Beyond Auto Mode Front Cover

Beyond Auto Mode

  • Length: 320 pages
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher:
  • Publication Date: 2013-02-25
  • ISBN-10: 1118172876
  • ISBN-13: 9781118172872
  • Sales Rank: #1144684 (See Top 100 Books)

Take full advantage of your dSLR camera, and do it with confidence

Many people buy dSLR cameras for their flexibility, but find themselves so intimidated by all the options and controls that they rarely venture beyond the automatic mode. With a friendly tone and clear, understandable instruction, photographer and educator Jen Bebb introduces you to every mode and setting on your sophisticated dSLR. After thoroughly explaining shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, ISO, and basic composition, she offers direction on what each camera mode does and when it should be used. You’ll gain the confidence to use the entire feature set you paid for.

  • Beginning dSLR users are often intimidated by the scene, semi-automatic, and fully manual modes on their cameras; this guide gently explains each mode and setting
  • Uses a conversational tone and liberal examples to define and explain basic concepts including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, depth of field, and composition
  • Covers how each camera mode works and when to consider using it
  • Helps those new to dSLR photography to gain confidence and begin taking advantage of all the flexibility a dSLR offers

Written by a professional photographer who is also known for her skill as an instructor, Beyond Auto Mode encourages new and less experienced dSLR users to take the next step toward creative control.

From the Author: Taking Better Photos of People

Have you ever wondered, “Is it my camera or is it me?” Odds are you have been frustrated with your camera more than once. Maybe your images are blurry; maybe they are too dark or too light. Whatever the issue, the camera often gets the blame. It’s not your camera, though. It’s you. The camera is just a box, programmed to work a certain way. If you are using the box in auto modes, and giving the camera all the control, you can’t really blame it for doing what it is doing. If you want to make better pictures, you need to take control of the camera yourself.

Here are five things to do right now, to make better pictures of the people in your life, using one of your camera’s semi-auto modes:

1. Choose Aperture Mode: Choose A or AV on your camera dial, or the back menu. If you don’t have A or AV look for something that says “aperture mode” or “aperture priority”. Look for a setting like f/5.6 or 5.6 (the number might be different) which is the aperture setting. Choose an aperture of f/4 (4.0). The camera will choose the shutter speed for you. A wide aperture will create a blurred background, isolating your subject(s) in the frame.

Look for the light

Choose light that flatters your subject and is easy to work with. In this image, we used a shady area for our portrait.

Click for a larger image

2. Look for the light: As you first start making portraits, choose light that is easy to work with. Have your subject face the light source. If you are outside, and your subject is squinting because of the light, move into a shady area (like under a tree or overhang) and have them face the light – it won’t be shining right into their eyes, but will still light them beautifully.

Look for the light

The open area behind our subject creates a simple backdrop for our portrait.

Click for a larger image

3. Choose your ISO: If it’s very bright and sunny, choose ISO 100. If it’s a slightly overcast day or you are in a brightly lit room, choose ISO 400. If it is evening or the room is dim choose ISO 800 or 1600.

Look for the light

Simple backgrounds don’t have to be boring. This blue wall adds a pop of visual interest to our backdrop, complimenting the composition of the image.

Click for a larger image

4. Choose a simple background: When you are photographing people, try to keep the background simple. Look for something clean and complimentary (see the example below). Simple doesn’t have to mean plain or boring, though. Notice how the bright blue background adds some interest to the frame without detracting from your subjects.

Look for the light

A relaxed subject results in natural expressions.

Click for a larger image

5. Strive for natural expressions: Making great images is not just about backgrounds and camera settings, but is also about catching that perfect expression in your images. As you work with your subject, remember to make eye contact and speak with them, laughing and keeping the session relaxed. If you are tense, your subjects will feel that and their expressions will be tense.

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