I met Amy on a rather warm spring St. Petersburg morning for our first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson. Amy has been doing paid work with her Canon 7D for sometime, but was looking to learn from our lesson some of the very practical tips and tricks for how to make better photographs that are not found in books, videos or even in a photography classroom. Since I am a self-taught photographer with years of expeirence I have a lot of real-world photogrpahy practices I can share with my students to not just improve the final results of their photographs, but how to make it easier to produce a good photo before ever pushing the shutter.
Amy had been shooting in "P" mode on her Canon 7D after receiving some bad advice from another photographer. With her experience and with the subject matter she shoots I told her she should be shooting in manual mode exclusively, which is where we set our exposure dials for the entire lesson. To further polish her professional way of shooting I turned off the "beep" on her 7D when getting a focus lock which is a most unwelcome sound when photographing in a quiet setting. Then I showed her my very stable way of shooting by placing the left palm under the lens and shooting from a near sideways feet apart position allowing for both elbows to be against the body for support.
We finished the lesson at one of the two famous banyan trees in North Straub Park. We started using her Canon 430 EX II Speedlight on the camera as she usually shoots, but then moved to using the Canon 7D's built-in remote flash trigger ability to get the speedlight off camera.
I look forward to seeing how Amy applies all the things we practiced and discussed today in her future work. If you live in or near Plant City, Amy's photography website can be found here.