EDIT: Sorry about the crazy long post! Hi all! Let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Aaron and I'm a total newbie when it comes to photography. I've had the itch to get into photography as a hobby for at least a year, and I finally decided to act upon it this week. I just received my brand new Canon Rebel XTi w/kit lens earlier this week. As one might expect, I've got a few questions: 1.) I need a solution for the neck strap. I find the stock strap adequately comfortable, but I need an easier way to put it on/take it off. As it stands, it's a pain in the butt to do either. I like the strap, but I don't want it on there all the time. Any solutions out there to this? I'd prefer a solution that simply modifies the existing strap, as I really do like it. 2.) Gotta find a solution to carry this thing around. I don't plan on going crazy with lens. Heck, I had a hard enough time justifying this $750 purchase to my wife--I can only imagine trying to explain I need another $200-400. My point is, I don't need anything with a ton of room. I just need something that's going to provide adequate protection, but is relatively compact. And I'd prefer something that doesn't look goofy. Style would be a plus. 3.) Speaking of lens, I do plan on getting one more. I'm going to pick up the Canon f/1.8 50(55?)mm lens to get some cool DoF shots going on. Any thoughts on this lens? It's so cheap compared to most, I figure it would be crazy to NOT have it. 4.) I've picked up the book "Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D Digital Field Guide". So far, it's been OK. It's nice that it explains things in respect to my specific camera, but it doesn't seem to explain the photography basics as clear as I'd like. I need something that explains the basics to me very clearly. I hear the book [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/032147404X/ref=wl_it_dp/102-7366660-8375313?ie=UTF8&coliid=IV4JD07PKEKL0&colid=1FJLD7N4EAPL1"]"The Digital Photography Book"[/ame] is pretty good. I hear [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817463003/ref=wl_it_dp/102-7366660-8375313?ie=UTF8&coliid=IQEF8HVFS8RLG&colid=1FJLD7N4EAPL1"]"Understanding Exposure"[/ame] is pretty good as well. Any thoughts on either of these? 5.) Any Mac users out there? If so, surely there must be some Aperture users out there too. I can get a pretty good deal on it through an educational discount (despite graduating college 2 years ago--go figure). Is Aperture overkill for your average amateur photographer? Would it (or should it) replace iPhoto? I suppose that's it for now. Any other thoughts/advice are welcome. My Mom (who is a K-5 teacher at a private school) gave allowed me to take some pics of their Kindergarten and 8th grade graduation last night. I pretty much stayed in Full Auto the whole time unfortunately, although I did try several times to go into a Creative Zone mode. I wasn't getting results that I was happy with, so I just left it on full auto. I'd like to get some suggestions on how I could have made a few of these shots better. Would this go into the Critique forum? Thanks all, I look forward to checking back.