Moving past the auto mode

As soon as you turn your cameras mode dial away from the magic Auto setting, you are making a huge photographic statement. With just one small click of the dial you're saying "I know how I want this picture to be and how I want the photograph to look."

Just that click of the dial even if you only switch as far as your camera's Portrait or Landscape setting you are beginning to make choices of how you want to take photos and take control of your photography, once you know what you are photographing, you can then begin to concentrate on how.

If you haven't understood at this stage, there are three main areas that you need to master when you move away from Auto:

Exposure, Focus, and white balance. We'll look at each of these in turn in more of my blogs, but the most important thing is not to become paranoid and start to panic.

It's really is easy to cause yourself problems if you jump right in and start trying to work simultaneously on exposure and focus and color. Its massively important that you give yourself time and practice, the last thing you want to do, is arrive at your wedding, being the official photographer and think you have it sorted, practice, practice, practice well before.

I promise, if you don't then this can often lead to disappointment and frustration, and in the long term may result in awful wedding images or could even make you less enthusiastic about picking up your camera and switching to manual to start with.

So why not take your time and work through them one at a time. There's nothing wrong with setting your focus and white balance to Auto while you play around with exposure.

Remember whilst switching to Program mode your camera will take care of the exposure while you practice focusing or getting the white balance correct.

When you feel a little more comfortable, you can start to "mix and match the settings" on the camera, step by step, taking control of exposure and focus, but leaving the color decisions with the camera.

There are several areas you can explore and see how your photos look, its really not that complicated and before you know it, you'll be happily mixing all three.

The beautiful wedding photo attached from this blog was taken on a glorious wedding in June, the sun was shinning, when I arrived at the church I was struck by the incredible display of wedding flowers, all over the arch leading to the church, I wanted to capture all the detail and colors of the flowers and the beautiful Bride; auto mode may have produced a wonderful image however there is nothing more satisfying than telling the camera exactly what you want and then seeing the image, maybe the camera would have set a narrow depth of field, maybe it would have focused on the flowers because of the detail, maybe the camera would have set a high ISO to hold the dynamic range, who knows what this little box would have selected but that's the point, we just don't know!

Maybe we could next look at formats, will you take your photos as RAW/RAF/NEF or Jpegs, we can look at this in a little more detail in my next blog!