It was on a crisp and sunny President's Day I met Debbie with her new Nikon D5100 for our first DSLR Photography Lesson together in downtown St. Petersburg. Debbie had a Fuji bridge camera before that she had extensive experience with photographing people. However, she was mostly using it on auto-mode, and likewise, when she got the D5100 she was staying in auto-mode. DSLRs do not work well at all in auto-mode, they like to be told what to do. The very first goal during my 1-on-1 photography lessons is to get people off auto-mode and to start taking more control over their photographs.
Even though Debbie already had photography knowledge, I added some organization to that with my 4-step method of getting the settings right for any given shot and also helping her just get familiar with changing those four things on her D5100. We started out using aperture priority mode, but it did not take long to find the limits of using it in the harsh mid-day Florida sunlight. Aperture priority mode was a good starting point for making a landscape shot of The Pier and Tampa Bay, but it was choosing too slow of a shutter speed. By switching to manual mode and doubling the speed from 1/100th to 1/200th the results were much deeper blues in the sky, more details in the clouds and just an overall more dynamic image. That is the power of taking control of your DSLR.
Debbie gets to travel often for her work, giving her lots of different photography opportunities. I look forward to seeing her images taken in aperture and manual modes!