Are You Trying to Learn Too Much or Not Enough?

Peggy Farren 2013-01-13

We've had the Understand Photography Training Center for over three years now so we have seen a lot of different photographers at every level of experience come through our doors.

Here is an observation about some of the photographers who seem to struggle with the technical aspect of photography. They seem to fall into two categories; those who are taking in too much information so they are overwhelmed, and those who really don't want to learn anything technical. From the first group, I hear these words, "I'm studying so much but not getting it.". From the second group, "I just want to take good pictures of (my kids, birds, whatever)!"

Here are my suggestions to get you on the right track:

1. Really understand exposure. There are only three things to learn; ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. You can learn those three things! We hold our "DSLR exposure" two hour, affordable workshop twice a month during season. This class really simplifies exposure.

2. Practice shooting in the manual setting. Guess what? You are just practicing what you learned in the DSLR exposure workshop. Shooting often helps you remember and also makes you faster at changing the settings.

If you need to simplify even more - write out a plan: Day one: Practice changing the aperture and study the results. You'll really start understanding Depth of Field. Day two: Practice changing the shutter speed and study the results. You'll really start understanding Motion and ambient light. Day three: Practice changing the ISO and study the results. You'll really start understanding noise and ambient light. Do those three things over and over in different lighting and other conditions.

3. Try these conditions (remember to do each one with different apertures, shutter speeds and ISO): A. Start by taking wide landscape pictures your backyard early morning one day, noon another, late afternoon and then night. B. Then take closeup pictures morning, noon, late afternoon and evening. C. Practice on a moving subject (your cat?) morning, noon, late afternoon and evening.

But you ask; what about white balance, picture style, aperture priority, spot metering, exposure compensation, flash, bracketing, the sweet spot, which lens? Don't worry about all that stuff!! REALLY understanding exposure is the foundation of photography. Once you "get" exposure, the rest will be so much easier!

If you are in or visiting Southwest Florida, please join us for a free photowalk if you'd like to practice with fellow photographers! And of course, we offer many group and private classes to help you understand photography!

~ Peggy Farren

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About Peggy

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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