Learning how to work your camera is not a race. It is a journey. I have spoken to some budding photographers that get a bit frustrated with their cameras when they try to use them in manual. This is not an easy task. It took me months and months and months of practicing to really understand how all the settings worked together, and then months and months and months more before I could use that knowledge to take decent pictures.
When I started taking pictures, I jumped in with both feet – full manual. This was fine if I was outside with lots of available light, but when I went inside I would get *so* frustrated. Gradually I figured out how to change my settings correctly, then I figured out I needed a better lens since I was limited by my equipment. That started another learning curve – just because you can shoot wide open doesn’t mean you should. Focus is hard to nail when you have your settings maxed out for low light. I would love me a Nikon D300, with an ISO setting of 6400. *sigh* A girl can dream, can’t she?
The noise that is introduced into my pictures at ISO 1600 on my Nikon D50 can either look arty or awful depending on the shot. Noiseware definitely helps, but I hate to have to rely on post-processing to save my pictures. Now that I know I have some measure of control over my camera, I want to do as little processing as possible. That is why I bought my SB 600 flash. Now I can shoot at ISO 400 in low light and have decent inside pictures. This is one thing I am still learning to master, though.
So what is the point of this post?
Simply, don’t get frustrated. Try to focus on learning one aspect at a time. DSLR’s have settings that allow you to control one setting and it will automatically adjust the rest for the “best” exposure. If you shoot in aperture priority, it will choose the shutter-speed. Start out with allowing the camera to choose the white balance, but try to set the ISO at what you think may work. Trial and error is how you learn. Gradually trying out the settings and changing the settings will help you learn the ones work for each situation. If you get really frustrated, throw the camera back into auto and just work on composition.
Most of all have fun! This is supposed to be fun, right?? 😀