Thursday, November 15, 2012

Went Back To Shooting Manual and LOVE IT!

I have been lazy/unmotivated the last months and my Canon t2i has been hidden away most days in the cabinet while my trusty iPhone camera has been traveling the world (well, traveling all over Texas and over to Florida, which was the world to my boys this summer). When I did use my "real" camera, I would set it on Aperture priority mode and shoot.

I had purchased the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8  lens for my portrait lens and was convinced it was a bad model because so many of my photos were not focused.  I was used to the image stabilizer on my beloved Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6  which made it hard to take a bad shot in low light.  I would have to shoot with a really wide aperture with the Tamron, which does not leave much room for movement when shooting the boys in low light.  This resulted in blurry eyes and a sad mom.

The other day I decided I missed my real camera and decided to do some reading to get back up to speed on shooting manual.  I am one of those people who learn better by reading books/googling and going out and shooting rather than taking classes (probably because I never have time to take classes and end up reading or on the computer at midnight...), so I decided to order a new book;  Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off "Auto" and Photograph Your Life like a Pro.

Beyond Snapshots is actually a great intro/refresher for shooting manual and I found some great inspiration in the photos in the book.  Shooting manual is never as difficult as you think it would be, since your camera has a nifty little cheat scale that tells you whether your image is going to be blown out, too dark, or perfect.  There is a great chart in Beyond Snapshots that tells you, depending on what photographic situation, which order you should set your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.  I don't always follow these rules, but they are a great starting point.

Thanks to Beyond Snapshots, I decided to go shoot manual yesterday while the boys were playing in our yard.  Duke had a cold and wasn't interested in being my model, but both boys powered through and I was able to get some nice shots of them.  It was afternoon and I was shooting in some shade, so I set the ISO to 400.  When I was taking photos of the boys playing ball I set my shutter speed and then my aperture, and for the flower photography I set my aperture and then my shutter speed.

I was shocked how it all came back to me and within a few minutes I was able to adjust the focus points, aperture, and shutter speed without looking at my camera.  I even did some manual focusing. And I was shocked to find out my Tamron lens was not a bad copy, but rather I had been a bad photographer who was not paying attention to her settings.

Here are some of my shots with the Tamron and  my Canon t2i.  I did basic contrast and eye enhancement editing and added slight vignettes on some of the images in LR3.  The editing only took a few seconds because the SOOC's were pretty darn right on.  I did have some bad blurry shots, but overall I was really pleased.

I also shot only jpgs (I have about 3 years of RAWs on my computer already and decided last year jpgs where the way to go unless I had a really crucial photoshoot) and often over-exposed slightly when I was taking the portraits to make their skin glow.

This has motivated me to go out and shoot with my real camera on manual settings once again and stop being lazy and relying on my iPhone and Instagram.  I am really excited to have some new photos to use to write new actions! And I am about to start playing with LR4 and some presets from Pretty Presets.  Laura sent me some of her newest to review and I feel like a kid in the candy store or like my gluten-free kids in a bakery.  ;-)  I will be posting those images later on.

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  1. Beautiful, you've inspired me to dig deeper. I use your actions here for almost all of my pics.

    Some I do on my own too.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  2. thanks for including the link to the book! i'll have to check it out. i'm one of those people who would rather read a tutorial too :)

  3. So, about your lens, did you figure out why you were getting blurry images?

  4. Great photos. Time to dig out my books!

  5. Hi, I'm your new reader and maybe you have told us, but I'm wondering what camera and lens you used for these stunning pics. Thx in advance :)

  6. This excites me, because I bought this lens over a month ago, and decide I hated it because most of the pictures were turning out blurry/hazy/gross looking. I used it maybe three times and retired it to my camera bag. I always shoot in manual, but maybe a bit more attention is required.

  7. P.S. Whenever I put my camera on Aperture priority mode, I end up with blurry photos most of the time. I have a 50mm 1.8 lens, and the ISO is on Auto.. any help would be greatly appreciated!

  8. I used the Tamron 28-75 2.9 and the Canon t2i camera body. And I was shooting in low light with a large aperture which was causing focusing issues before. Now that I know how to set my camera manually my photos are so much better.

  9. They look wonderful! Very worthwhile! I am in the same raw/jpeg boat. I feel guilty shooting in jpeg but I have perfect my jpeg workflow, it goes so fast, and they are SO much nicer. I hope someday to replicate the look with my raw's but its not there yet. And I shudder at all that hard drive space.

  10. I must admit, I recently started shooting manual full time and using BBF on al servo and am amazed at how much better my images look!!! Had I not been so intimidated before I would have done it sooner. I still need to work on moving shutter speed quickly enough when I'm chasing kids outside...the light can change very fast, but so far it's awesome!!! :)

  11. I have that same Tamron lens! I got it for the group shots at weddings (50mm nor 70-200mm was cutting it! I had to keep backing up!) and was afraid because either folks loved it or hated it. Much to my surprise I LOVE IT!
    I was shooting with my 50 1.4 all the time but now I 'start off' a session with the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and never take it off! I love how much you can get in a photo . . without doing the 'back up, move closer, back up, move closer' dance I usually do with my 50mm.
    I pretty much leave it on 2.8, shoot RAW, wide open, in manual mode, with bbf on my 5D Mark II.
    Yes, I am shocked I love it this much! I guess I got a 'good copy' of this lens. :)

  12. I read Beyond Snapshots too and found it really inspiring and started to shoot in manual too. Unfortunately the inspiration wore off and I got lazy and went back to Auto. You're making me want to give Manual another go! :)