Pam using her significant crafts and sewing skills to make products (aprons, etc) that she sells and uses the profits from to buy photography gear! I think it is a great way to support one artistic pursuit with another. She started out with a Canon XTi, but now has a Canon 60D along with a growing list of lenses and the Canon 430 EX II Speedlite. She brought both to our first of four DSLR Photography Lessons last night.
Pam was already knowledgeable of most photography terms so we focused on what exposure mode is best to use for a given situation. We started out using aperture priority mode, but with the overcast skies taking away the light faster than usual during our evening lesson, we soon used manual mode.
We experimented to find out what was the slowest shutter speed Pam could handhold and maintain a sharp image using her 18-55mm lens. In my mind I want at least 1/60th of a second using an absolutely stable shooting style. It is possible to shoot with a slower shutter speed, as Pam was able to get a sharp shot even at 1/30th, but one has to be really careful and of course be shooting only still subjects.
As a thunderstorm approached that turned out to be all bark and no bite, we concluded the lesson with some flash portrait practice under the cover of the entrance to the Chihuly Museum on Beach Drive. I told Pam the key thing to keep in mind when setting up a portrait using flash, which is the flash lights the subject and the aperture/shutter speed control the ambient light (background light).