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Do you have dreams and aspirations to become a photographer? A life where you can be creative and work on your own terms? It is possible, even if you know nothing about photography yet. Just look at Jenna Kutcher and Jasmine Star, both extremely successful, both started as photographers and both knew nothing about how to use their camera at the start.  I was listening to an early episode of Jenna’s Goal Digger podcast the other day where she shared how she wished she had learned more about how to use her camera when she started. So this post is going back to basics. I’m going to share how I learned to use my camera on manual mode to help you on your journey to learn how to become a photographer.

The beast that is the camera manual

I started where most people probably start – the camera manual. I am pretty good with instructions in general. Give me a piece of flat pack furniture with the instructions and I’m your girl. I love that stuff!

Camera manuals are beasts, but if you don’t understand the fundimentals of photography your diving into this instruction manual somewhat blind and a lot of it goes over your head. Which is what happened to me when I read it (ok, a small part of it before I gave up confused!)

Digital Photography Books

My next stop was to buy a couple of digital photography books. These books helped me understand a little better but I still found them to be very technical and I didn’t feel confident to switch to manual yet. Maybe some of it sank in but I didn’t feel it at the time.

A Beautiful Mess DSLR basics course

I bought this course back in 2015 so I can’t remember exactly why I decided to give it a go. What I do remember is going through the course and suddently feeling like it all made sense.

The photography fundimenals were explained so well and even though the ABM girls were using a Canon, I could figure all of it out for my Nikon pretty easily with a little help from the beast (the manual) to find the correct settings. By taking the course, I knew what I was looking for in the manual!

Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of lighting or a different photography subject. It was explained in a simple way, that helped me to understand what I need to do to get the best from my camera on manual mode, based on the kind of picture I wanted to take.

Course Contents

  • Common photography terms with explanations
  • Basic gear and explanations of common lenses
  • When to use auto mode
  • Achieving great focus
  • Rules of composition (and when to break them!)
  • Understanding shutter speed
  • Understanding aperture and F-stops
  • Understanding ISO
  • Metering light and using histograms
  • How to white balance
  • How to use reflectors like a pro
  • Five techniques to add mystery and drama to your photos
  • How to photograph with backlighting and lens flare
  • How to develop your personal photography style
  • How to photograph interiors & room tours
  • How to photograph new borns and babies
  • The basics of portrait photography
  • Tips for great food photography & styling
  • Five ways to get creative with self portraits
  • How to photograph landscapes and nature
  • How to take great photos while you travel
  • How to photograph children
  • How to photograph still life or product photography
  • BONUS: How to set your camera cheat sheet

I can’t recommend this course enough if you are looking to understand your camera. I have bought a lot of courses over the years and this one was the best value.  The family photos and memories I have captured as a result of knowing how to use my camera is worth the price of the course 10 times over alone.

Questions about this course?

If you have any questions about this course. Feel free to ask them in the comments below or to message me on Instagram and I will be happy to anwer them for you.

Some of my photos taken in manual

This post contains some affiliate links: This means if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase that I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.



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