Yesterday I went to a photo seminar and safari to learn more about using my camera properly. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and last weekend I took the Groupon deal for a photo session as a "sign" that it was time. The seminar called Basic Elements was done by Val & Stephanie from Capturing True Emotion Photography out of Orange County, California - and they were terrific.
The seminar part was four hours at a hotel downtown, and we learned about all kinds of things. We learned about ISO, aperture, shutter speed... and by the time to got to exposure, I was getting a little stressed out - will I remember all of this?! And by the end, I was overwhelmed with weeks of information learned in the past few hours. There really wasn't any reason to be stressed out though... everything was in the workbook, and what wasn't, I took notes on. And Val and Stephanie did go at a good speed, reviewed each section, and did a great job with with providing us with materials for reference and a handy-dandy cheat sheet.
I'm a visual learner, though, so (after meeting a friend for lunch) I was thankful for the safari portion of the day. It was the time we took our cameras out of our bags and tried what we had been taught. Val and Stephanie gave us assignments throughout the safari to help us put into practice what we had learned, step by step, and then how to bring it together and get different effects we want.
For example, they taught us how to do "panning" and get photos (imagine a kid running on a soccer field) where there is a runner that is clear, and the background is blurry:
And to have the runner blurry, but the background clear:
And to do action shots:
And here are a few others from the day that I'm proud of (there's not post-production on these):
I have quite a bit of work to do, so don't expect all of my pictures to be perfect going forward. But I'm proud to say that I now know how to use the manual modes on my camera and don't have to use auto for everything, anymore. I know how to use the features and to adjust them and how they fit together.
Totally worth it! If you have a camera (they can help with any SLR or point and shoot) you should consider this.