A friend of mine recently asked me about how to go from using Auto Focus to Manual Focus on their Canon, in order to take better photos. Honestly.. I hardly ever shoot in Manual Focus. The camera can focus much faster and more accurately than my hands and old eyes can do. However, if you want to take better photos… more than just “snapshot” photos – I think it’s critical to understand the key relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. It has to be such an ingrained part of what they do, that they don’t even think about it as they’re shooting. This allows the photographer to focus more on where the light is coming from, how it will impact the image, how they’re composing the shot, what might be in the background, etc.
There are a number of things available on these cameras that are important to understand – light metering modes, focus modes, color/temperature settings, image quality/RAW settings, etc… I strongly suggest that anyone who may be looking to improve their photos beyond just ‘snapshot’ photos look into workshops, classes, groups, etc that are targeted towards “beginners”.. and if you’ve got a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, find a class for beginner DSLR users.. Just because you have a camera that cost $1000.00 or more, doesn’t mean you’re a photographer, and doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to go right out and take amazing images.
I love the fact that I’m still learning how to use my camera, play with lighting techniques, metering functions, etc… there’s definitely a progressive learning curve with these cameras we have.. but I think the key part is learning about the relationship between Aperture (f-stop), Shutter speed, and ISO.