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What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce
I bought the DSLR, now my pictures should be perfect. Right? Wrong!
After coveting other people’s photos that had dreamy blurry backgrounds, impossibly bright colors, and smiling subjects, I decided to make the jump to buy a DSLR. I was tired of printing my iPhone pictures and having them be less than professional looking. I did my research, looked at my budget and chose a camera that worked for me. Perfect.
When the camera first came to the house, I was so eager to create a better, brighter picture, that I threw that puppy in Auto Mode and started snapping away. Honestly, I was so happy with the photos! They were a million times better than my iPhone pictures and I was ready to put up my “professional” looking pictures all over my wall.
First attempt at Manual Mode
Pinterest is filled with DSLR tips and tricks and I quickly noticed every posts was pushing you towards using manual mode. You don’t want the camera to make decisions for you, so you need to pick your aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Excuse me, what?!
I had NO clue what any of those words meant and started furiously researching, to get the beautiful pictures I dreamed of. There are great articles out there, but most of them were over my head. I was just a mom looking so grab some cute pictures of my kids, not take an award winning photo.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon a website called Click It Up A Notch, by Courtney Slazinik, which breaks down photography for true beginners. Courtney is a former teacher and started her photography journey to get better pictures of her family.
Click It Up A Notch
As soon as you sign up for her e-mails, Courtney sends you a list of posts you should start with. She wrote letter to her beginner self that could have been written directly to me, present day. All the “mistakes” she was making seemed to be what I was doing too. I am not sure if it’s the teacher in her, or just who she is, but her writing style and techniques clicked (no pun intended) with me IMMEDIATELY. I totally understood her explanations and my pictures improved dramatically.
Initially, I used Aperture Priority Auto where I controlled some of the settings but not all of them. It takes a lot of practice to get good at the controls and I wasn’t ready to take the plunge into full manual mode. After several months of playing around on AP, I decided to push myself to learn manual mode.
Making Sense Of Manual Mode
Courtney’s course, Making Sense of Manual Mode, was the perfect next step for me. I am a visual learner and her e-course is a series of short videos, breaking down manual mode. She is clear, concise, and supportive while she explains each setting and their functions. Her course is generalized, so you can have any type of camera. The videos are available through a log in and can be viewed as many times as needed. Absolutely perfect for someone who doesn’t have the time to attend a live course.
My two favorite things about Making Sense Of Manual Mode are:
- An included print out “cheat sheet” that helps you remember the information from the course. I printed it and threw in my bag, so that if I get stuck in the field, I can easily refer to the information.
- There is a bonus Making Sense of Manual Mode facebook group where people who have taken the course post photos and offer suggestions. This is invaluable! Being able to bounce ideas off people, or ask questions when you’re stuck is critical for growth.
I am going to document my photo journey over the next couple of months and would love for you to check back and let me know what you think!! If you are considering purchasing a DSLR this holiday season, save yourself time and energy by purchasing Making Sense of Manual Mode!
Freebie just for you!
Courtney and I have partnered in order to give my readers some FREE information! Courtney’s free e-book, 8 Ways to Improve Your Photography In a Week, is a great way to start learning. She sends out e-mails each week with photography tips and tricks that will help improve your photography skills immediately. All you have to do is sign up!
Check out some unedited photos below that I took after the course began, and the gear that I use!
Gear I use
The Nikon D3300 Body Only
This Lens is absolutely necessary to gain those blurry backgrounds we all know and love! Courtney goes into detail on this in the course!
This is not covered in the course, but it absolutely necessary if you’re an on the go mom like myself. It takes me WEEKS to get my photos off my camera, with this I put them right on my phone
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