Wow! It’s been 3 years since I sat in my living room listening to Megan Cieloha explaining to me how to shoot in manual mode. I am by far the worst student and I’m sure I frustrated her to death. Thankfully, she was a dear friend and kept teaching and challenging me. Here I am 3 years later. We both giggle when we talk about where we were in our photography 3 years ago. Megan, in case you didn’t know, is now the Director at CMUniversity.
Last year, I created a list of things I had learned in my 2nd year of shooting in manual mode. I thought it would be fun to continue this tradition each year.
1. Find the light first, then the subject. Sarah Wilkerson, who is an amazing teacher, has stressed that in two of the workshops I have taken of hers. I still struggle with this but it is now turning into a little motto when I’m out shooting.
2. Kelvin for white balance is way easier than using a gray card. I always struggled with white balance and often relied on auto white balance but no more. Being able to set my own white balance and learning the correct numbers for different situations has really helped my straight out of the camera image.
3. I miss doing my Project 365. In 2010, I completed my first 365. I can’t begin to tell you how shooting everyday improved my photography. I tried to do one in 2011 but failed. I am definitely considering doing another one here soon.
4. Macro photography is way harder than I thought. I love my 105mm 2.8 macro lens. Seriously, love it. However, shooting macro shots and making still life images interesting is quite a challenge.
5. How to achieve Rembrandt’s light. I took Mastering Natural Light Indoors and was amazed at how many different things there are to learn about lighting.
6. Nailing skin tones is a continued challenge. I am really going to focus on skin tones this coming year. Hopefully next year, I can say I learned to nail them :) If you are interested in learning more with me check out Flawless: The Secrets to Skin by Sarah Wilkerson.
7. It is incredibly easy to become frustrated with my work. I feel that the more I learn the more frustrated I become. I know in my head what I need to do to achieve some stellar images, unfortunately, I struggle with applying all those skills to my daily shooting. But that is a whole other post in its self.
8. Taking snapshots is okay. This kind of goes with #7. I am giving myself permission to not expect every image to be portfolio worthy. It is important to capture snapshots of our lives for my kids to remember.
9. The interval timer is amazing! I have always been a huge advocate of being in photos. Using the interval timer is just another great resource that allows me to hop in front of the camera so my kids know that I was there too…and was cool at one time!
10. Photoshop is next on my list. For my birthday this year, I asked for Photoshop. Having the sweet husband that I do he got it for me. I’m actually taking a workshop on it in about 2 weeks. I can’t wait to learn about PS. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Lightroom and will definitely use it a lot.
11. I need to get better about daily editing. When I was doing my 365 I edited my images every single day. It was fantastic. However, I have let life get in the way and I have stopped doing this. I need to get back into the groove of editing what I take that day because I am WAY behind!!!
12. Still no desire to go into business. I still love being a hobbyist and just shooting for myself. I like to take photos for friends every now and then but the idea of opening up shop is not on my agenda.
13. Black and white conversions are hard. I knew this a while ago but I was reminded of this earlier this year. I am really working on nailing my conversion. A good conversion is a lot more complicated then a quick click of a button.
14. Really want to play with film. I love the idea of playing with a film camera. There are a lot of things to take into account and I want to challenge myself to learn. My dad is letting me borrow his old film camera so I have no excuses.
15. I am obsessed with buying photography books and e-books. Honestly, if someone recommends a new book you can bet it is in my cart and ordered. It is a sickness really. The terrible thing is I often buy them and struggle to find the time to read them. The last two I bought that I can’t wait for my life to settle down so I can read them are People Pictures:30 Exercises for Creating Authentic Photographs and The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs.
16. Addicted to taking workshops. I am currently taking my 7th workshop through Clickin’ Moms and have signed up for my 8th one already. I will never be able to learn everything about photography but I will definitely take advantage of all the resources out there.
What have you learned this past year about shooting in manual mode?
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