I'm convinced that having the correct tools for a job pretty much always makes a difference. A job that might have been difficult at best suddenly becomes not only easier, but potentially joyful. But I'm also slow to upgrade, even when the job I'm trying to do is pretty important to me. It's not just that I resist spending the money (though that's often the case, and that's a whole other discussion), but frequently, even when a task feels overwhelmingly difficult, it simply doesn't even occur to me that there might be something that would make it easier. Or that maybe I'm not just naturally terrible at whatever I'm trying to do.
For several years now, I've been meaning to get my jewelry up in an etsy shop. But the picture taking has sort of been killing me--I started out trying to get good shots of my tiny, shiny, glassy, silvery pieces with a little Canon Powershot thingy, and it did not go well. At all. A friend loaned me his Nikon digital thingy (as you can see, "thingy" is clearly a technical photography term--I apologize if my professional jargon is intimidating to you). The Nikon digital thingy was taking less than great shots, and since the camera was Big and Important Looking with many functions and features, I assumed I was just having serious operator error issues. (Frankly, the operator error issues remain uncontested.)
A kind new friend came over one day to try to figure out how I could get some better shots of my stuff with the Nikon, and she definitely helped me. (And she's still owed a necklace of little bronze leaves as a thank you! Yikes!) We figured out how to change the white balance on the camera, and that was helpful, and she showed me a few other tricks, and by the end of our hour together I had enough confidence to take some jewelry outside and squeeeeeeze a few halfway decent pictures out of the camera. I found Picnik for editing purposes, which also helped, and there was no denying the pictures were way better than I'd been getting prior to that day.
But. They still left a lot to be desired. And I've generally felt a low-level, background interference sort of discouragement and anxiety about the whole thing--like I was going to have to gain an enormous new artistic skill in order to sell my jewelry. A skill I'd very much like to have, but you know, I don't want to have to drop everything to become a photographer just so I can throw some stuff up on etsy.
Then tonight, my lovely sweetie gave me an astounding early birthday (Chanukah, New Year's, Valentine's, President's Day...) gift--a Canon EOS Rebel T2i (for those of you who are not intimidated by jargon and camera geekery). Mind you, I still have utterly no clue what I'm doing, but somehow this thingy feels more intuitive than the thingies I'd been using, and in addition, I'm quickly developing a suspicion that you actually can't take a terrible picture with it.
I give you two pictures of my jewelry--taken at night, indoors, under a mixture of compact fluorescent and daylight tube-type fluorescent lights. No editing to speak of. (Except to shrink these babies down, because the camera? It's an 18 megapixel monster of clarity. Even on the lowest quality setting these pictures are ginormous.)
It may be that something of my excitement will be lost on you if you didn't get to see the abysmal and then slightly less than abysmal results I was getting from the other cameras I was using. I realize the shots below aren't brilliant photography or anything, but you're gonna need to trust me, the difference is sort of jaw dropping already. I can't wait to see what I'll be able to do in daylight when I actually know how to work the darn thing.