So, you just got your first SLR and want to start shooting professional looking images right now! Well, I’m here to tell you that it is not going to happen. At least not right away that is. An SLR is designed to give you full creative freedom of the photograph. And to quote the great Eleanor Roosevelt, “With freedom comes responsibility.”
You are responsible for learning how to take full advantage of your SLR. You also need to accept that this is not something learned overnight. It takes time. You will have to really put some time into this journey we call photography.
The Luxury of Trial and Error
The most valuable advantage we have as digital photographers is the option for immediate feedback. Instead of waiting for the development of expensive film, we have the luxury of instant gratification. This means that you can try something out, look at the results, and do it over! That is really the best tool you will have in your learning.
If you are serious about improvement
If you are serious about improving your photography skills and getting the most out of your SLR, you are going to have to be a tiny bit thick-skinned. While we are doing our lessons, we understand that not everyone is an aspiring professional. But, just like anything in life that involves improvement and critique, you need to be prepared to receive constructive criticism. The ability to receive criticism really shows the mark of a person ready for growth. So you need to make a decision: do you want to just be a passive learner or would you prefer to be critiqued and grow? Either style of learning is fine, it’s just a matter of what you’re looking to get out of it!
You are going to be amazed
Photography is about showing the world through your creative eye. The best photographers are not the ones who travel to exotic locations with jaw-dropping backdrops. They are the ones that show us something ordinary in an extraordinary way. Once you unlock the possibilities behind your new SLR, you are going to be amazed. The possibilities are really endless and the world is your canvas.
Are you ready?
So, if you are ready to begin your photography education, we are ready to help. Please do not just rely on our efforts. There are so many resources available to you and it is an absolute shame not to tap into a variety of them. Buy a book, join a photography group, read up on blogs, ask other photographers, get a study buddy! The bottom line is that if you want to learn, you will.
Try it out:
If you are ready to accept this challenge then you are going to have to get familiar with something that you own, but have probably never tapped into yet… And that would be your SLR camera manual. I keep my manual in my camera bag at all times. You just never know when you might have to look up something specific to your camera. I know I can’t answer logistic questions about cameras that I am unfamiliar with, so you can’t necessarily rely on us for questions like “How do I change the ISO on my Pentax K200D?”
Simply put: Get familiar with your manual.
Your first task is proof. Show the group that you are “interacting” with your manual. Specifically, find the buttons/dials that enable you to change your aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, and ISO. These will be very important within the next few lessons. Have someone take a photo of you “interacting” with your manual. Just take a snapshot or feel free to get creative!
Next lesson: Aperture