I will be the first to admit, Betty Crocker makes a damn good brownie. Sure, there are tons of homemade recipes out there claiming to be “The Best”, but really, Betty’s perfected it, so when I need to make brownies, I grab a box of hers and make it because there is no guesswork; I know it will be good. If I’m in the mood, I’ll throw in some peanut butter or Andes mint chips, but I’m not making a new recipe, I’m just improving the standard.
I will also admit, that when I got my first DSLR camera, I left it on Auto and trusted it to make beautiful pictures without my input. If I felt like I needed some tweaking, I’d do some Photoshop and call it good.
Betty Crocker = DSLR. Andes mint chips = Photoshop. Get it? 😉
For a long time, like 3 years, I was OK with the quality of the pictures I shot in Auto mode. Until I saw what the quality looked like with other settings. My eyes were opened, and from that point on, I vowed to not just take pictures, but to try to compose artistic shots.
Here are some pictures taken on the day I was dinking with my camera’s setting for the first time. I took a picture in Auto, then I switched to a mode that I had to set and took the exact same picture. Then I compared the two.
|Manual setting on the left, Auto on the right|
|Can you tell which is which?|
Outside of Auto, the colors are richer and the details are more pronounced. That was the last day I left my camera on Auto all the time.
It has been so much fun! Of course, upgrading to a camera where I actually had to READ THE MANUAL (gasp!) helped a lot, too. Sure, I could have fiddled all the knobs on my entry-level camera (Nikon D40), but I realized I had gotten lazy, and the best way to get me motivated to try something new is to challenge me. Getting a new camera was the kickstart I needed to become a more thoughtful photographer. That’s just me, though. Do what works for you.
I would encourage anyone who has a camera (fancy-schmancy or otherwise) to take the time to learn how to do more than simply push the button on it. I think you will be so surprised at what your camera is capable of that you will think of taking pictures as more than just the obligatory chronicling of memories.
I still have so much to learn, and I am looking forward to learning more now that I feel like photography isn’t just a means to an end, but a joy in itself.