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Get Me Off Auto!

When I first got into photography, the learning curve was pretty overwhelming and it took me a while to get the confidence to shoot in anything other than the Auto mode.  I really want to stress how important it is to move beyond the Auto mode. Among other things you’ll get:

  • Ability to choose what to focus on
  • Get the blurry creamy backgrounds when you want them
  • Control the use of your flash

These are really important aspects of getting great pictures and you won’t want to miss out on your camera’s capabilities.

My first big step was moving to Program mode. The first thing it did was give me control over when my flash went off. In Program mode, you control your flash. It won’t automatically pop up unless you press the Flash button. You also get to control the power of your Flash so that it doesn’t overwhelm your shot. The next thing Program mode does is it allows our full control over your focal points. You can manually select which focal points to use by moving the arrows around or you can “focus and recompose” your shot. You camera manual will provide more information on to do that exactly. Program mode also has a special feature called Exposure Compensation to allows you to lighten or darken your exposure without having to play around with aperture or shutter speed. There are lots of great features available to you in Program mode and I have to admit that I shot in Program mode about 90% of my time in my first 6 months with my DSLR. These were all taken in Program mode.

 

Ultimately I tried out Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes and had some fun there before moving to full manual mode a couple of years back. Occasionally, I go back to Aperture Priority mode when there’s just too much going on. The beauty of Aperture Priority mode is that you can take beautiful blurry creamy background portraits.

I have to admit, it took lots of reading to get the concepts down and then lots of practicing to figure out all the controls on my camera. I went to lots of great resources on the web and I wanted to share of the best with you to help you reduce our learning curve.
essential_camera_skills

One of the best resources I found and I would  recommend to every mom is Extremely Essential Camera Skills. It’s a terrific resource that can really help you learn how to use your camera. It includes a 89-page PDF and 7 videos all of which you can view on any computer or your iPad. It covers topics like how your camera works, focusing, exposure, lenses, depth of field, and your camera settings. It also includes a field guide which you can print and take with you as a cheat sheet.

You can download this tutorial and go through it at your own pace. It’s presented in plain English and has lots of illustrations and example photos. It literally shaves off years off your learning curve and helps you develop a great relationship with your camera. I promise!

 

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