I love photography. I love pictures. I love looking at them. I love being in them. I love taking them. However, with the way I’ve been treating my camera, you’d never know it. While I am an avid Instagrammer, I have been neglecting my DSLR. My camera body is pristine from lack of use. My Lightroom is laughably outdated. I need to make a change beyond toting my camera around with me like another member of the family. I need to examine what it is that I love about photography, how I got here and why I want to keep taking pictures. Some introspection was in order.
The photography blog, Click It Up a Notch, has a series of photographer interviews that I read voraciously. The more I read, the more my mind sparked and fired, ideas pinging around faster than I could grab them. If reading about other photographers created such a response, what would happen if I posed those same questions* to myself? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to find out.
*photographer interview questions courtesy of Courtney Slazinik of Click It Up a Notch.
What is the best advice you received so far on your photography journey?
Given my previous work as a stock model, I’ve been fortunate enough to make friends with some very talented photographers. As I transitioned from one side of the lens to the other, being able to ask questions about lighting, angles, and lenses has been invaluable. The one piece of information that trumps all, however, has been this:
Manual, manual, manual.
You have to shoot in manual.
No matter how daunting it may seem, the only way to be comfortable and confident behind the lens is to shoot in manual. When you choose to shoot in other settings, the camera makes the decision for you. Whatever image appears on the LCD screen is was taken by the camera. When you shoot manual, when you select the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO, you make the decisions. The image that is captured is truly your own.
Shooting in manual always made my stomach roil, especially when I was first starting out. I didn’t trust myself enough to make the right choices in order to get the best image. The more opportunities I had to shoot, the more opportunities I had to hone my skills. In between sessions with clients, I would snap pictures of my kids, my yard, whatever I could, in to test myself. I already trusted myself when it came to setting up the shot. I had to develop that same trust in capturing it. Sometimes I nailed it. Sometimes, not so much. I kept at it, though, until it started to become second nature.
I still get butterflied when I shoot in manual, but it’s now because I’m excited about how far I’ve come.