Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Need Camera Help!

So, I posted earlier that I am taking a photo class (surprise Christmas gift from my hubby). I had my first class last Wed night and we had some homework to do before our next class, which is tonight. Well, I have struggled, and failed, miserably. I can't seem to get my camera to do what I want it to do. I trial and error and tweak and still I have yet to get a good shot that I like using the manual setting so I have had to do my assignments in the automatic setting for the most part. Maybe I am just making it more difficult than I am supposed to. Lacey! I would LOVE it if you could give me a little advise! Anything you have time to jot down for me.

My cousin Lacey does photography in Oklahoma and she does such beautiful work. I love her latest post about the start to her 2008 work year. So... help please!


T1shep said...

I can always give you some help. What are you having a hard time doing?

The McKays said...

Hi! LOVE the new header!!

Have you discovered ILP yet??? I have learned more there than ANYWHERE ELSE!! Seriously, you gotta get into it! It's like a 24 hour photography class and it's FREE! It's an online forum for photographers. It is for anyone who is serious about photography, esp if you are interested in photographing children.

You can read and post for free, and later apply for full access for info on starting a business. Just go to or try and start browsing the forums (scroll way down). You have to post an introduction to get started.

You can post pics for feedback or just read feedback on other peoples' work.

As far as manual mode gotta learn it! I learned about 5 months ago and haven't looked back since! I have seen my work improve so much since then too. Believe it or not, it's actually EASIER than using AV mode once you know what the heck you're doing and it allows for way more creativity with light. Look at ILP, then email me and I'll send you a link to an awesome tutorial on shooting in manual mode.

But to get you started, here are a few quick tips:

1) Never let your shutter drop below about 1/100 sec if hand-holding. When chasing a toddler, never allow your shutter to drop below 160.

2) Get a good lens. Kit lenses suck! A 50mm 1.8 is cheap and sharp. Mine rarely leaves my camera!

3) I usually meter off of the person's cheek, or their shirt if they are wearing white, because you don't want to blow it out, but the professional will tell you to meter off a gray card or buy a hand-held (digital) meter.

4) When using a wide f-stop (1.4-3.2), make sure to stay at least three feet from your subject to keep both eyes in focus. You can get closer if you are photographing a still object, to get an artistic look.

5) After you get your settings right, you can leave them alone, as long as your subject doesn't move into different light! This is the beauty of MANUAL MODE! It leaves you free to get creative! :)

That's all I can think of at the moment and it should be enough to get you started. These are all very important lessons that I had to learn the hard way. You'll probably have to learn them the hard way too, because even though I'm telling you, you'll have to practice them to really get it.

And last but not least...Get "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson and read it like 3 or 4 times over about a year. You have to keep reading it to really understand everything. You can't call yourself a photographer until you've read this book!

Good luck!!