1. How to control my focus. It’s such an easy fix in your camera but I didn’t know I could even fix it.  I used to just continually hit the shutter button halfway until my camera picked what I wanted it to pick.  If my subject was off to the side, forget about it!

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(When shooting portraits, I’m always aiming my focus point on the eyes.  If the eyes aren’t in focus, the photo looks out of focus even if part of it is in focus.  Our eyes are always drawn to the eyes.)

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2. How much fun it is to shoot slow shutter speeds. I hated the hassle of a tripod so I just ignored that capability in my camera.  Once I figured out all the cool shots I was missing from light painting to motion blur, I quickly bought a tripod…and then another tripod because I went cheap the first time (don’t go cheap!).

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3. What my camera meter does for me. When I was first learning, I didn’t know that if I had my camera in one of the Creative Modes besides Manual (A, S, P on Nikon and Sony or Av, Tv and P on Canon) that my exposure could change depending on what my camera took the meter reading from – what surface, what color etc..  If I set my camera to spot meter in my metering mode, I could really change the exposure by simply picking a bright object to meter off.  If I picked a dark object, the camera would give me more light.  (in the shot below, I metered off the back wall in order to have the girls in silhouette)

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4. That “F-Stop” and “aperture” are the same thing. It’s a little embarrassing now to admit this but I just didn’t know that.  Now that I teach photography, I tell people that in my classes and there is never a class that someone doesn’t go “oh!” and write it down so I know that many beginners who aren’t aware of this.

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5. Using the best light. I had no idea how dynamic light was until I became a photographer.  It can be hard or soft, warm or cool.  It can come from one direction or many.  I used to shot more based on the background, now I find the best light regardless of the background.  I’ve found the reflection off concrete in a junky parking lot can give a stunning portrait whereas shooting in a lovely park where I’m getting reflections of green grass can look not so great on people’s faces.

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One of the many things I love about photography is that I’m always learning something new.  I hope these tips help you learn something new and help you GetOffAuto!