We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this public service announcement:
Your camera is not scary.
I have always loved my cozy comfort zones. When taking violin lessons, I almost refused to practice playing in third position. I wasn’t used to it. It didn’t come naturally. It sounded terrible when I practiced! So you know what happened? I never got any better at playing the violin. I plateaued at mediocre.
My approach to photography was no different when I got my first DSLR. I turned that sucker to Auto and Auto Focus, and left it there. Surely this piece of machinery knows more than I do about its optimal settings. About six months in, I switched to Aperture Priority, but my photography skills didn’t really improve that much because I still didn’t know what I was doing. I hate trying things and failing. If I can’t do something after a couple of tries, I tend to give up. Sad, but true!
Fast forward to this month (over a year and half after getting my camera). I decided I was going to figure this out, sucky pictures be darned! I changed my shutter speed! I changed my ISO! I switched to scary Manual focus! You know what happened? My focus got sharper, and I can now take pictures indoors…without a flash!
Want to see my first ISO experiment? (Disclaimer: I wasn’t planning on sharing these when I took them. They’re not good photos. I was just experimenting with my ISO settings.)
I was stoked when I saw that I could take pictures indoors if I really wanted to. Learning things like this has improved my photography, and caused me to enjoy it a lot more than I did shooting full Auto.
I realize that most of you are probably quite comfortable with your cameras, and are throwing a big, fat, “DUH!” at me right now. I know. I’m slow. I just wanted to share my experience in making myself learn these settings just in case there are any other comfort zone weirdos out there like myself. It’s not scary! You will probably take several bad pictures for a while, and then you’ll be all like, “Daaaaang. Look at my awesome pictures!”
Join us next week for lessons in how to stop being so cocky about your danged pictures. Nobody cares.