One of the best things I did for myself last year was learn how to shoot my camera in manual. It was one of those things that I always wanted to do, but felt like I didn’t have the time (or brain power) to tackle. Turns out, it wasn’t quite the big deal that I was making it. Isn’t that so often the case?
But I will say, it would have been a lot easier if I had had someone to share some quality resources with me. And that’s exactly why I’m focusing on photography with you this month, I hope you can benefit from my own learning curve!
If you’re looking to uplevel your photography, here are some tips and resources helped me!
Learn from an Expert
The absolute best thing I did was ask a friend of mine who’s a photographer if she would show me how she likes to shoot in manuel. We literally met for about 15 minutes and it eased the learning curve significantly to have an expert tell me the basics in layman’s terms. If you have a friend who’s a photographer, ask them to do the same with you. Not a full training, just a few minutes to simplify the basics.
Read the Manuel
Yup, you heard me. Read the manuel that comes with your camera. You won’t believe how much it does and how much this manuel will teach you. Who woulda thought?! (wink)
There’s an eBook and Skillshare Class that made a huge impact on me, both of which significantly increased my working knowledge of using a DLSR camera.
Fundamentals of DSLR Photography: for just over an hour this class is jam packed full of information. Pausing this class to apply the knowledge and find the settings in my camera was definitely key in getting it to sink in.
Photography Unlocked: I’m going to assume that there are plenty of eBooks out there that cover similar information, but this is the one that found me and it was again, jam packed full of essential knowledge. I loved working through it and how it really broke down every single setting and step for just about any DLSR camera. (And just a heads up, I’m fairly certain it’s always $10.)
I always suggest learning on whatever equipment you have or can afford. I learned all the basics on a Canon Rebel T3i, which was an affordable option that produced great results. Once I felt like my knowledge and work justified it, I moved up to a larger full frame camera, the Canon 6D Mark II and Sigma Art 50mm 1.4
A few things to consider would be whether you want a cropped sensor or full frame camera or not. In short, the most visible difference between full frame and crop sensor is their field of view. The term “crop” implies just exactly that, the smaller sensor’s field of view is a crop of the full frame. Here’s a great article that goes into depth on the subject for further research.
The next thing to consider is what lens you’d like to shoot with. My personal favorite is a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8. This will get you that beautiful bokeh effect that’s so desirable.
Post Editing & Presets
Whether you’re editing photos on your computer or your phone, there are so many amazing resources at your fingertips. Online editors like Aviary and PicMonkey will help you edit from your computer. Mobile apps like VSCO, Photo Editor by Aviary and Afterlight work very well, too. And for the most editing capabilities, you’ll want to invest in a programs like Lightroom or Photoshop.
I’ve also explored presets and after trying sets from VSCO, Archipelago, Local Milk and Mastin Labs I have found that by far my favorites have all come from Pretty Presets.