospector,
Buzz's enemy Zurg,
the penguin Wheezy,
Buster the pet dachshund,
Lotso the bear,
Stretch the rubber octopus,
Chunk the orange rock monster,
Chatter the telephone,
Bookworm the worm torch,
Chuckles the toy clown,
Mr. Pricklepants the hedgehog,
Buttercup the unicorn,
Trixie the Triceratops,
You can get creative here - get everyone under an umbrella, all dress in costumes - be creative!
In these days of social distancing and isolation it appears many of us are being very productive by turning our hand to all those DIY projects around the house. (Silver lining!) We all know how these things snowball. One minute you are freshening up the hallway, but pretty soon you are knocking down walls and choosing new flooring! Just in case your plans include a new wall gallery, I thought I’d do what I can to help inspire.
Obviously you know I’m going to say your home needs big artwork of your family. Not only do family portraits make your home feel warm and welcoming, they also give your children a sense of importance and belonging in the family unit, a boost to their self esteem.
But how do you go about designing a portrait wall? Arranging your collection can be intimidating when you’re confronted by a big, blank wall. Here’s a few tips.
TIP 1: Your chosen wall does not have to be completely blank to start with. You can design a collage including your tv, wall sconces, or existing wall art.
TIP 2: If you have young children, you may want to leave space to add to your wall as they grow. It’s best to start with a large piece as an anchor, then add smaller portraits later on.
TIP 3: Go ahead and mix media. You can include travel souvenirs, children’s artwork (which we all have an abundance of!), as well as photos. At the same time, try to have some unifying thing to tie all the pieces together. This could be using similar colours, or keep things monochrome. Using black and white has the benefit of being easy to match to existing decor. Frames don’t have to match!
TIP 4: Hold the hammer! Hanging several pieces will put holes in the wall, so be sure you know exactly where things go before you start hammering. When you have your portraits printed with me I have software to help you with that. If you are winging it on your own, outline all of your artwork on paper, cut them out, label them and stick the papers on the wall.
I hope these tips and photos have helped inspire you. Please note they are not my photos, I found them online (via Pinterest) from these websites: nytimes.com, decozilla.com, justthejensenfam.blogspot.com. If you'd like to look at more pretty walls, check out my Pinterest board!
Are you working from home, finding you have some extra time on your hands? If you are "social distancing" as opposed to "isolating" due to the coronavirus, now may be a good time to update your headshot! If you are in the Wokingham area, we can shoot outside keeping a safe distance apart. I can even setup on outdoor "studio" if you prefer a plain background.
If you'd prefer to wait until life is more normal again, that's ok too. Our health comes first.
As long as you either bring a donation for the food bank to me, or some sort of proof that you have made a donation directly to them, you are eligible for a free headshot with me. The value is £50, and I strongly encourage you to make your donation in keeping with that amount. The donation has to be made by March 31, 2020.
Please consult the Wokingham Foodbank website for their latest shopping list. As of March 17 2020 this is what they need most:
size 5 nappies,
clothes washing liquid/powder (small size).
We currently have an abundance of baked beans, soup and pasta.
For the last couple of years, I decided instead of making a bunch of resolutions that don’t last more than a week I would guide my year by a single word. For 2020 it’s simplify.
Sadly of course life rarely is simple. Lately it’s not been helped by the fact that I’ve been coughing up my lungs for 4 weeks and counting. Lack of sleep, magnified by the short days this time of year, has made things less than simple!
You know what can make things more simple? Pets. In my case my dog Frankie. Ok maybe “simple” isn’t the best word but I had to tie it in somehow! Just spending 10 minutes with your dog will not only reduce your stress but actually make you happy! So the next time you feel your blood pressure rising grab the nearest dog toy or even just give him/her a cuddle. How can that not make you happy!
I know I’m preaching to the choir, if you have a dog you already know all this stuff. The downside sadly is that they just don’t live long enough. When they are gone the house is quieter. There’s no more walks.
The best way to make them live on is to celebrate them as long as they are here. A gorgeous portrait of them on your wall will remind you that they will always be part of your family, your story. Don’t be left with only low res phone snaps with bad lighting. We can also capture your relationship you have with your dog, instead of you being behind the camera.
There’s still some time left on my February pet special, don’t wait too long.
Jenny is a very special person to me. I first met her four years ago, she was my very first maternity client! You would not believe what has happened in her life since then! Check out a photo from her first maternity shoot here in Wokingham:
After Jenny had her first baby, she settled into motherhood with the help of her partner. Emily was a beautiful, healthy baby.
When Emily was about two years old Jenny didn't feel well. She didn't think too much about it, and just got on with life, toddlers don't stop just because mum doesn't feel well!
Eventually Jenny ended up at the hospital, still not thinking anything too major was wrong. Imagine everyone's shock when they discovered that Jenny had a stroke! She doesn't fit into any of the stereotypical high risk groups: she was (is) young, not obese, not diabetic, doesn't smoke etc.
As you can imagine life changed very suddenly for them all. When they went to the hospital they were expecting to be home in a few hours. Instead she spent a long time there before she could start her recovery at home.
Almost two years on Jenny's rehabilitation has been remarkable. If you saw her on the street you wouldn't know what she's been through. Her walk might not be perfect, she moves slower and finds it difficult at times to keep up with Emily. It is more of a "hidden" issue she will have to deal with going forward.
However it didn't stop her going on to have another healthy baby girl! Welcome to the world, Sophie! Isn't it amazing what they have overcome! I wish you all the best going forward with your gorgeous family, Jenny! Hope to see you all again soon!
In the spirit of celebrating wonderful dads, now is the perfect time to start thinking about Father’s Day gifts - for the man who helped you become the person you are today, and the man who gives his all to your children. During the month of May purchase a gift voucher from Marla White Photography and get a bonus mini-session prior to Father’s Day to create a personal, heartfelt card — he’ll appreciate that most of all.
Extra bonus - when you use your voucher receive an extra £20 towards any photo product if you bring a grandparent to your session!