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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