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When “Automatic” Mode Fails…Your Life Your Camera Workshop {Burlington Vermont Photography Workshop}

I’ll never forget the first picture I took with my first DSLR. My daughter was in her Halloween costume with the biggest smile on her face, and the background was “blurry.” I was beyond thrilled. When I look back at that image now it still brings a smile to my face, but I also notice that it isn’t only the background that’s out of focus. The entire image is out of focus, including my sweet girl’s smile. That was one of the only images I’ve ever taken on Automatic mode as I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work for me. Unfortunately, I think the misconception is common: all it takes is a “good camera” and you can produce “good images.” The reality is while cameras are extremely advanced these days ,they aren’t as smart as you, the photographer. Cameras have no idea what type of image you want to take, and while they can sometimes make a pretty good guess, often times they fall short.

Automatic mode is most reliable when the situation is perfect- ideal lighting, an abundance of light, and a still subject. Unfortunately, if your life is anything like mine, these three things don’t happen together very often. Yesterday I took three sets of images all in less than ideal light. The sun was nearly set, my house was getting dark, and my daughter didn’t want to stay still. The images on the left were taken on Automatic mode, and the images on the right were taken in Manual. None of these have been edited at all. Isn’t the difference amazing?

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Learning to shoot in Manual mode was the best decision I ever made for my photography. It’s not easy…it takes lots of practice, patience, and persistence for it to become natural, but I promise it’s worth it. My friend Genevieve and I put together our “Your Life Your Camera” workshop with this realization in mind. The next run of our workshop will be in South Burlington VT at the Best Western Windjammer Inn and Conference on January 17th, 2015. The workshop is four hours in length, and covers an introduction to Manual Mode, beginner lighting tips, ideas for capturing genuine expressions, and a beginner’s guide to composition. There is lots of time for questions and interaction as well. Those of you who are interested in taking your DSLR to the next level can email me at kristy@kristydooleyphotogarphy.com to reserve your seat.

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