13 March, 2008

Shooting in Automatic.

My post on the value of shooting in Auto went up today on DPS. I knew I was going out on a limb with a submission of this nature. Before I give you that link I'd like to elaborate on my feelings about Automatic, and it's place along the photography LEARNING CURVE.

First let me tell you all the fantastic reasons to shoot manually. They all boil down to CONTROL!! Once I had my artistic style down pat (though I have to mention that it is constantly evolving and I LOVE THAT), I was thrilled to jump into shooting in manual and finding the control to create EXACTLY what I saw in my mind's eye!

  • I want to be in charge of depth of field!
  • I want to choose what I'm exposing for.
  • I hate shooting with the flash. . . I have to say that even when I was shooting in Auto with my starter camera (Nikon d70s) I would hold down the flash when it popped up. . . I know, probably SO bad for my camera. You can't do that with my mother-in-law's Canon 20d. I tried and the camera got really angry with me. Bottom line is that you can turn off the flash in manual.
  • I love accuracy. Uploading and NOT NEEDING TO EDIT??? HEAVEN!
BUT I DO NOT shoot in Manual simply to satisfy my ego. I said it in the article and I'll say it again here, a good image is a good image is a good image. Period. I don't care if you shot it in Auto, Manual or with a stinkin' disposable camera for Pete's sake.

I do shoot primarily in Manual and occasionally AP, but Time was I didn't. Time was I was VERY discouraged when I thus ventured. Time was I couldn't straddle the artist and the perfectionist in me. I wanted to do everything just "right", but when I tried to shoot manually etc, I just didn't have the frame of reference to understand why I wasn't successful. I remember those feelings so vividly. I remember asking other photographers for help and being brushed off. I remember visiting sites like DPS etc and just feeling confused, overwhelmed and tremendously discouraged. I had loved photography so much in the beginning when I didn't have any concept of how much I didn't know, but at this point it was just becoming discouraging. I no longer felt inspired and excited. In fact, I wanted to quit. THANKFULLY, I didn't. Instead, I blew it all off and just let myself do what worked. And at that time in my career, that meant I was shooting in Automatic (for you that could mean millions of different things-among which shooting in Auto may not be a part, fine. . . translate the concept accordingly).

When reading this article it is important to understand DPS has a broad range of readers, from those just dappling in photography to those who shoot portraits, weddings and events for pay. I think that there is sufficient attention being paid to the advanced photographer, and often not an adequate amount being paid to the beginner. I wanted to offer encouragement to those who are often forgotten.

There is artistic freedom to be found in not being so hard on yourself. Don't suck the fun out of photography by thinking that there is a right and wrong way to create wonderful images. Do what works for you. That will constantly evolve. You'll constantly increase in knowledge and ability and I'm excited to watch your transformation. . . and continue on with my own! Now, you can check out the article here.


shelly said...

AMEN!!! By the way, I LOVE the article -- and all the comments:) Your writing amazes me.

Anonymous said...

i loved your article. i am a beginner myself and it's very inspiring! often times i find myself feeling bad for shooting in auto, and after reading your article i feel better about myself. and you're right, "a good image is a good image is a good image. Period."

Widiger Family said...

I also loved your article, and I'll try doing that next time. I'm an amateur but would like to go professional hopefully before the end of next year. I love your work and so lucky about living in hawaii. My hubby and I used to go to school with you guys at BYUH (I was in your hubby's classes, and my hubby knows your hubby too). Anyways, love everything you do and hope to learn more from you. You are so willing to help. Are you guys going to adopt? (if it's not a secret)

John Foz said...

I have a D80 and I am getting comfortable with the other modes. You mention that you use the A mode the most, I'm curious as to why. By the way, excellent blog post, and the energy in your shots is amazing. My son Jack and Cardon would probably have an excellent time raising all types of hell.

Jennifer Rinaldi said...

I loved your article on DPS. I was very happy that someone said it! I felt the same way. I've had my D80 for under a year and I've been teaching myself every step of the way. AUTO or Program modes should not be TABOO. It's all about artictic expression through you photographs. :)

Thanks for the wonderful article.

Kelli Eudis said...

Seriously you are too good- ALWAYS so insightful! Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. The article was probably one of the best I have read so far.

Fingers To Toes Photography said...

Awesome - I was soo excited to read this article and "find" your blog - I just (about 3 weeks ago) got a D80 - It's already got over 1,000 pictures on it! LOL It's going to wear out.

I actually cheat sometimes, using Auto, to "see" what it's "exposure" would be - then switch over to auto, and mess with the settings from the base I got from Auto! I know kinda silly but I move the F one stop down and the shutter one stop up - to try different things.

Now to learn to shoot indoors that's my challenge!

Thank you soo much for not making me feel "stupid" or less than a photographer, just because I "cheat" sometimes - learning Photography is harder than I thought...

Gaby said...

Hello Natalie,
You don't know me, but I'm reading your blog, since your first post on dps about the human side of photography. I think you are great, your photos are excellent and don't mind about persons who just say things, in order to be "against the wind".
Keep up the good work!


kaley said...

Thank you so much for this post! I just found your blog through DPS - the article you wrote has given me so much hope. I am very new to photography, and it is starting to be so frusterating because I can't seem to get the settings right! I think I will take your advice and stay in Auto for a while and not worry about the rest until I am more comfortable. Thank you!