Evolution of the Nicole Selfie

Blogging and regularly reading big-time blogs over the past couple years has made me grow in my appreciation for good photography.  Quality photos are beautiful and capture the moments and memories of life in a really special way, and I am a pretty big fan of that.  So like many bloggers (and SAHM's) before me, I think it's safe to say I have officially caught the photography bug.

I have long enjoyed taking and looking at photos.  It all started with a Fisher Price kid camera that my 6-year-old self proudly toted around and snapped pics with, then eagerly waited to get the film developed and put the prints in my very own photo album.  I remember most of my pictures being terribly off-center because I stubbornly insisted on looking through the view finder with only one eye like the grown-ups, even though the viewfinder was like a pair of binoculars, designed to look through with both eyes in order to get an accurate view of the frame being captured.

My very first camera
By upper elementary school, I graduated to using disposable film cameras when I became too cool for Fisher Price. (Remember those!!)  Then in 6th or 7th grade, my parents got me a digital camera for Christmas (a Konica E-Mini, that also doubled as a rad mp3 player!) I actually just found the old user's manual online and in the introduction the manufacturers actually boast that it is "the most incredible camera ever developed."  I kid you not.  If you don't believe me, check for yourself here.  Even if the Konica E-Mini wasn't objectively the most incredible camera ever developed, it really was the most incredible camera I had ever known, and I used the crap out of that thing and loved it dearly.  As a middle schooler, taking as many photos as I wanted without paying to get them developed and deleting far fewer than I should have was absolute perfection.

That's right, I knew how to rock a selfie before it was even cool, waaaaay back in 2001.
As technology rapidly advanced, my first digital camera with it's grainy, dark images was soon replaced by another Christmas gift, this time a nicer Sony point and shoot digital camera.  This camera was my trusty companion during high school band trips, show choir competitions, musicals, dances, and traveled along on vacations to Toronto, San Antonio, the gulf coast, Boston, Germany, Mexico, and the Domican Republic.

Nothing says "high school" quite like taking selfies (or usies?) on long and boring bus rides...
and when you have a ladybug painted on your face for some odd reason?

When that camera finally kicked the bucket a few years later, I asked for a replacement for Christmas and was given another Sony point and shoot.  This one was much nicer (my mom is a Consumer Reports pro and knows how to pick out the good stuff), had the option to minimally control a few manual settings, and served as my most current camera in addition to the beloved iPhone camera, of course.

Nicer quality selfies/usies with my bffs- JP and my sis
And then I became discontented with the point and shoot/iPhone combo I had going on.  My point and shoot took better photos than my iPhone, but not THAT much better, and not enough to justify me bringing it everywhere when I already toted a huge diaper bag full of stuff everywhere I went.  I got to the point where I rarely used it and almost exclusively took pictures on my iPhone, but I was unhappy with the quality of many of the iPhone pics.  And then through blogs and friends I discovered the DSLR and began to have a little bit of photo-envy.

Believe it or not, I was very slow and deliberate in making the decision to go ahead and purchase a DSLR.  Basically, I recognized that just buying a nice camera would not magically turn me into a photographer or make me value photography more than I already did.  And I also realized that toting a DSLR around would be a much larger hassle/commitment than the little point and shoot camera I hadn't used in ages.  So before I took the financial plunge into DSLR territory, I set out to grow my photo-taking skills and enjoyment using the cameras I already owned.

Some favorite snaps from my May Photo-a-Day Challenge
So I started reading more blog posts and articles about photography.  I participated in Fat Mum Slim's May photo-a-day challenge.  I borrowed and read through A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by those super cutie gals over at A Beautiful Mess.  And it actually worked!  I started to notice the world around me in a different way, looking for the interesting and unique photo opportunities it held, and began learning how to capture them better.  I liked it so much we decided to take the plunge and I ordered a Canon Rebel T5i with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 50mm prime lens for portraits.

I just got it this week and I am absolutely loving it!  I haven't ventured off the automatic settings yet, but have learned a ton already about shooting in RAW format and processing/editing.  I'm excited to learn more, keep growing in this hobby, and share some photos with you along the way.

I'll leave you with my most recent and newest fav selfie taken with the new cam.  Pardon my no makeup face and overgrown eyebrows...  :-/  Just let the cute smiling toddler in the background distract you!

Image Credits:
Fisher-Price 3815 kids camera for 110 film by free photos & art (CC BY)
All other photos by Nicole Payne-- all rights reserved

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