Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography The Dreeded Green Letter "A"

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    Met this lady today at her home, for my other job, nice lady.  We got to talking a bit and the subject turned to photography, not sure why, maybe it was the shirt I was wearing,who knows.

    Anyway, we got to talking about photography and she asked how much it would be to shoot some product stills for her.  I saw that she had a Nikon D90, but did not know if it was hers or not.  I know the D90 is not the latest and greatest, but it is still a decent little camera for someone on a budget or starting out.

    She explained that she was “trying” to take some photos of clothing and outfits, I assume she made, that were displayed or torso mannequins.  She also added, that she went out and bought some “lighting” but all the photos were blurry and un-usable.  That’s when she showed me the D90.

    Now, I’m not bashing her for her choices, but her lighting was 2 home depot drop lights, with 2 compact fluorescent bulbs and her camera settings were “A”, full Auto.  Now I know that the lighting could have been better, but hey, she is trying this on a budget and had spent a lengthy time watching YouTube Videos on how to pull this off, but with no success.

    I almost cringed and wanted to take her camera away from her.

    I stopped, tried to think of words of encouragement for her and then proceeded to dish out some advise without trying to bruise her ego.  Again she was nice and was not trying to come off as a Pro or anything like that, so why try to bash her down for trying something new.

    Within minutes, I took her camera and showed her slowly what it can really do and dared to venture taking her into the cosmic world of Manual Mode.  She was amazed that “her camera” can do that.  So I told her, her camera cannot do that, you can!  {Mind Blown}

    I explained to her that when she uses full Auto, she is in essence, just there to aim the camera and push the button to snap the photo, the camera is doing all the work and guessing at it to get the best image from what is available in front of it.  I then told her that in Manual Mode, you are directing the camera, not the other way around.  I showed her why her images were blurry, without trying to cram too much info into her head.

    Also, the lights, showed her a quick and cheap way to make the best of what she had, I call it a Diffuser, it’s the new thing, I’m sure it’ll catch on.

    Her exercise was to use full auto and study the settings to see what the camera was trying to do and then try to duplicate that in Manual Mode and adjust.  This way, she gets the full feel of being in control, but with a little bit of guidance.

    I think I may have helped her out, the photo Karma gods would be proud.

    Worst Case Scenario

    She’ll be advertising for for weddings on craiglist next week  :  )


    I’ve been mentoring the secretary at my work over the last year. She had an interest in photography but not a lot of skill. She is now shooting in full manual, RAW, and starting to invest in some better lenses! she loves what she can do with her camera now. she doesn’t want to shoot portraits besides of her grandkids and such.


    I sure hope not WCS, I really hope that she doesn’t.

    fstopper –  I think it’s fun and rewarding to give that helping hand to that person who looks like they need it, now what they do with that little bit of knowledge is purely up to them, but maybe they will use their new powers for Good!

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