Say NO to Auto~3 Basic steps to Understanding Manual Camera Settings

Do you have a nice, fancy camera that you don’t know how to use?  Do you feel frustrated that you are always getting dark pictures on Auto?  I’ve created a book small enough to fit in your camera bag, but with enough detail to help you shun the auto mode forever.  I first released this as an e-book in January 2011, with revisions done in July 2011.  I’ve had 100% positive feedback (see comments below) that this beginners book has transformed the photography efforts of those that have read it.  You don’t have to be a profossional photographer to want to take beautiful pictures of your family and friends.     Here is why this little book makes me so happy:  It is the basics, friends.  There are so many books out there that highlight every little thing you can learn about your camera, and while they are fabulous… to the beginner, it is VERY overwhelming.  My self prescribed attention deficit cannot handle the overload of information.  I know because I tried when I was teaching myself the camera years ago.  I don’t do books well.  This book has 17 mini pages that is equal to 4 regular size pages–that’s all it takes to understand the 3 basic steps to understanding manual camera settings😉 I am a big believer that you start with the basics and once those are mastered, move on to more.  Once the basics are better understood, then those books will make more sense.

For those new to my site, here  is what you can expect from this book:

Say NO to Auto:  3 basic steps to understanding manual camera settings

I have broken down the complicated method of using the manual settings on slr cameras and narrowed it down to 3 basic questions you must ask yourself before taking a shot.  It is 17-4×6 pages with picture examples and settings of those images to help you in any lighting situation you may find yourself.  I intentially made it pocket sized so it was easily transportable.  You can purchase the e-book ($10), so you can print it at a lab (as 4×6 pictures) or at home and spiral bind it or put a ring on it, or even slip the 4×6 prints inside of a mini photo album to bind the book. {E-book means that I am not mailing a hard copy to you, but e-mailing you a digital copy for you to print}  If you aren’t the type to read it on the comptuer and print it out on your own, you can also purchase the hard copy for $20 and that includes shipping!  Check out my sidebar for both paypal options.

The example above shows the difference between auto and manual settings.  I used the same great lens for both shots, with one snap on auto and the other on the manual settings that I chose.  If you cover up the manual shot and just look at the auto, it doesn’t look so awful, but when you see what it COULD be, you realize there is so much more to photography than shooting on auto.  Even my model knows…look at her face on that auto shot…she’s thinking, “Are you really going to put it on the auto setting?”  Hehee;)  Though I normally use photoshop to enhance the color in my images, I did not use it at all, to show actual results with my manual settings on the right (the same image on the cover does have my color pop enhancement). I believe strongly that photoshop is meant to enhance, not fix.  Try as I may, I will never be able to “fix” an image to look as great as one taken correctly in the first place.

The book includes lots of examples for different lighting conditions with the color coded settings like the shot below:

Below are a few snaps of the hard copy.  Thick cardstock, Spiral bound/front & back printing.

My most favorite part of this new edition is this blurred page below:  From my workshops to extensive research, I realized I needed to help people find the right buttons in order to change them, and I have color coded examples for both Canon and Nikon users (similar application to other brands, as well).  This research alone, I could have doubled the price of the book, but I’m keeping it the same affordable price~$10.


 There you have it… New and improved!!! Purchase  the e-version or hard copy on the right sidebar.

 For reviews from those that have previously purchased the e-book, see the comments below.   Workshop and skype mentoring info CLICK HERE.

{If you do not have a paypal account, you can still use paypal with your credit or debit card, just look for that option when you click BUY NOW}

Please let me know if you have any questions!!!

*****************Updated January 30th 2012 to add that my second book, GET FOCUSED is released.  See the info on my sidebar or click here to learn all about it.   CLICK HERE to buy either book.************************

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  1. Lorie Smith says:

    I love that it’s so small and tucks right into my camera bag for quick and easy reference. This pocket guide has really helped me turn off the auto setting and explore some of the other settings on my camera. :)


  2. I so need help with my camera. I’ve bought the expensive books & they are way over my head. The feedback on your book is amazing. Hope I win.

  3. I like you on FB

  4. This e-book has been a wonderful way to get started on my photography!

  5. I love this book. I have it with me to look at all the time. Thanks for all your effort.

  6. I love this book. I have learnt a lot I dont think I will be disapointed with my photos anymore.

  7. I didn’t know where to begin with my camera and just always used the auto setting. This book lays everything out in an easy to understand way! (I just saw the e-mail from you dated 8-23-11, and am happy to leave this comment because I have used your book so much). My son even studied the book and has begun to experiment with my camera!

