View Full Version : I'm wearing my learner plates! Need help getting off auto modes!!

27-05-2014, 5:16pm
So after finding and signing onto this awesome site, I finally get back on here to put up some pics and as I thought, they're too big. As I'm doing it on iPad I can't resize now. Hopefully after I get mr 4 to bed I can go on PC and try again!! A lot of the pics I have taken are on auto, portrait, landscape etc. hoping to get away from this! I've done a bit of long exposure at nite but during the day has me lost! Even using ND filters all I get is over done pics!! Grrrrr!!!

27-05-2014, 5:39pm
Good on you for being willing to get stuck in and have a go, Rach. At the top of the page is a Library link. In there you'll find all sorts of wonderful information, tutorials, etc. to help you move to semi-automatic (Av, Tv, etc) and then manual mode. If you have any specific questions, or pics you want suggestions about, we'll be only too happy to help. :th3:

27-05-2014, 8:01pm
A good way to learn the basics of camera operation is to familiarise yourself with the 'The Sunny Sixteen Rule'.

"On a sunny day set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to the ISO setting for a subject in direct sunlight"

This little gem has been around since the early film days but still applies to the operation of digital cameras.

Google 'Sunny Sixteen' for a wealth of information and useable tables. Photography is all about using the available light.

The basic camera operation equation consists of three components.

ISO setting: The cameras ability to handle light. The higher the ISO number, the better the camera can handle darker scenes.

APERTURE: The size of the opening, or aperture, in the lens body. The lower the number, the bigger the opening. Confusing hey? Here's a basic diagram to help you understand it.

Shutter Speed: Controls the period time the light is allowed to pass through the aperture.

So what all this means is that on a bright sunny day with your subject in the open , you set your ISO to 100, your shutter speed to 1/100sec, and your aperture to f16. This basic equation only changes if the light changes.

So if a cloud comes over just as you are about to take your shot, the light has changed, and you need to change your settings. You will need to let more light in and to do this you must change one of the settings, either increase the ISO to ISO200, increase your aperture size to f11, or lower your shutter speed to 1/50sec, the less attractive option, as you may introduce camera shake.

This basic equation is really only a rough guide for shooting stationary subjects in bright light as ISO and shutter speed are variable depending on your requirements. Shutter speed is also used to control motion so if your subject is moving you will need a higher shutter speed, but then you must compensate by adjusting either your ISO or aperture. You aperture is also used to control Depth of Field, ie how much of the scene you want to have in good focus, the lower the 'f' number the shallower your in-focus area is.

So in a nutshell, if you change one component of the "f16...ISO100...1/100sec" equation by one adjustment, you must change one of the other two components by one adjustment.

It sounds complicated, but if you master the basic equation, all else will fall into place.

27-05-2014, 8:31pm
Thanks so much! As soon as I get some pics up, I'll be looking for suggestions! I have played around a fair bit in semi auto and got some ok pics. Just not confident they are very good.

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Thanks heaps for the tips cage. Will be out n about tomorrow trying them out! Hope to get some good pics on here for some cc :)

Mark L
28-05-2014, 7:58pm
Don't think you need to go to full manual straight away. Those semi auto modes are what most people use.
Start using aperture priority and learn about exposure compensation. Photo a bit bright, dial down the compensation.
Of cause it depends on your subject. Taking a bird flying, might be better with shutter priority and dial in a fast shutter speed. Again you need to learn alittle about exposure compensation.
Actually, learning about how your camera's metering works is pretty important. ;)

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Just noticed your location, nearly in N.S.W..
Go the blues.:)

13-06-2014, 8:56pm
For long exposure during the day best to use manual mode, I use trial and error method. Depending on your ND strength,aperture, ISO will determine on your shutter time. for eg I used a ND 400+ND4 for a particular image at f18 with ISO50 and I got a shutter time of 120sec for correct exposure . But I started at 60sec and then worked my way up to a exposure I felt was correct.(usually 15sec increments ) this is one way to do it. There are also Apps out there that can help you get it first go. hope this helps:D

30-06-2014, 10:36pm
What got me off auto mode was a Christmas present from a dear friend that sent me on a four hour photography walking learning tour at Cockatoo Island in Sydney this year.

The audience was for enthusiastic beginners/intermediates preferably with a DSLR and focused mainly on aperture priority mode. I have to say I had never used anything other than auto prior to this and now my photography has taken off to ridiculous new levels (compared to what I was doing previously).

While I think reading books, reading forums, watching videos and just getting out and practice practice practice has a lot of merit, but the course I did basically turbo charged me off auto and I haven't looked back.

I've since also done a night shoot tour course with the same lady which was additionally great to get me jump started into different long exposure night techniques.

The courses themselves aren't sufficient on their own, still have to practice practice practice review review review rinse and repeat, but man what a shot in the arm :)


01-12-2014, 7:49pm
Congratulations for wanting to get off auto modes. It means that you are becoming more serious about photography and how cameras work.

No doubt you will be getting a lot of useful tips and advice, and maybe you are overwhelmed.

Here is another bit of advice, if you like - the best way to get off auto modes is to just do it, then learn from your mistakes.

IMHO auto modes has done a lot of damage to the pursuit of photography by making it easy to do, but without the understanding of how it works.

In the past I have tried to explain to people why their photos of bike riders are blurred, or out of focus, by telling them about shutter speeds and apertures - big mistake. Their eyes simply glaze over, they lose interest, and change the subject - but they are still frustrated about photography. It's supposed to be easy, after all. The fact is that nothing worthwhile is easy. It does take practice, a lot of patience, and a willingness to learn.

So, practice a lot. Make a lot of mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Get lucky, find a mentor. Ask lots of questions, learn to listen. Never give up, it's worth it in the end.

Hope this helps.