Like a lot of you out there I, too, own a DSLR that has been collecting dust for years. After the joy and excitement of purchasing my Nikon D5000 back in 2010 I quickly became overwhelmed by all the buttons and settings. Even though I am a faithful user guide reader, I still felt confused and bewildered after taking the time to thumb through it. I did take a course about how to use a DSLR a year or two later but none of it stuck. I went on to YouTube and Google and did countless hours of research but still nothing was helping me understand how to take awesome photos with this beast.
So, I packed it away and have occasionally returned to it here and there throughout the years but always keeping it on Auto mode, too afeard to venture into Manual mode.
In December I decided enough was enough. It was a fantastic camera and either I sell the thing to someone else to actually enjoy or I get down to business and figure out, once and for all, how to properly use it. Shortly after I made this decision, I happened to see that an old school friend was going to an event being shared on Facebook called “The Fundamentals of Photography” hosted by Sherry Brown from Sherry Brown Photography.
Some things are meant to be.
It was a 2-hour course that was simply built on helping us understand the basis of something called the “exposure triangle”:
The thing that seemed to always confuse me the most is how backwards and non-intuitive the number settings were. For example, aperture—the smaller the number the larger the hole to let the light in. Isn’t that backwards to you? It is to me!
So, although it was a lot to take in, thanks to these 2 hours with Sherry I’m finally starting to understand what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO even mean! These were all foreign concepts to me before last week and now I feel I have a great foundation to build on.
The best part about all this is that not only can I now use this information for my Nikon D5000 but I can also apply it to my expert compact camera, my Canon G7X Mark II that also has a manual mode! YAY!
If I have any advice for you, if you too struggle with getting off of that Auto setting on your “fancy” camera, I’d say just start with understanding the exposure triangle. Once you get that your eyes will be open, like mine have been! The best way to do it is to just practice the triangle while snapping photos indoors and outdoors. That’s what I’m busy doing now because practice makes perfect!
What kind of camera do you use? Are you stuck on the Auto setting too? Tell me about your experience learning how to use your DSLR and let me know in the comments if you have any tips or great online resources you’d like to share.
For the record, here are my two “fancy” cameras: