The Most Powerful Yet Underestimated Way To Improve Your Photography

The Most Powerful Yet Underestimated Way To Improve Your Photography

If your guess was “the camera manual!” I bet you’re one of the few who have actually taken the time to not only read it, but learn the things explained in it.

If there’s one thing that makes me roll my eyes it’s the photographers who have the latest, greatest and most expensive cameras on the market, but are shooting in auto mode because they have no idea what their camera has to offer. Using the manual for what it was meant for is definitely the easiest and fastest way to improve your skills and move forward on your way to becoming a professional photographer. Here’s how you can make the most of it.

Add Divider Tabs

I went through the book and labeled and divided each section, so I could find them at a glance. Not only does this make finding things easier later on, but labelling the tabs and sticking them in each section, gets you familiar with the manual even before you start digging in deeper. You will know what your manual has to offer, and what kind of things you are going to be learning very soon.

Start at the Beginning

With your camera in your hands, go through the manual from the very beginning. Look at the diagrams, and find each item on your camera body. Even if you don’t understand what something is yet, find it on your camera. Later, as you read more detail, everything will start to come together. Read every page, even if it doesn’t make sense at first. Getting a nice camera is a big investment, so wouldn’t you want to know what it can do?

Try Everything

As you read and find each dial, button, and menu item on your own camera, give everything a try. If the manual is talking about different shooting modes, dial your camera in to each one, follow the instructions, and try a few test shots. Keep in mind that not everything will make sense the first time through, that’s okay. After you’ve practiced awhile, try going back through the manual page by page again. You’ll find that much of what confused you initially, has now become clear.

Underline the Key Words

Underline (or highlight if that’s your thing) key words that will help you focus on what is most important. Sometimes manuals can be wordy, and hard to understand. If you can zone in on the most important words, it will become more clear. Later, when you are trying to find something, those underlined words will pop out and make it easier to find. Take notes in the margins if you try something, love it, and know that you will want to remember that in the future. Add an extra tab or sticky note there, or put a star next to it. It’s hard to remember everything you read after one read-through, but if you can quickly go back to your starred items and practice those often, you’ll be well on your way to mastering your camera.

Some people learn better from a live teacher, but the great thing about the manual is that you can refer back to it as many times as you need to, and you don’t have to pay anything extra to learn.

Read Melinda Smith’s full article over at Digital Photography School.

Source: Digital Photography School

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