Tuesday, April 5, 2011

do you read the manual?

I am determined to learn how to take a good portrait. You know the kind: the ones where the eye is in focus and the rest of the face isn't and the way the skin is lit is better than real life and seems to emanate from the picture itself.

I have discovered I have been hindered by two things: equipment and the fact that I READ THE MANUAL!

Let me explain.  I am the type of person who has to read the instructions. I mean I drool over them. When I have a piece of Ikea furniture to assemble, I do it step by step as it is set out in the instructions. I have a canon 500D (not bad for starting out on this quest of mine right?). A while ago I read something in the camera manual about AI Focus mode that has completely shut down my ability to use the camera to it's full potential. I mean I had it in my head that this was the only way to shoot, and of course all possibilities closed down to me. I am sure those manuals are not even written by photographers, or english speaking ones at least.
So today I discovered one shot mode and light metering, and can now achieve what I have been trying to achieve just by fiddling with the aperture settings. Relief!

I found THIS tutorial helpful for understanding light metering. And THIS blog lovely and informative.

In terms of being hindered by equipment, I only have the lenses that my camera came with and am mainly shooting on a 18-55mm. It seems I need a fast 85mm lens to take good portraiture. I think.

So I have spent the morning experimenting with spot metering and AF lock and now will wait for my daughter to wake up to see if I can apply what I have learned to a moving target.

PS. Don't read the camera's manual. I found google a much better way to go.
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