Portrait Photography Courses

Getting your camera off fully automatic

Why turn fully automatic off on your camera


For many people a shiny new digital camera – whether that be a neat little compact, fancy looking hybrid or impressive DSLR offers a whole world of opportunity however that new piece of kit also presents a big problem. You open the box peer inside before holding your new gadget and then normally fire off a few shots feeling rather pleased. The big problem then presents itself – what do all the buttons do and what happens if I move away from fully automatic?


beginners photography course


We tend to get five types of attendees on our beginners photography courses – see if you fit into one of the categories:


(1) Those paralysed with fear that the world will end if they fiddle with the knobs and buttons – there seems to be some belief that the word will end and you will break the camera.


(2) Those that have played around with a few / all the buttons getting the odd good one but its all a bit haphazard.


(3) Wives / girlfriends of guys who obviously wanted a camera so thought they would buy one for their other half and then to really rub it in they also book them on a course as they are too chicken to come themselves.


(4) Those people who genuinely wanted a camera but haven’t got beyond trying to attach the strap – all other bits are still in the wrapping.


(5) Self taught photography fans who are a bit worried that they are not doing something quite right – they normally have all the kit, extra lenses, flash guns, etc but by lunch time realise they were making life far too hard for themselves by shooting in manual mode.


Most people seem rather keen to move away from shooting in fully automatic and even more keen to work out what every single button does – they start by looking through the manual studying carefully what each control has to offer. Within 20 minutes they are dazzled by the terminology and options available in each of the many menus. Well first things first, fully automatic really isn’t that great because of the following reasons:


(1) Your camera is likely to be trying to fire off the flash – the results are horrible most of the time unless you want family and friends to look like extras out of a vampire movie.


(2) Your camera is likely to be trying to focus on the nearest object in the viewfinder.


(3) Most of your controls will have been disabled – you don’t need to use them all but access to a couple is essential.


I would suggest you jump in your manual to looking at the ISO control (will explain that in the next blog) and jump straight onto P mode on your control dial. P mode works very similar to fully automatic only you have control over the above three points.


If you are keen to know more then why not pop along to one of our beginner photography courses or call nick on 01245 494258 for more information. We provide gift vouchers if required.

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