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!

127 comments on “Say NO To Auto Book Review & Giveaway”

  1. I just very recently starting playing around with my manual setting. It has taken me almost 2 years of having this camera (I have an Olympus) to get there, so I’ve worked at a snail pace. The thing holding me back the most is time to learn about it. I have sooo much more to learn and would love this book!

  2. I don’t have a DSLR, but my biggest photography pet peeve in general is my camera being to slow to caputure what I want when it’s in motion. For example, the cat might look just right in this scratching pose, so I try to take a picture, but the camera only captures the cat after it’s done scratching and is getting out in an awkward blur.

  3. I use a completely manual camera and love it!

  4. And I liked Kristen!

  5. Yes, I have a DSLR and try to shoot on manual, but that requires me to use my brain, and sometimes I”m lazy so I slide it over to the evil green setting.

  6. I like Kristin Duke Photography on Facebook

  7. I Facebook like you!!

  8. I do shoot manual from time to time, whenever I have the time to really get into photographing. I like to ‘play’ with the different possibilities and see which ones work best in what condition (sunny/cloudy, noon/evening, inside/outside, …). I think the biggest challenge is to just know which shutterspeed or aperture works best on that exact moment, context, … immediately. It’s difficult, even when I’m working on it for some time. So when I see something that’s worth it to be captured but there are only some moments left, I use P, just because it’s so fast. I already tried with M but there were some times that the picture wasn’t good from the first or second try and by the third try the ‘moment’ was gone…

  9. I already follow you on twitter and tweeted about this wonderful give-away!

  10. I liked Kristen’s photography on facebook.

  11. I don’t have a dslr camera simply because, until recently, I haven’t had the need. I shoot manual all the time on my Canon Powershot and I get pretty good pics. I’m excited to upgrade to a dslr now that I have learned to use my point and shoot at its maximum capacity.

  12. I thnk my fear of manual just comes from the unknown. You know, like making yeast bread for the first time or making things that sound fancy like crepes or frittatas, but are really not. I just need that extra push methinks. Maybe if I win the book I can leave my manual using self in the dust.

    PS I thought I was being fancy playing with the aperture ;)

  13. I usually don’t shoot with manual, especially when photographing food inside – the lighting in my kitchen is soooo bad (need to fix this soon!), and it gets frustrating getting one blurry and out-of-focus image after another, that most times I just have enough and switch to auto (gasp!), with a flash.
    I would LOVE to win this book!

  14. Subscribed to Kristen’s RSS Feed

  15. Instagram following you (on my boyfriend’s account)

  16. And I’m pinterest following you :)

  17. Ha ha! If I’m sitting at home taking photos, I’ve started moving away from the auto settings. But when I’m out and about, I’ll leave it on auto because it takes me too long to figure out what manual setting I should be on.

  18. I also added Kristen’s blog to my feed reader!

  19. I play around with my settings, but it is SOO hard for me to get a good picture of my daughter who moves SO fast. I have GOT to learn how to that better :) Great giveaway..and as always your pictures are beautiful!!

  20. I shoot with a camera that is in between a P&S and a DSLR – the settings are like a DSLR (AV, P, M, S, some built-in modes), but the lens is not removeable. You can adjust the ISO and exposure and things like that too. I think the only reason it is technically still called a P&S is because of the lens.

    I would LOVE to win this book! My biggest challenge, really, is time. Finding the time to spend learning and practicing. Time….its always the hurdle!

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