Photographers: KNOW your CAMERA

One of the things you can do to make yourself a better photographer is to know your camera.  And the way to do that is to handle it.  When you’re idle, just watching a TV show or movie, sit with it in your handles.  Fiddle with the controls.  Flip through the menus.

Learn your camera like a soldier learns to assemble his rifle blindfolded.  This will prevent fumbling during tense situations (spot news for example) and help your overall confidence.  Being confident means being competent.

Years ago when I first got my Minolta Maxxum 7000 I sat with it whenever I could.  I knew the controls inside out.  In fact, if someone handed me that camera now, 15 years later, I’d probably still know how to adjust everything.

Knowing your camera is especially important while attending a workshop.  We usually shoot manually, using a shutter speed to sync with our flashes, and an f-stop to balance.  Sometimes we even change the White Balance (WB) to cool down or warm up a model’s skin.  It’s important to know how to do this ahead of time so that you can concentrate on what is being taught at the moment, and also not to slow down the class or distract the instructor.  Every camera has slightly different ways to set these and it’s likely the instructor may have to hunt and peck for your settings too.

Know how to adjust these controls without thinking:

  • Shutter Speed
  • F-Stop/Aperture
  • White Balance
  • Exposure Compensation

And know the relationship one has on another.  Do this and you will boost your confidence.  Boost your confidence and you’ll create better images.