Since I am teaching a lot of beginning photographers and emerging pros, I want to talk today about cameras, and how important all the technical functionality in modern cameras is. Signal processors, menus, LCD screens, a plethora of settings, multiple levels of sophisticated focus functions: all this is stuff we cannot live without.

Or is it?

Until a few years ago we used this:

And guess what. This camera had:

  • a setting for aperture
  • a setting for shutter speed
  • a viewfinder
  • and a focus ring you had to turn.

Yes, that was it. A film (with a given ASA); a shutter speed setting; an aperture setting, and a focus ring. That is all you need for great commercial, studio, fashion, product, etc photography. I wish I had one.

So when I teach you in my courses (and in my books too), while you will learn all the buttons and menus and switches, you also majorly learn the fundamentals, Only when you know those do the menus and processors help.

For those fundamentals, by the way, you can download an entire chapter from my Learning Your Camera e-book. Click here to download it. And learn the basics before going on to sophisticated electronic functions. They’re great – but they are not necessary.

A challenge to you: shoot your next week’s pictures entirely in manual exposure mode. If you learn to do this, you will be a real photographer.


NOTE: This content is brought to you free of charge. The blog posts; the articles; and things like the free book chapter. Yes, in addition I sell e-books, training and photography sessions, but this blog is provided free of charge. Since this is a business, though, let me ask you to so something in return: please send this blog’s address to three friends who may be interested. That way even more people benefit from this advice and these free lessons. Fair deal?


One thought on “Computers.

  1. Oh, the good old days. I must admit, it is awfully nice to shoot with just three controls (focus, f-stop, shutter).

    No “what’s the white balance this time”. No “how many buttons can possibly be required to change one autofocus program”. No “which of these 27 modes on this POS point-and-shoot is the one that makes it just act like a camera.”

    Even with a DSLR in M-mode, though, it’s easy to forget just how much of digital photography is abstracted away in code that the end user never interacts with. If my photography cameras required as much careful tuning, tweaking and truly ridiculous post-processing as some of the laboratory imagers I’ve worked with, I’d probably have either gone crazy or given it up by now.

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