I acquired my amateur photography skills by googling stuff online and watching youtube videos, which honestly has more than enough free resources to gain a good understanding words like aperture, exposure, F-stop, etc... it can all get unnecessarily complex so, here is a la(z)yman-terms guide to photography:
f/ (some number here) = aperture
I'm just going to cut to the chase and start with the aperture because it is key to getting those beautiful photos with a blurred background. You can go to photography blogs and read about the f-stop for hours, but all you really need to remember is: the lower the number, the blurrier the background. I can't explain the technical reason as to why this is, but it's an easy rule of thumb when shopping for lenses.
The most popular "blogger" lenses are ones that have f/1.4 to 1.8.
Anything above f/3.5 or so makes the background and subject less distinguishable.
Are not the best for artsy photography, but have its perks of being lightweight and easy to use.
I recently got the Sony a5100 to film videos with. It has a silent autofocus that works like a charm, which is the main feature that I was looking for as I was tired of having to deal with the horrendous focus sound when filming on the DSLR. (literally sounds like nails on a chalkboard) Also, it's insanely light and has a flip-selfie screen which is perfect for vlogging.
I'm using it with a 16-55mm lens which gives a good range, but has f/3.5-5 so it lacks the cinematic feel. Thinking of investing in the 35mm f/1.8 lens... if anyone has suggestions for sony e-mount lenses, holla.
The Canon t3i is the classic beginner's DSLR. What I love most about it is the flip out screen and its durability. I've used this camera for five years and I don't carry it in a protective case so major props to Canon for making lasting products. This camera has been with me to all my trips in Europe and Asia, so I've attached a degree of sentimental value to it. But no, I did not name my Canon. not that far.
The cons are that it is still quite heavy, and it is not a full-frame body.
Full-frame basically means it gives a wider range. By wide, I mean you can fit more in your shot, as if you were zooming out. If I were to take my photography to the next level, I would invest in a full-frame body. But for now, the t3i adequately serves my purposes.
Main things to know about lenses are the aperture and length. Aperture, we already went over. Length is measure by millimeters. Lower mm length means you will be zoomed out, and the higher mm length means the closer you will be zoomed in.
Before getting the Sony, I've used the canon 18-55mm kit lens to film. Not the most amazing lens, but it's affordable and gets the job done.
My FAVORITE lens is the canon 50mm f/1.8 aka the nifty fifty. (Photog-lingo ayoooo) First off, it's very affordable, at around $100. And trust, lenses don't come cheap so this is GOOD deal. Second, it is very light and compact. This is the lens I use to take outfit pictures with. Literally makes everything look professional.
There is also the 50mm f/1.4 lens which is about three times the price of the 50mm f/1.8. If paying $200 extra is nbd for your budget, go for it. But tbh, I don't see a monumental difference in picture quality so no sweat.
The more you get into photography, the more you realize it is like a cult. There are all these underground magazines and communities dedicated to showcasing beautiful photos that I admit to spending hours online scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling......
There is something magical about capturing a moment and making it immortal on print.
Check out Leica's online magazine for some serious inspo.
Apologies to experts for trivializing the art of photography... did not mean to offend anyone lol. But I do hope this post was helpful for those just getting started! I still have lots to learn, so any tips would be v appreciated.
'til next time.