I was just like you not that long ago…

Yup, I was just like you!


I don’t know about you, but when I got my fancy-pants camera, I was clicking away in automatic mode. Why not? It’s easy, right? Does the trick?

I remember taking my first few clicks with my first baby (Nikon D300 with my 18-200mm lens), I was so impressed by how simply amazing images were (compared to my canon powershot… can you say Depth of Field?!?) But, I also felt really intimidated by all the buttons on every, single, surface of my new toy, that I had no idea what to do with them.

So, for a few years I just aimlessly took photos things I loved and turned dials this way and that way with ZERO idea what they did. Zero. No idea what was going on there. Trial and error. Painful learning curve at that.

But it didn’t matter… that’s what Photoshop was for, right?

Elements 5 to be exact (I might be dating myself). I would simply “fix” my photo in photoshop. Easy-Peasy. But, boy, editing became a drag. I was busy “fixing” my images, instead of enhancing them.

Trust me… editing is soothing and much more of an art now that I get it right in camera.

Ok, let’s dive in… Ladies and Gentlemen, put your trays in the upright position, it’s time for takeoff…

seat tray

I knew there was no way I would ever read the manual… {yawn} and I just didn’t see myself sitting in a classroom to learn the basic fundamentals in textbooks and slides.

So, I visited many blogs, photography websites, Youtube to learn (in a way that worked for me, I am a total visual learner) to learn everything that I can about this thing called “Exposure”

I learned about this magical little triangle that involved Aperture, SS and ISO… WOW.  If you don’t know much about how this works, take the time to learn how this cool little triad will help you nail every single lighting situation, or at least come closer that you ever imagined.

When shooting on auto mode, you are truly letting your camera select the aperture setting, the ISO setting, the shutter speed, just to name a few. It’s like having your oven decide when your meal is properly cooked. Might be over done, might be underdone, meh…

Automatic can be handy, but it also seriously limits your creative ability to capture a beautiful image.

Manual mode simply means that it’s up to YOU and not the camera to decide what the camera’s settings should be.

I know it might seem overwhelming at first, but trust me, it really is not as bad as it seems.

Once you have an understanding of the 3 elements that make up the exposure triangle, then you know why you would want to change the settings around in the first place.


The 3 settings in question are:

Aperture = how much light gets into the camera through the lens

Shutter = how long the light gets into the camera

ISO = how sensitive the image sensor is to light

Bottom line, when you change one side of the triangle, you affect the other sides.

There are many ways to learn the triangle. Do like I did and find what works best for you.


D xo

Published by

Dana Walton

Dana is drawn to the beauty in simplicity within the frame. One who lives by the words "less is more" she translates this feeling into her art. Creative composition and isolating subjects are just a couple of elements that play a strong role within the frame. Finding beauty is its simplest form. Dana lives with her husband, son and two kitties in a small town outside of Toronto, Ontario. When not spending time with family, or shooting, she enjoys baking (just about anything under the sun) or riding through trails on her mountain bike.

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