Two things happened this week that forced me to pick up my son's professional DSL camera and flip it to "manual." Something I have needed to do from day one, but just couldn't bring myself to do...messing with ISO and AF and Fsomethingoranother...just so out of my comfort zone.
I pretty much just use the "point and shoot" feature and my pictures are often "lacking." Since I am more about sharing "the process" than I am the "pretty" I have never taken the time to learn how to take awesome "professional looking" photos of all my projects.
First, I received an email from another blog asking me to share my tutorial on refinishing a dining room table. One of the things they asked for was "amazing images" of the table, both before and after. Um...okay...probably not going to happen with my current photography abilities. I love sharing, but I have seen other blog photographs and they are amazing. And this table has a lot of carving and detail that I just can't capture well with my "point and shoot" abilities.
Second, I was trapped for an entire day in my house. My phone was dead, the dog ate the charger cord, the stupid Mophie thing wasn't working and my son had to take my truck because his car wouldn't start. It's not like I haven't had entire days when I was home ignoring the phone...I just always had the OPTION to leave if I wanted...and I could call for help if I fell and broke a hip or something! Not this day. This day I was stuck with no way to leave and no way to call anyone.
Soooo, it was a good day to pick up the camera and start playing with the settings! I have to say, I did manage to take a few picture inside that were much better than what I had before.
One thing I did learn was I desperately needed a tripod. When you start taking pictures inside without a flash, you have to have your camera very still...not something I am going to be able to do without help. I knew Matt had a tripod, I just had no idea where it was...and of course I couldn't call him, or drive to the store and get one.
I do feel a little better now about flipping over to "manual" mode. And the great thing about digital cameras...you can instantly delete anything that looks bad and take another shot! This, of course, assumes you can see well enough to judge whether a picture is going to look good on a computer screen verses a 3" display on the back of the camera. Truth be told I thought I was doing pretty good until I loaded them on the computer and could see how blurry many were!
Once I set the camera on a tripod, the pictures turned out a bit better!
I was able to get several really pretty shots of my tree...day and night time! Since I am "sharing" my tree, I will tell you a little about it...I don't add a lot to my 9' pre-lit tree...just colored lights and pearl garland. The real show stoppers are the ornaments. Every year, since my oldest daughter was a baby, my mother has bought each of my children 2-3 beautiful, special ornaments. Four kids and thirty three years later, my tree is bursting with heirloom ornaments! It is indeed beautiful!!
I still have NO idea what I am doing but I know with more time and experience I can do better. I wish I could tell you exactly what settings I used, but um...no. I just know I changed the exposure, shutter speed and white balance A LOT! Matt tried to explain everything to me, but him teaching me how to use a camera is a lot like me trying to teach him to flyfish. Probably should let someone else do that.
My point...take your digital camera OFF auto, turn the flash off, set it on a tripod or stack of books and start playing with all the settings...AF, ISO, white balance....again, the great thing about digital is the ability to delete pictures you don't like! I bet I took 30 pictures of my tree to get just a few I like!
Maybe after the holidays I will take a REAL photography class and actually learn what all those buttons and dials mean.
But again, there is hope! Hope is good!