Thursday, January 12, 2012

Photography 01

That's right, photography 01, because I still don't know enough about photography for it to be 101.  I have been playing with the manual, and even chatted online with the live tech support. I don't suggest you do that unless you have the manual in front of you (in which case why do you need tech support?) or you know what all the knobs and whistles are called.  I don't know what he had me doing, but it was completely different than what the manual told me.
Another tip, write down what the settings were before you change them. I didn't think to do that and had a moment of panic when after diddling with the settings all my photos came out black!
I still have a lot to learn, but I thought I would share what I have learned so far.
I can change the settings.
That is huge. Maybe not for those of you who are brave and confident, but for a technophobe who never met a manual that inspired more than a glance as she tossed it in a drawer somewhere, it's like mankind's first step on the moon. Seriously.
So here it is, my first foray into settings.  As luck would have it, my day off was met with rain and clouds. Dreary is really what I needed and it's what I got. So I shoved the table next to a north facing window and got busy. Lemon cookies were the subject, and I plan to reward my brave foray into photography with a few cookies and some coffee as soon as this post is done! This first shot was taken with the Auto setting. It's pretty dark, but I think that even with the settings changed in the following photos, they were all still dark enough that they needed editing. I didn't edit until the end so you could compare the settings untouched.
 This next photo was taken in manual mode with an iso of 400. Clearly, automatic does a pretty good job of adjusting for light on it's own.
 The iso was bumped up to 800 on this photo and you can clearly see the difference. Although, to me, the photo taken on Auto still looks a bit brighter. Don't you think?
 And on this photo I bumped the iso all the way to 1600.  I can see a difference but not as much as I thought there would be.
And finally, this is the iso 1600 photo after brightening it up in editing. I can see that the higher number does make it a bit grainier.
 This is the iso 400 photo after editing to make it brighter.  I like it better. It's clearer, the colors are more true. I clearly still have a lot to learn.  But it is these side by side comparisons that help me see the differences in the settings.  There are so many things to change and so many combinations! White balance, focus, I even found a setting to make the photos more vivid, I may try that next. 
The most important thing is, I have finally taken a step toward learning more about my camera and how it works. Will I still shoot on Auto a lot? probably. I think it does a fine job in good light. Most of the photos we post were shot on auto right? And I have seen some beautiful photos. But for when the conditions aren't great, winter, rainy days, dark rooms, I want to be able to compensate and still post a gorgeous picture. Anyone else out there pulling out the manual for the first time? Lets learn together! I have pinned some tutorials on a Photography board in pinterest. I'll be looking for tips and tricks online and occasionally posting what I find.  I hope it's an encouragement for someone else who is afraid of the settings to step out and try something too! From one amateur to another, maybe we can figure this out:>)


  1. I have not ventured away from the automatic button. I sometimes use art programs to lighten or whatever.
    I'm scared no doubt!

    Your cookies look wonderful! I love the ribbon :) Last pic is the best.

  2. I have played for a few months now. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes not. Good tip about writing down the settings!

    I want those lemon cookies.

  3. The 'sunset' setting on my camera gave me a lovely photo last weekend of the sun setting over the sea, my son in law showed me, but I am afraid my eyes glazed over once he started talking figures when I was taking photo's of the little grandchildren at the christmas tree and yet again another setting. Me and manuals do not mix I am afraid. Unless it states, 1 press A 2 press B and so on ;-)

  4. Sorry forgot to say, lovely photographs.

  5. It is just trial and error sometimes isn't it! But you are doing so well...and I love what you are doing with your camera!

  6. Sorry, I'm new here... what kind of camera? The photos are lovely.

  7. I really like the first photo. It feels as if the lemons and cookies are right there to touch. Good job! I have yet to read my manual and take terrible pictures. Maybe I should follow your advice!

  8. I liked the last photo best, but I know nothing about photography. However I'd covet your lemon cookie recipe!

  9. I admire you for trying to learn all about the setting on your camera. I for one am not a photograher I just take photos and hope they turn out. I like all the photos you took. Have a blessed evening.

  10. Great post, my friend! I get nervous when I move my camera off of Auto but I try it often and always go running back! I need to get my manual out - again - and play around with all of the settings. One at a time! Love the last photo.

  11. You are so much braver than I am! I'm afraid to change my settings.

  12. What did you use to brighten the last pic with the 400? Setting.

  13. I've been taking photos for years..mostly point and shoot.
    Mostly, I take indoor photos with the auto setting because they turn out so much brighter. And then I do just a bit of editing...either auto contrast or sharpen. But I want to be able to do the bokeh photos. Those are my favorite.

  14. ahhhhh, I think you are doing a fine job.
    I have only a couple of point and shoots so no settings, really, to worry about. I sure have a GOOD camera on my WANT LIST...but don't see it happening.
    And, now...I am starved for lemon cookies. :))

  15. I can so realte to you and the issue with manuels...:)
    I think the last photo is wonderful!!!! I still have a all auto camera that you can change setting son, but I so like the auto mode....I am just leaving it for now...I feel too overwhelmed with it being a new year and all I want to get is just going to have to wait. But I will be checking back for future help like this post! :) Sandy

  16. I'll be looking for more tips! I haven't read my manual, but need to. :D I mainly use the auto setting. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  17. I know almost nothing about photography but I do know lots about cookies and those look scrumptious!!!! Unless it is the camera that makes them look so good! HAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  18. Those cookies sound really good (especially with coffee).

    I don't have a DSLR camera yet. I've asked for an old one for my birthday so we'll see.

  19. The photos are wonderful, and the last one is so bright and lovely. I have been watching the videos on Kim Klassen's test kitchen. She is amazing. I am joining a group of women photographers and hoping to learn more. My best friend is a photographer for a local paper here, so she is always giving me tip.s I love the Shutter Sisters blog. Their book has amazing tips on lighting.

    Well, it's always good to learn more. Now I am off to Pinterest to see your tutorial board.


  20. Hi, Kathleen! I love your blog and your picture experiences :o) Looks easy & cute! I need to try:o)
    Already your follower
    Hugs from Russia
    Natasha & Fam

  21. Just poured my first cup of coffee for the day and came by for a lemon cookie to go with it. :))

  22. Do you share the recipe for lemon cookies. They sounds really good.

  23. Hi Kathy! This camera thing is really something, isn't it? I took an online course through the blog "Under the Sycamore" and can barely remember all that I learned. So glad I printed out the info but still, if it's not something I continually practice then it's gone, like crocheting. I still use auto a lot but these Michigan winters make for very little sunshine, don't they? Regardless, your photos are beautiful. Who would think that such a simple subject like cookies and lemons could be such a gorgeous picture. Blessings!

  24. Hi - I'm wondering what kind of camera you have - great pictures!

    Cathy from Kentucky

  25. The automatic settings can be great - and this post is a really good example of that. The first picture looks gorgeous!!


  26. Baby steps! Soon you'll be an expert. Mimi


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