Make use of your fancy camera

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich, Photography 1 Comment

IMG_0907-1024x576There are so many folks out there with Digital SLR’s, new mirror-less SLR style cameras, and just some pretty awesome point and shoots.  Bottom line, many folks have super fancy cameras that they just don’t use.  They unbox the camera, set it to A (for Auto) and begin firing away.  The rest of the buttons, dials, knobs, and menus?  Totally ignored.

So, why get that fancy camera in the first place?

When most folks buy that new fancy camera, they have it in their head that they will learn more about it.  Unfortunately more often than not, that camera gets put away within the first few days of ownership, and it doesn’t really come out again until a special trip, or a fun event.  Then the mad scramble to make sure batteries are charged, instructions are still with it, and a memory card is in it occurs.  And when it comes down to using it?

That fancy camera gets set to auto.

There are many resources out there to help folks understand their new fancy camera, but more often than not people don’t avail themselves of those sources.  Over at Living In Tin I posted a great article on exposure basics that I’ve shared with many folks who are learning about their new cameras.  Sadly, many of those people never even gave the article a read through (I can track that you know).  We’ve also got an awesome series on Lightroom as well, and a few videos on quick edits with Lightroom.  And if you cruise over to Scott Kelby’s site you will find so many videos on using your camera and editing your images…….

Even with so many resources out there, many people stick to auto.  And that’s a shame.  Somewhere along the way they wanted to do more with their camera than just have it sub in for the iPhone.  But digital photography is actually as intricate as film photography.  Aperture, shutter speed, F/Stop, ISO (film speed) all still exist in the digital world, and the moment you head away from “auto” a little more work is involved.

My suggestion?  If you got a fancy new camera you did it for a reason.  You want to take better images.  Maybe you’ve secretly wanted to be a photographer for years.  You made the investment, spend a little time learning about it.  You weren’t good at your job at first, you had to learn.  None of us were born cyclists, we all had training wheels at some point.  And high end digital cameras are complex with a lot of stuff on them….take you time, learn a little with every shoot, and keep that camera with you and off of “auto” mode!

This post was inspired by a person we recently worked with.  A brand new high end Nikon, complete with some pretty expensive lenses.  And as we worked together on a project I was asked, “Maybe could you show me how to use my camera?”  ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, F/Stops……all concepts were not only intimidating, but downright scary!  Fortunately we pointed this person to several great books and tutorials, and hopefully they’ll check them out!

Comments 1

  1. This post is timely, for me. I just received my newest camper, a Pentax K3ii. I use auto on a lot of shots, but I also use some of the other settings. I really need to take the time and take myself “back to school” to relearn the basics and apply what I used to know from film to my DSLR — I actually had 2 semesters of photography at our local university back in the late 80s.

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