Katie Bower: Guest Post

I’m freakin out. Katie Bower in the houssssseeeeee. Yes. Katie said that she would share a past post with my readers. I know, right, completely and totally nuts. I am so thrilled that Katie is sharing here at Cleverly Inspired today. If you haven’t been to Katie’s blog the Bower Power blog…you are really missing out. She has a way of making you feel like you could walk in her home, pull up a comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee…and chat the day away. She is completely hilarious. I adore her and I know you will too…if you haven’t “met” her already. She has mad photography skills…along with decorating, remodeling, and thrifty ideas. Again Katie, thank you…you are one of the sweetest bloggers out there…and I thank you for that :)


The Bower Power Blog


Here is Katie’s post from a few months back where she talks about her love for the 85mm lens. This lens is next on my list to buy ;) Thanks again Katie for sharing here today :)


For Christmas, Jer surprised me with a new lens. It is the 85 mm lens and I was literally petting it like Ceelo does with his pimp cat. yeah. I said that. So I bribed kindly asked Will to come out one particularly sunny afternoon for me to give it a whirl. I’ll explain this in layman’s terms (so all you professionals chime in if you have something else to add)… I have a DLSR – which means I have a camera that I can switch out the lenses on. Not a point n shoot. I can control pretty much everything manually. Specifically I have a Mark II – which I call Markie Mark…sometimes Wahlberg :) This lens is a prime lens. Prime lenses are ones you can NOT zoom in or out. It’s fixed at a certain focal length…basically if I want to zoom in on Will, I gotta move my feet forward. BUT the great thing about prime lenses is that they are typically very sharp.

So the conditions here were full sun…middle of the day type shadows… and my subject was moving…a lot… I wanted to test out the lens for portraits (which generally move less than a toddler who is a little too excited to get outta the house and throw sticks)…so under my conditions I went with an ISO of 400. I set to AV (which means that I set the ISO and the aperture and the camera spits out the shutter speed for proper exposure) – that way I can make sure Will isn’t putting harmful fungus into his mouth while I check my settings… I tend to do that when shooting kids…use AV. It helps especially if you are responsible for their safety (like a toppling baby who may not catch themselves if they are still learning to sit up by themselves) or for when you are alone in the snake-infested woods behind our house :) Okay – so based on my very limited knowledge of prime lenses (I have a nifty fifty – great prime lens for the price & a 50mm 1.4 – sharp sharp lens that I love), this one was a little more tricky for me. First – it’s 85mm…which means that I have to stand like 6 feet away to get this shot. And to me, that’s far away when dealing with a toddler who I generally like to be within grabbing distance of…especially when in nature. Hello! I mentioned the snakes! And I found it a little tricky to get it to ‘grab’ more depth in focus. I had it set to f/4.0 which would normally get his lips, eyes and to his ears in focus with my normal lens…but with this lens, I probably need to play more to find that sweet spot of getting just that right focal point. I found it especially sharp all the way back to this full length shot –

which is nice because it would remind me to take more full-length portraits vs. all close ups.


BUT when it got too far away – not my favorite. I think it just proves that it really goes by it’s reputation of being a portrait lens.

There were some moments when literally it was really easy and it captured the sharpness perfectly… I loved it especially with back lighting – which I struggle with…so this encouraged me. Of course, we had some shadow issues with the full sun…so it was a challenge to get far enough away from Will and still be able to manipulate him into being in shadows. Imagine me saying – HEY Go get that stick over there! a million times…and then running away and running back to show him which stick and then running away to get the shot again. It was a workout.

But you know that sweet blurred background that 50mm delivers – yeah…to me, it’s even more of a soft blur with the 85mm when you do closeups. It’s purty. Overall – I love it. It’s gonna be great to use for outdoor shoots with more manageable subjects…like senior photos or maternity pictures. I don’t think it would work for my newborn shoots – just simply because most of the times I work indoors for those. And handling a toddler alone and running back far enough to get the shot didn’t make it ideal for me for Will’s photos. I think in the end, the really sweet spot for it will be waist up portraits and closeup shots because the sharpness when set up correctly is AMAZING. Okay – so there you have it – one little gal’s review on the lens. Anyone else wanna chime in? p.s. For all of you starting out, I highly recommend beginner DSLRs like the Canon Rebel (Xsi or Tsi) and READING YOUR MANUAL. Also, Nifty Fifty would be hands down my recommendation for work beyond your kit lens…

More of Katie can be found here…The Bower Power Blog

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog Cleverlyinspired.com she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. She is also a member of the True Value Blog Squad & Martha’s Circle of trusted bloggers.
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4 thoughts on “Katie Bower: Guest Post

  1. Susan M Jensen

    Very handsome you prodigy is. Love the outdoor scenes. I know nothing and at my age I guess I can learn a little more of do’s & donts. I will check in again for sure.Katie be proud of your little man & more pictures.

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