Sunday I spent the entire day tackling a very big item on my 2013 “to-do” list: learning how to use my DSLR camera in manual mode. For five years, I’ve owned a good camera that I have no idea how to shoot. I’ve only shot in auto mode, and honestly have paid very little attention to composition and lighting. It turns out there is SO much I didn’t know. Even after this intensive workshop, I have just the most rudimentary knowledge of my camera’s potential, but I understand so much more about what I need to practice and what lenses might work best for my photo needs.
Here are a few photos I took toward the end of the workshop. We had the pleasure of shooting a professional model, and it was pretty crazy to see how this sweet young girl (not even 18 yet!) knew where to find the best light and which angles worked with her features. She was a true pro, having modeled since age three. In a few months, she is moving to Paris to pursue full-time modeling work, and she has already opened shows at Paris Fashion Week. I tried not to be too jealous!
I shot these about an hour before sunset with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens with a manual adjust (not ideal, as I soon learned after having to re-focus for every single photo). We were experimenting with light coming from different angles and sources. These are untouched (and I might add, the model had not a speck of make up on her face!). The hardest part was adjusting exposure and working on composition. Ed, who ran the workshop, really pushed us to pay attention to background, foreground, and lines, which is so much tougher than it sounds. There is so much room for improvement in these pictures, but I’m awfully proud of how much better they are than anything I’ve ever taken before.
If you live in the San Diego area, I highly recommend Atrero Photography. Ed and Karen were so sweet and funny and though I was possibly the most inexperienced of the people in my class, I never felt uncomfortable asking any of my dozens of idiotic questions. I’m so happy I invested in this class. J is understandably nervous now that he’s seen my lens wish list, though!
I was reminded, taking the class, of how empowering it is to learn something new. I was so afraid of my camera before this. The settings and even the terms associated with it were just so foreign to me that it felt overwhelming. But I am so excited to do the work now: to seek out good light, to work on composition, to force my kids to sit still long enough for me to change my aperture and ISO. I can’t wait to share my homework here with all of you!