When I first learned about DSLR cameras I overwhelmingly heard one tip – get into Manual Mode. And that’s exactly what I did when I first took my camera out of the box and began shooting. Trouble was, I had no idea what I was doing. Even though I’d done my research and learned about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, it didn’t do me a lick of good because I’d never held a camera.
Learning how to use a DSLR is a lot like baking a cake.
Let’s take a quick survey. How many of you learned to bake using a cake mix. I did too! Not because it tasted great, but because it was convenient, economical, and fast. Important things for beginners – especially if they’re children – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Cake mixes get the job done, and in general they produce decent cakes with no guesswork.
That’s why there’s boxed cake mix.
That’s why there’s Auto Mode.
After seeing my first shots taken in Manual Mode and realizing how much difficulty I was having, I resigned myself to shooting in Auto Mode. I was bummed, but I am SO glad I did it!
Auto Mode gives me just enough freedom to understand the basic controls of my d5200 without totally destroying a photo. Sure, I’m not shooting with the full potential of my camera, but I’m a newbie! We’ve all been newbies at some point and THAT’S OKAY. Want to take a portrait Set the camera to Portrait, find a person and some decent lighting, and go for it! Taking a shot of breakfast? Set the camera to Food(!), grab those cinnamon buns, and snap away!
Use the cake mix. Use the camera presets. They’re there for a reason! You may not get the shot you envisioned, but again, we’re beginners :)
Below are some of my first shots with my Nikon d5200. Nothing earth shattering, but being able to see what settings the camera was using in each setting really helped me understand how the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together to create a decent picture.
Want to practice yourself? Grab a cake mix, whip up some cupcakes, and have a photo shoot!