How to Use the Manual Features on Your Camera (and love it!)

How are your new year’s resolutions coming? Did you make any? I did! Some are going pretty well, and others (yes, I see you, ukulele) aren’t as much. One of my big goals for the year was to improve my photography skills. I love taking pictures and documenting our life, and don’t want to look back on years and years of cell phone shots (even though my phone’s camera is great and I love Instagram just as much as the next girl!).

In 2014, I purchased an older DSLR from a photographer who was upgrading her equipment, and I was determined not to haul it around and only shoot on Auto.

So I did what any wise person would do–I asked google for help. I read article after article after article, and watched severalyoutube videos, and I was still flummoxed. Aperture? F-stop? ISO? So many numbers to coordinate! So many rules to memorize! It all seemed like a logic puzzle I could only solve on accident.

With our trip to Italy coming up, I decided to look for a photography class. I wanted to have some great pictures of our trip, and not spend all my time guessing at the settings on my camera.

Enter Shoot Fly Shoot–photography classes for the visual learner. They break everything down into short video segments, presented one topic at a time. Their Photography 101 class is well paced, and covers Exposure, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Metering, as well as  techniques for photographing different scenarios (people, products, landscape, etc).

Some things I learned:

1. How to make the background blurry and the foreground in focus. It’s an aperture thing (lower your aperture!).

2. You can almost always set your aperture and your ISO before you start shooting. Almost always. This takes so much of the guess-work out, and was my biggest takeaway from the class.

3. Sometimes, it’s an equipment issue. Now, I know what my lenses are capable (and not capable) of.

Am I an expert? Definitely not. Am I having a great time with my camera and seeing improvement in my photos? Absolutely. I loved their Photography 101 so much I bought Photography 102 and can’t wait to get started.

If you have a DSLR camera, are tired of shooting on auto, and you want to learn how to use the Manual functions, this class is for you. For the purchase price, you get a lifetime membership. You can watch each segment at your own pace (total, the class is about 3 hours), and come back again and again if you need to. For the rest of all time.

Do you have a DSLR? Any tips for taking better photos?

Disclosure: there are affiliate links in this post, so I will get small kickback if you decide to purchase a class through my links. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, and all opinions are my own.

4 thoughts on “How to Use the Manual Features on Your Camera (and love it!)

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