Read Your Manual

Look to improve yourself everyday.  The basic fundamentals of a camera are similar across the board.  Cameras have lenses which lets the light in, the light enters through a shutter and hits the sensor(or film), the shutter closes and the photo has been taken.  IPhones, DSLRs, Film Camera, SLR, etc follow these rules.  

Your camera is special. This device is what you use to make your photos.  The camera is just there to help you make your photo.  Understanding your specific camera, inside and out, allows you to spend more time understanding what matters most, telling your story.

I got my first big camera in fall 2014, I spent too many hours watching videos on Youtube about this Nikon d3300 camera.  I knew how to adjust manual settings with one hand, the size/weight of this camera, and I wouldn’t be caught dead with my camera set on “Auto”.  By the time I actually got my hand on the camera, I was excited to go through the menus and learn how to use everything I spent time learning.  

The reason I had a camera was for a high school photography class for beginners.  This class was popular to complete a fine arts credit, but I came in to class with enough technical knowledge to be a teacher’s assistant.  Despite all of my studying, I forgot to fall in love with taking photos.

I had spent all this time understanding the mechanical processes without going out and understanding the personal side of photography.  Working with people was uncomfortable, they distracted me from the camera.  Photography is so much more than the amount of megapixels a camera has.  Storytelling and other intangibles make a photographer better at their craft.  The pursuit for bigger, faster cameras doesn’t get you the shot, the photographer does.

By the time I had finished my first year using a DSLR, I had a lot of photos that lacked story, but were technically sound.  Learning your camera is very important, but just make sure you don’t focus from the story you’re telling to yourself and your audience.  So my advice for getting a camera is to read the menus and how to operate your camera, but to never forget that it’s your job to get the photo.

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