Four years. I can’t believe it was four years ago that Megan was sitting in my living room with me trying to teach me what ISO, shutter speed, and aperture meant. I’ll tell you right now, I was the worst student. Ha! But here I am, four years later and loving photography more than I thought I would. I have captured so many shots I will treasure forever. If you haven’t started shooting manual mode yet, PLEASE give it a try. I promise, you will surprise yourself at how it will eventually become second nature.
Over the years, I have written the lessons I have learned that year from shooting in manual mode. It is fun to sit back and reflect on the things I have figured out and ways I have grown. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past year.
1. Manual focus can be a fun challenge. I got a Lensbaby this past year that only does manual focus, and while I thought that was an impossible task with moving kids, I have found it to be a fun and challenging creative outlet.
2. I am still addicted to new gear. This past year I got 3 new lenses and love each of them as much as I love the others. It’s like children. You can’t pick a favorite.
3. It’s okay to put the camera down. I have had my ups and downs this past year in my photography journey. I have gone weeks without picking up my camera. Although, I’m sad I don’t have photos from those days, I know that it was something I needed to do to prevent getting burnt out.
4. An ExpoDisc or using Kelvins for white balance saves me a TON of time. Getting my exposure right in camera is huge for me to save time while editing. I have photos where I even surprised myself at how little editing needed to be done.
5. This is my photography journey. I have seen photographers start after me and soar right past me. While it is a bummer for a minute, I quickly remind myself that this is MY journey. I am right where I need to be.
6. There is a round circle in your view finder that will tell you when you nailed focus in manual focus. This basically blew my mind and yet another thing Megan has taught me over the many years.
7. I enjoy more natural photos. I will still set the scene if I have a vision in mind but I rarely do a photo shoot with props.
8. Keeping up with editing isn’t so easy anymore. When I did my 365 I edited and went through all my images the day I uploaded them. Unfortunately, I have gotten out of that habit and seems to be one that is more challenging to get back into.
9. Not every image is meant to be a black and white. Certain images are lead themselves better for a black and white conversion depending on the lighting and mood.
10. Ask them to talk to me. I have found that carrying on a conversation with my kids while I have my camera in my face is way more beneficial to capturing a genuine expression.
11. Daily shooting really helps my photography. Unfortunately, I haven’t completed another 365 since my first one in 2010. I have however, done 30 day challenges where I shoot daily for a month. This seems to be more attainable for me currently but I miss having images from daily shooting and I know it helped my photography.
12. I adore indoor light. I used to love shooting during the golden hour when I first started. But after Megan Cieloha’s workshop on indoor lighting, I ADORE window light. I can’t get enough.
No matter where you are on your photography journey please continue to learn and apply what you learn.
Read more about lessons I’ve learned from shooting on manual mode:
– 21 things I learned my 2nd year of shooting in manual mode
– Shooting in manual mode: 16 lessons learned in my 3rd year