Friday, July 20, 2012

Shooting in manual!

A month ago, I took a little photography course to learn more about my Canon DSLR, which is now almost 3 years old.  I bought a Groupon for this course back in January, and forgot about it, until I saw another offer for a similar photography course in June and  it sparked my memory that I had a Groupon that was about to expire.  I went to the course thinking that I didn't want to just waste the $40, and that at the very least I would probably learn something.

Well I did learn something - I came away with a wealth of new information.

This course was only a couple of hours, but it covered the basics for learning some important details about a DSLR camera, and it gave me the primary know how to shoot in manual if I ever wanted to.

Before taking the course, I honestly thought, what's the big deal about manual shooting. Why would someone waste their time getting the manual settings in place when you have one button called 'automatic' that would do it for you.  My philosophy in short was... 'when in doubt, use automatic'.

After the taking course, I am definitely a believer in figuring out the manual settings. With a little education, your pictures can go from okay to AMAZING. Natural lighting is everything, and if you have it, it's really a shame to be using a DSLR camera in automatic.

Of course, this educational seminar didn't just talk about manual settings, it actually explained many other functions of my camera that I had no idea even existed, or other automatic settings that I was not taking full advantage to improve my photos.

After the course was over and I had a few days to digest the info, we spent close to a week at the cottage and I thought it was the perfect time to try my hand at manual.  I experimented, and I learned, and I think I grew a little bit as a Mommy photographer. Yes there were four or five shots at the beginning of every set that were dark or overexposed, or noisy. But then came the next four or five that were a bit better, and better, and better. The single most important thing I probably noticed is that your child doesn't have to look at the camera and say 'cheese' to get an awesome shot. If you shoot in manual, in natural light, the possibilities are endless for those amazing candid shots.  Of course, I still love to get my boys looking at me in their happy faces, but I am more drawn to the candid shots now that I know the basic principles of manual shooting.

Since the course, if I have a minute to configure my manual settings, I do try to shoot in manual as much as I can. Of course, in a pinch, I still flip the camera to automatic for fear that I will miss that special moment with the boys, but I am getting quicker all the time.

I do have a new appreciate for the fees that photographers charge. If they are shooting in manual in different scenes and composing different shots for you and your family, they are earning every penny, as they have to put their minds to work every time that shutter clicks.

Thanks to Christine Tripp Photography for offering a Groupon for this course, I am interested in taking her level two course in the fall hopefully - but for now, I will just try to master the basics and enjoy being behind the lens to capture our family memories.

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