For the enthusiast entering the field of photography there are many decisions that need to be taken into consideration. Most importantly, to make a choice as to what camera gear fits your needs and your pocket. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the body, nor the vast options of brands and models you have to choose from. What you are looking for is a camera and a lens setup that you are comfortable to use. A camera that fits into your hand and that is easy to navigate between all the functions and the many features it might offer is what you ideally need. I stress once more, that this essential as you will need to be comfortable with the way it operates and meets with your expectations.

Manual versus Automatic settings

Most cameras provide a choice of shooting in either manual or automatic. From the start, let me suggest you spend some quality time understanding how to shoot in manual as opposed to automatic. Cameras today are not cheap, so when you own a camera understand how to use it in order to get the most out of the features and in turn, great results.

The automatic setting is really the “lazy way” to shoot and is very limiting. The camera makes all the decisions, not the shooter. Do not fall into the bad habit of automatic, to be more direct, rather carry on shooting with your mobile phone. The reason you have progressed, or decided to go that extra mile when you buy your first DSLR should be with intention to have fun and take better images. So yes, understand the features and you ready to go – you be the driver and take control. This is where photography becomes a passion and a total addiction, as you are in a position to determine the outcome of your image from the start.

Once you understand the basics of how to shoot in manual, you will only progress and build your true style and taste, a signature of sorts that represents you the photographer. Time, dedication and experimentation is what it takes, this is the way to move forward. First you will need to be comfortable learning the basics.

Understanding the instruction manual

We are all aware and similar in our opinions that reading long winded instruction manuals is not that easy. Firstly, they are confusing and secondly, most people find them to be long winded and not very practical in the explanations. Yes, I have been there, so I speak from my own experience. We are all impatient, we want to get the camera out of the box, switch it on and go out and take great photographs. Does this sound right? Well this is what I see from the many photographers on a daily basis. As a result, most shoot in automatic, or barely understand the principles and features of their camera.

Attend a short Beginners workshop on how to use your camera

This is definitely a consideration that I would recommend, especially after making the investment and taking the plunge to follow a passion or career direction in photography.

Not only are these short workshops cost effective, but they will instill the practical and hands on attention that you will require to set up and operate your camera in manual with confidence. Remember when you are taking a picture, your attention needs to be on your subject, the lighting the composition etc… You cannot be spending 80% of your thought process on whether you have adjusted your camera to the correct settings to get the best result. This creates uncertainty and takes the fun out of the experience. 20/80 principal is necessary here, 80% on the subject, 20% on the settings. Once you know these simple steps, you will never forget them, it is like riding a bicycle, you only get better and better the more you practice.

So, if you have a camera already that is gathering dust in the cupboard, or you are about to go out and treat yourself to a wonderful life change and experience of a new camera setup, make sure you know how to use it from the start. A short workshop is definitely the way to start your fun.

Remember, having a sports car is no fun if you cannot drive it to reach the performances you dreamt about, you might as well have just bought something “normal’, but once you have an advanced driving course behind your name, you are ready for the track.I trust that this short read has been helpful and will assist you moving forward with your photography. Once you know how the settings work, there is no turning back, anything is possible with you at the wheel.