Archives for category: Photography

I am currently a bride on a budget trying to plan a very personalized wedding.  Since I love crafting and DIY I could not wait to make the save the date cards.  I figured it would be good practice for doing the invitations later.   To start off I knew that I needed a printer.  Since my fiance and I needed a printer anyways it was a good excuse to invest in one that we could use for invitations.  I got some advice and did my own online investigating.

  1. I was looking for something reasonably priced and the cut off point for my budget was $150.
  2. I needed something that could print on a variety of sizes of paper.
  3. I have had awful experience with HP printers and customer service at work so I wanted to stay away from that brand.  Sorry HP!
  4. I wanted something that would print decent photos in case we decided to incorporate photos into our invites or save the dates.

A friend had recommended the HP Office Jet 6000 line.  She had printed her own invitations and found that it worked well for her, she also likes that she could print on 4 x 6″ size paper.  After reading reviews on and we decided to go for the Canon Pixma MG5320 which we picked up at Staples for $80.  So far I have been thrilled with it, the detail is great and it doesn’t leave those pesky stripes on what you print.  I have been feeding cardstock through it and it handles it no problem.  The software that it came with is very easy to use.  I have a Mac and my fiance has a PC and we can

I used the free online printables at  Since we are getting married on a farm, love food, and my fiance’s parents preserve food as a hobby we went with the mason jar design.  I went to the local paper shop ( and got a variety of sizes of cards and envelopes in the colors I liked, writing the size and price on each one in pencil.

Paper selection


Then I printed and ended up printing on 8.5 x 11″ cardstock and trimming to size.  I used the manual tray feed and placed a small x on the upper right hand corner and then fed the same sheet through to print the back side.  I found it was easier and cheaper to print on 8.5 x 11″ and trim it down to 4 x 6″ to get two invite out of each piece of paper.

Trimming to 4 by 6"


So I had the card done then I wanted to line the envelopes because I am crazy and think it looks great!  I got some fancy wrapping paper at Hollanders, similar to this.  I made a pattern outlining the envelope and decreasing a half inch on each side and to conserve paper the insert stops just below what is visible.

Envelope Insert


I used a bone folder to place the crease.  This was tricky and it took me a couple tries to get the hang of it and watching some youtube videos helped.  I used Elmer’s sticky dots to adhere the insert to envelope.



Then I practiced my writing, drew some pencil lines, penciled the address and wrote over it with marker, and then erased the pencil with the best eraser ever.  Here’s some pics of the final product:





Back Final


All I have to do is pick out some cute stamps and send them on their way.


Here is a cost breakdown for about 40:

While I think the cost is quite reasonable these were pretty labor intensive.  So unless you really enjoy this stuff you might want to spend more for less work.



For school/work I wanted to get a nice DSLR camera.  What did I want in a camera?

  • Something that took great detail/close up shots.  I knew that I would need a macro lens and ring flash, as these are what is most commonly used in my field.
  • Something that would be under $1000 since I am a poor grad student.
  • A versatile camera that could be used to take snapshots.
  • Easy to learn.

After talking to some instructors and some fellow students I narrowed it down to a few different options.

  1. Canon Digital Rebel xSi
  2. Canon EOS Rebel T1i
  3. Nikon d60

What I ended up getting was the Canon EOS Rebel T1i in a kit from Costco.  Here is what my kit included:

Features and Benefits:

  • Effective Pixels: 15.1 -megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • LCD Monitor: 3.0″ TFT color LCD; 920,000 dot color monitor
  • Top Shooting Rate: Up to 3.4 frames per second
  • Live View: Enhanced Live View shooting includes face detection mode
  • HD Video: Full HD video capture at 1920×1080 resolution with HDMI output
  • Focus Area/Sensors: 9 AF points (Cross-type)
  • ISO Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 3200 in 1 step increments
  • Focusing Modes: Auto, One-Shot AF, Predictive Al Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual Focusing (MF)
  • Metering Modes: 35-zone TTL full-aperture
  • Power Source: Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • Images Per Battery Charge: Up to 500
  • Dimensions: 5.1” x 3.8” x 2.4” (W x H x D)
  • Weight: Approx. 1.1 lbs.
  • Storage Media: SD/SDHC

What’s Included:

  • Canon Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera Body
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS Lens
  • Canon Rebel Gadget Bag
  • 4GB SD Card
  • Mini HDMI Cable
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • AV Cable
  • USB Interface Cable
  • Wide Strap
  • EOS Digital Solution Disk
  • EOS Rebel T1i Guide with Rick Sammon DVD
  • “Great Photography is Easy” Booklet

To me this seemed like a pretty good deal and I knew from previous experience if I had any problems Costco customer service would help me out.  I also ended up purchasing a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Digital SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLR Cameras and a Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Ring Flash for Canon SLR Cameras.

What I have learned since getting all this equipment is that photography is not easy!  Even when you have the fancy equipment.  So I recently joined a photography group in my town and went to my first meeting; I learned about the exposure triangle and then I came home and practiced some shots.  The guys in the group were great and did not make fun of all my newbie questions.  At this point I want to become proficient in using the different modes on my camera and capturing what my eye sees.  After that I can start focusing on the “pretty” shots.

Taken in aperture priority mode, no flash, EFS60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Shutter 1/25

Aperture f/8.0

ISO 400