When to say YES! to Auto

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Can you believe I’ve got a title like, “When to say YES! to Auto” when I’ve got a book titled “Say NO! to Auto?!?” Well, it’s true, I believe there are 3 instances with my dSLR camera that I say it’s OK to turn to AUTO, and I thought it was important to share with my photo loving people!  Plus, I haven’t had a Photo Tip Tuesday in WAY too long!

How to shoot in manual

When I first wrote about saying NO to Auto, I was teaching fellow photography enthusiasts to shoot in manual settings. Shooting in Manual=setting your ISO, aperture, & shutter speed so that you have full control over the outcome of the exposure of the image. The “auto” setting or the little green box on some camera’s, is what most people default to using when they first get their camera.  It’s easy to see why, because…

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It’s safe.

It’s easy.

You don’t have to think.

But when I shared my tips about 3 simple tips to shooting on manual settings, it was all about saying NO to that specific auto setting for good, to produce more beautiful pictures of your family and clients. However, what I didn’t realize is that so many people would come to me asking questions that didn’t apply to those 3 manual settings, and I thought I needed to do some clarifying!

Today, I’m sharing 3 times when you should turn to auto on your camera.

So here we go: When to Say YES! to Auto:

  1. Auto Focus–It’s true, I shoot on Auto Focus all the time! When I first started teaching my Say NO to Auto workshops a few years ago, this came up a lot, and it never occured to me that I needed to clarify that I DO shoot on auto focus, because most photographers I know DO! Unless you have on a macro lens, and shooting nature (that doesn’t move) up really close, most of us pro photogs shoot on auto focus. So if you’ve been on manual focus and frustrated, flip that switch today, baby, you will be THRILLED with the results!  To set your auto focus, look for a switch on your camera lens itself, not the body of the camera. It says “AF/MF” You want “AF” for “auto focus.” Shooting on manual settings
    {great beginner lens HERE}   By flipping that switch on, it enables the camera to focus on the subject, and it does a dang good job! I talk a lot about focal settings in my second book, Get Focused, but in a nutshell, you select what you want to focus on by picking a focal point inside your camera. Then when you hold your shutter button down, that auto focus kicks in, and sharpens the subject for you!
  2. Auto White Balance–I used to shoot everything on the SHADE white balance setting, because 90% of my photography was in the shade, and that was perfect. Then I’d shoot my kids sports in full sun, or something in my home with overhead lighting, and the white balance was all crazy because I’d forget to change it. I shoot in RAW, so white balance isn’t too much of an issue to adjust in processing, but it’s still my preference to get it right, first. I will switch back and forth from AUTO White Balance to SHADE, but just so everyone knows, there is NO SHAME in Auto White Balance!  It says AWB often, and looks like this (changes from camera to camera). How to shoot in manual on your camera
  3. When you don’t want to miss the moment–In teaching my Say NO to Auto workshops, I felt it was very important to emphasize that I’d rather catch the moment, than make sure it was perfectly shot. Just like your piano teacher of yesteryears, I’ll plug the fact that it’s VERY important to practice when you are trying to learn to shoot in manual settings–getting off of Auto. When you are trying to capture cuteness–is not the time to practice. You must practice when you don’t care about the outcome, so that when the time comes for a great shot, you won’t be fiddling with your settings.  So for the beginners struggling to LEARN manual, it’s OK to switch back to auto when you are frazzled and just want to capture that cuteness of your child. It’s not the time to learn. Sure, give it an old college try, but don’t beat yourself up for switching back to auto, in order to preserve a memory. It does not mean that you have failed.

Just remember, just like any skill, it’s a process. Remembering these tips will help cut yourself a little slack. Great photography is a journey.

So there you have it!

Short and sweet, straight from the mouth of the lady telling you to Say NO to Auto.

Want more photo tip posts? That link will take you to all of them but here are a few others:

How to Decide What Camera to Buy

How-to-Decide-What-Camera-to-Buy

How to Start a Photography Business

How to start a photography business

Decorating your Home with Pictures

How to make a gallery wall of family photos

Say NO to Auto beginner photography book

How to shoot in manual

 

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Comments

  1. I’m so glad to to hear this. After two years of asking, I finally got the okay to get a big girl camera. Now I just have to pick one and learn how to use it. 😉 I’ll be buying your books for sure!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yay for a new camera on the horizon! I’ve got a post in my photo tips section about how to decide what camera to buy, hope that helps some!

  2. Great advice! Thanks so much for providing easy to follow advice and encouraging individual creativity and just enjoyment of photography. I’ve learned a lot from both of your photo ebooks and am loving my camera (in and out of auto!).

  3. Great tips! I shoot in manual almost all the time, but I’m so used to shooting projects and other still subjects that I missed a really crucial moment at my daughter’s birthday party (the really sweet way she blew out the candles) — it was so blurry! I should have switched back to AUTO and I will next time!