The Camera Doesn’t Make the Picture – You Do! | For Photographers


Yep, you! You love photography, you have invested in a fancy camera, and you’re dying to really know how to use it. Everyone starts somewhere and even the most beginner DSLRs can create some amazing images IF you’re using them correctly. That’s right… I may have expensive gear, but I started where you are at and I still produced quality work.  Today, I’ll be sharing three not so secret “secrets” to help you fully use your camera and skills to the best ability. Here it goes! 🙂

If your camera has never left “auto” then there is your first problem. One day that you have plenty of time to practice, switch the camera to manual mode, grab your manual book, read, learn, and practice. There will be lots of overwhelming things happening on the screen, but don’t fear… once you conquer what those numbers and big words mean… you will conquer that camera. The camera won’t be working for you, but you will be working the camera. That’s the TRUE secret of photography. Many people think the camera just produces magic. WRONG. You have to set it up correctly to create beautiful images. The secret is OUT!


It was SO bright during this morning engagement session, but we found some AMAZING shade!

What do you mean Maddie?! Post-processing (or editing) is an amazing tool for photographers, but we don’t shoot sessions thinking we can just fix the problems later. Often, those problems don’t make a pretty picture even after it’s edited. So how do you avoid this?

  1. Find good lighting. Good lighting is KEY to shooting manually in natural light. You don’t want the sun to be too high, because it creates shadows on faces. You want to find good shade that isn’t splotchy but almost fully covered, because you don’t want your pictures to have weird lighting spots coming through the trees. You also don’t want to shoot when its too dark because then your images will become grainy. Find natural reflectors like concrete to glow back on your subjects. The list goes on and on, but keep these key things in mind… find even light, don’t use harsh sunlight from up above, shoot later in the evening when the sun is getting ready to set or setting.
  2. If you can avoid distracting items in the background then avoid them, so you don’t have to do extra work later. It is a pain and often you can’t keep the background looking natural, so then it just gets weird and I know you don’t want that.
  3. Make sure your settings are set correctly to take a picture that will be practically perfect straight out of camera (photog lingo: SOOC). The better the picture is SOOC, the less time you will spend editing. Remember this isn’t called “editography” it’s called photography. 🙂

_DSC7645See how the sun is behind Logan and there are no shadows on her face?! Good lighting! 🙂

Posing can be hard. When your are photographing people you need to remember that they want your direction. They are not professional models and they have no clue what they are doing. They need your support and guidance, so don’t be afraid to be bossy – nicely, of course! You can actually practice this. Grab your kid, hubby, friend, or whoever and pose them! Get those jitters out and if you ever freeze during a session, then just say… “let me readjust my settings reeeeeallly quick.” While you’re “doing” that, brainstorm some posing ideas. Easy peasy!


This is an OLD picture from when I shot on an inexpensive entry-level DSLR. See! You can do this!

There you have it folks. My biggest advice overall would be “just go shoot”! Get out there, grab the camera, switch it manual and GO SHOOT! If you liked this and interested in some more fancy camera tips then let me know and I’d be glad to share more. Feel FREE to ask any questions!! If you get out and start practicing, feel free to email me any questions. I’d LOVE to help you out! xoxo

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