A Guaranteed Method for Improving Your Photography – Part 2

by Tasra Dawson*

It’s been a couple months since I shared Part 1 of my method for improving your photography. After a busy summer full of taking thousands of images, I thought it was about time to share the next strategy with you! (Of course I did give you a link to all three steps in my first post, so if you were ambitious, you could have worked ahead.)

To recap step 1: Take a picture every day. Ways you can do that are carrying your camera with you everywhere, beginning to see differently, and getting off automatic.

On to step 2: Read your camera manual. Have you even cracked open your camera manual since you first got your camera? I had my camera for three years before I even opened up my manual. I figured it would all be tech talk that I wouldn’t understand so I didn’t bother to waste my time. What I missed out on were some incredible functions of my camera that I didn’t even know existed!

So I highly recommend finding your camera manual and keeping it in a bedside table. One page a day is all it takes to start getting more familiar and comfortable with your camera. The reality is that once you start to read it, it’ll start to make more sense. The first time you read a page it might sound like jibberish, but get your camera out and re-read the page, do what it says or locate what it’s describing. It’s an active process, not a cerebral one.

If you can’t find your manual, you can download most manuals online. I use both Nikon and Canon cameras, so I read both. I found my Nikon D50 manual at Nikonians.com and my Canon EOS 5D manual at the Canon site.

I’ll be back with Step 3 for guaranteed improvement in your images. As our kids prepare to go back to school and study, I challenge you to study your own camera manual and watch how much you progress in just one short year!

I’m just a few weeks away from completing an entire year of reading my camera manual and learning technical knowledge about photography every day! You can do it too. I’d love to have you join the challenge along with nearly 500 other photographers and see what a year can do for you!

Written by 5 Minutes for Mom contributing editor, Tasra Dawson.

Email Author    |    Website About Tasra Dawson*

Tasra Dawson is a photographer and founder of Teen Identity Portraits & Magazine, committed to unleashing the true beauty in every teen girl. She offers daily photography tips, inspiration, and creativity at tasramar.com. Connect on Twitter or Facebook.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley) August 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm

read the manual. duh! you know, i never even thought of that.

[off to hunt down that manual]


2 Tasra Dawson August 12, 2010 at 8:16 am

I was the same way last year… uh, I’m a girl, I don’t read manuals. To say I learned a thing or two would be an understatement!


3 Lucinda August 12, 2010 at 12:08 am

I’ve had my EasyShare point-and-shoot for over three years now, but just broke out the manual this year to learn how to use the manual settings (so I can get my first dSLR for my birthday!!). I’m doing my second photo-a-day-ish this year. I almost always have my camera with me. I love photography.


4 Tasra Dawson August 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

Way to go! It’s amazing how much we don’t know we’re missing when we don’t read the manual! What kind of DSLR are you getting?


5 Lucinda August 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

I don’t know! It’s overwhelming. I pay attention to what good photographers are using and will test drive them when my money gets here. Waiting for my grandfather’s estate to be settled. Should be soon! Cannot wait to hold my new camera.

I joined the challenge!


6 Rachel August 12, 2010 at 2:51 am

I’m totally with you on step 1. I started a P365 when my daughter was born last September. There is such a difference in the quality of my photos and there’s still a few weeks left to go!


7 Tasra Dawson August 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

Congrats on almost finishing the challenge! How many days do you have left? I’ve got 20 days!


8 Rachel August 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I’m on day 322. It’s been a blast!

I really should crack open my manual…


9 Eureka August 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Sounds like some very sound advice and easy enough for us noobie ones to follow :) thank you for sharing.


10 Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom August 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

I feel like you are talking directly at me with the manual suggestion. I am bad. Very bad. Guilty as charged. Thanks for reminding me that I do need to open it from time to time (or even daily :)


11 Khristal August 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

This is Great, I will definitely be looking into this! Thanks!


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