Say NO To Auto Book Review & Giveaway

One of the most common questions, or shall I say fears, that I hear from people is that they’re terrified of putting their camera on manual.

That little M on the wheel.  Yeah that.  It seems to scare tons of people.  And it used to scare me.  But it doesn’t have to.

Up until very recently I was scared of Manual, too.

But when I went to Food & Light, I forced myself to keep my camera on Manual for the entire trip and just Do It.


And I’m so happy I stepped way outside of my comfort zone and just took the Manual Plunge because look at this post with my favorite images from the workshop

And no, it’s not always easy to shoot Manual!

I still have my challenging moments like at San Diego Cityfest this past weekend.

Extremely bright mid-day sunlight, lots of people, fast-paced action and trying to figure out how to get my pictures from being overexposed, in focus, and looking respectable was a big challenge!

My suggestions:

If you shoot Canon, don’t be afraid to take your camera off P (full auto) and try out some Av (aperture priority) or Tv (shutter priority)

And when you’re feeling brave, try M (manual)

I’m not sure what the corresponding letters are if you shoot Nikon but we all know what Manual means and how to avoid it find it.

My next suggestion is Kristen Duke’s book, Say NO To Auto

In just 17 pages, Kristen covered tons of information! She struck a wonderful balance of keeping the information simple and basic and without getting so technical that your eyes glaze over.  Yet she didn’t dumb things down, either.

I have posted before on how camera settings and numbers tend to be like 7th grade algebra class for me.  Kristen’s book gives you what you need to know in a very streamlined format.

She also gives real values and numbers for settings.

Most photography books or information you find online skirt around actually giving out settings and numbers by saying, well every situation is different and therefore it’s impossible to give generic ISO or aperture/f stop or shutter speed settings.  There are no universals so to speak.

I do agree with that to a point, and yes although every situation is different and as you progress in your photography and comfort level with your camera and shooting manual, you will tweak and adapt things on your own and won’t follow a cheat sheet.

But when you are just starting out and trying to take the training wheels off and are ditching the Auto settings, sometimes a cheat sheet with real values is important.

Such as, if you’re shooting one person vs. a group, the weather is sunny vs. cloudy, and you are shooting someone standing still vs. moving, this is a good jumping off place for your settings.  <— worth it’s weight in gold!

For that reason alone, buy this book!

Or buy it in e-book format!

Because the proof is in the pudding (unedited pictures using auto and using manual settings)

Look left, look right.  Enough said.

For all the Point and Shoot users, or DSLR users who are scared of anything other than Auto, I want to reiterate this point which I have said many times in the past:

It’s not about the camera you use so much as it’s about:


(Food) Styling & Composition, i.e. setting up your shot

And not being afraid to try new things

All a DSLR is going to do is capture your efforts in higher resolution and detail.  So make sure you’re paying attention to the details; the way the shot is set up, staged, and composed before you get bogged down in anything else such as the settings on your camera.

I have lots of Photography Tips, Tricks, Book Reviews, Food Styling Tips, and more in my Photography Section.

But once you’re ready to take the training wheels off and give Manual a try, you should buy the book!  $10 for e-book or $20 for hardback

Want to try to Win a copy of the book?

To Enter the Giveaway:

1. If you shoot with a DSLR, do you shoot Manual?  If not, why not?  What is your biggest challenge/fear/hurdle with either shooting manually or with your photography in general?

Please be specific.

2. For a second entry, Twitter Follow Me and then tweet the following:

“I am Saying NO to Auto on my Camera and entered to win @LoveVeggiesYoga Book Giveaway”

3. For a third, fourth, or fifth entry, do one or more of these things and leave a separate comment for each (that’s five total chances to enter)

Facebook Like Me, Facebook Like Kristen Duke Photography, Subscribe to Kristen’s RSS Feed/Put her blog in your Google Reader, Stumble Follow Me & Stumble It, Pinterest Follow MeInstagram Follow Me, or post this Giveaway on your blog.

Contest will run until Friday, August 19, 2011 and winner will randomly be chosen and announced.

Open to All!


  1. I like you on FB!!

  2. I like KD Photography on FB!!

  3. I love taking pictures of landscaping, flowers, trees, clouds, sunsets. I want to be able to take a good picture of the moon. I’m too scared like you said to manually change my settings to get a good picture. I get confused as to what does what and which settings work best. I would love a book like this to help me.

  4. I don’t always shoot in manual :( because sometimes I’m just in a hurry and I get frustrated when I can’t get a good shot. I know it just takes practice and I need to just DO IT!

  5. I would love this book! I got back into photography a year ago, and totally was ready to take the plunge and shoot in manual again (i used to shoot in manual film camera)- aaaaaaaaaand my camera was broke :( i can shoot in all the other settings, just not manual! so frustrating! so now i need a new camera… until then, i’d love that book for some good tips!

  6. I recently purchased a canon t1i and have started using the AV and TV modes. I have tried the manual mode a few times but my photos alway seem over exposed or blury or one of a million other things that can go wrong :) I know I need to practice more! I would love to have a copy of this book.

  7. Yup. Almost always shoot manual. I get much better results, but I’d love this book to learn more!

  8. Follow ya on Pinterest!

  9. i don’t have a dslr, but i’ve made it a goal this year to learn some of the non-automatic settings on my point & shoot. i’m learning! a dslr is absolutely one of the items i am saving for right now!

  10. i tweeted! (@sarahlearnsblog)

  11. I TOOK MY DSLR OFF AUTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I suck though. still learning and loving it!!! <3

  12. tweeted and following of course! <3 and hoping to take baller photos like you someday =)

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  14. I shoot with a point and shoot–no cashola for a DSLR, unfortunately :(

    Even so, I have stopped shooting on auto. Manual all the way, for this gal!

  15. I am following you on twitter and tweeted!

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  17. I’ve had a DSLR for more than a year and I still don’t shoot Manual. :/ I love photography, but I feel like I need to take some kind of a class to learn to shoot Manual. Last week I reread the manual (I have a Canon) and it didn’t help much!

  18. I like you on FB!

  19. I only have a point and shoot now but really want a DSLR for better quality photography and interested in learning more. My biggest challenge is to try to capture the moment of a 17 month old who is moving target among other things… :-)

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  21. Manual scares me! I do try and use AV and TV, but Manual is just plain old scary!

  22. I need this book! I do… because while I never use auto… I know so little about foto-graphy.
    My fiance is an amazing photographer – I would Love to impress him with a newly learned ability to communicate and translate things like aperature etc in his language. I inherited his D60 when he upgraded

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