  8. Kristen’s book is so very helpful. It is much more approachable for a novice photographer than the 250+ page manual from the camera. I’m excited to watch my skills improve under Kristen’s tutelage. Thanks!

  9. Lance Fisher says:

    I don’t consider myself a beginner. I have done a couple of weddings and a handful of family portraits. That being said I did learn quite a bit from this little ebook. My wife and I keep a copy in our camera bag. We are looking forward to the revised version. Thank you!

  10. Tracy Jackson says:

    This is the best! I carry it with my camera at all times! You’ll never find anything that makes sense like this does! Easy, quick, and so easy to understand!!! Thanks so much for helping folks like me make there awesome camera do more than “auto”!!! Yay!!!
    So, if you are new to your big fancy camera and bummed your missing all those great shots, get this and you will be set!!!

  11. I just purchased this book about on hour ago and my pictures are already exactly what I had hoped for when I bought my camera. I have spent the last week frustrated with the results, but after turning off AUTO, I am elated. Thank you so much!!

  12. When you say ‘nice, fancy camera’ does a $400 Canon Powershot SX40 fit that description, or is this book for something on the level of a Canon Rebel T2i? I’m looking into buying a nicer camera to take pictures of my kids and need help knowing how to take better pictures and was hoping your book could help me, but I want to make sure it could help me if I only spent $400 on a camera. Thanks!

  13. I have learned to NOT BE AFRAID of my camera!

  14. Coni Stormo says:

    This book has been amazing! It has made learning about my camera so much easier…and fun too! Easy to understand and beautifully put together! I had it printed and keep it in my camera bag. I recommend this to anyone who is just starting out! Thanks Kristen!

  15. I purchased the E-book yesterday, and was taking gorgeous shots by the end of the day! So helpful, so easy to understand.

  16. I love your Ebook. My pictures have improved greatly. Thank so much for putting it into a simple book for new “photographers” to be able to understand.

  17. Susan Byrd says:

    I love the original Say No to Auto e-book. Looking forward to getting the new version.

  18. Kristen, the e-book has truly been my go-to for learning how to use my camera. There’s one page that I always have out — the one that says “Challenge” and has an assignment. It always helps get me started and helps to remember which way to adjust!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Katy, that is so wonderful to hear! The challenge page is a great summary of the whole bit…it makes me happy to hear it is so helpful!

  19. I love your books! I think you are just a genius, and certainly talented also. I hope you don’t mind but I shared a link to your blog and your books on a post I just wrote on my blog! I was totally confused by the owner’s manual for my camera, and I was soooo happy to find your books. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  20. I just purchased e book ‘say no to auto’ but I can’t download from my iPad. I’ve tried to open from laptop with windows though, and it’s work. Is there any other way to be able to save on my iPad?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      You have to first download it to a computer, unzip the folder, then and transfer image pages to your ipad. It says that on the purchase page, but I know there is a lot of info there. Let me know if you have trouble and I can resend a link.

  21. Is this book only for cannon users? I own a Nikon, and am interested in buying your book!
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  34. I have a CSC (compact system camera) so it has all of the settings of most DSLRs and a removable lens and all that good stuff, but it’s mirrorless and 100% digital. I always struggle finding good instructions on how to best use the camera because all the good tutorials are either for DSLR or point-and-shoot, and my camera is right in the middle! Do you think this book would help me? I’ve read through my camera’s manual, but man was it a hefty read! I’m hoping for something a little more newbie friendly!

  35. Kristen, Do you have an affiliate program for your photo ebooks? I bought this one years ago and have raved about it to so many people. I would love to advertise it on my blog and send people to you through my affiliate link. Just a random question. 😉
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  36. Elizabeth Newby says:

    I love how easy this makes it to improve my photos!

  37. i love the booklet, it was one of the reasons i bought the ultimate diy bundle! can you give tips on printing as pictures? i’m not sure how to do this at walmart etc, as its a pdf… thanks!

  38. christina linn says:

    Hi my daughter has a cannon rebel eos SL1 and she is having the hardest time ever trying to take photos while in motion ( if that makes sense) do ur books help with that. She wants to take concert photos of the bands moving and it just wont stay in focus and she is ready to give up


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