From Clicking to Creating
From Clicking to Creating – Week 3 of 2018
This week the Dogwood 52 challenge is a technical one, shooting in full manual mode. This is their definition of the technical category for the year.
Technical: Technical Aptitude is just as important as creative inspiration in photography. This year’s technical category is primarily focused on in camera processes, however, there will be some post processing techniques included.
This is quite possibly one of the hardest things to master for most new photographers. Getting yourself away from the comfort zone of the Auto button can be intimidating. When I first started shooting a lot with my DSLR, I would do it in Aperture priority mode. This gave me some control, and the camera some control. Then a few years ago I was shooting with a friend of mine who has been a professional photographer for years. He said something that made perfect sense, and changed my view of full manual mode shooting. He said, the more control you can take away from the camera, the less things it has to think about to make the photo. Makes sense right? So I practiced, and learned some more and now shooting in manual is just second nature for me.
This weeks challenge for me was how to tweak those manual settings, and make the photo that I wanted. Controlling the aperture and shutter speed can create some fun, and artistic results that you could never get from shooting in Auto.
For this image of Torrey running at me I wanted a slow shutter speed to give it some artistic blur. This was shot with a shutter speed of 1/20 which is fairly slow. Since I was shooting in the early evening I had to adjust the aperture too, or I would have just made a blown out way too bright photo. So I stopped down, or closed, the aperture to reduce the amount of light hitting the lens. I shot this with an aperture of f/22. A high aperture, also increases depth of field, notice Roxy in the background. My ISO was 100 for this shot. So by taking full control of the camera, I was able to create this interesting image.
The 2 Lil Owls this week is Out of Focus. This is another example of shooting in manual mode. My shutter speed for this image of the hummingbird hovering was 1/640, not even remotely fast enough to freeze the wing beats of these guys. The aperture is f/6.5 which gives that shallow depth of field. My ISO was 900. I like how everything but the wings is in focus.
I encourage you to experiment, and learn how to use manual mode. In can be the difference between getting the perfect shot, and one that’s not so great.
Lightroom tips this week are more about organizing your photos, than editing. Lightroom is a wonderful tool to organize all your images, and make them easy to find. This is just one way to accomplish this, and I will talk about more organizing in future posts.
One thing that can be done on import, is to give your photos specific keywords. I like to go through all my images after a particular shoot. Generally, all these photos will be of the same thing, like the hummingbirds, and I can tag them at import. When you are in the import part of lightroom, go to the right, like we did last week, and add keywords to the box as shown. I like to add year, what it is, where we are, or anything else that makes sense to me. So add keywords that make sense to you.
(Click on the images to enlarge)
You can also add keywords to photos that are already in lightroom. In the library module, go to the box on the right and add your keywords. Lightroom will learn what tags you use, and have them there to pick from if you want.
If you forget to add the keywords at import…I do that all the time….you can easily batch add keywords this way. In the library module add tags to a single photo. Then pick all the photos you want to add these same keywords too by doing click>shift until all the photos are highlighted.
Then click Sync metadata, and this box will pop up. At the bottom of the list is “keywords”. Make sure this is checked, and click synchronize. And magically, all the photos have the same keywords.
So why is the helpful? Because now you can search for any specific keywords, and only those images will show in your lightroom. The search field is at the very top of lightroom. Click on text, enter your keyword, or keywords, in the box on the right, and only those images can be seen. I have almost 9000 images in my lightroom, and this narrows it right down for me when I want to view specific images.
There are other ways to tag, and search for images and I will cover those too in future posts.
I guess lightroom can be like shooting in manual mode, so many things to learn about, but so worth it once you do.
I hope this post was helpful. Be sure to come back and revisit these From Clicking to Creating posts and go through the comments. We are having photographers share their images, and blog posts with their images in the comments. If you give feedback through a reply in the comments, the original commentor will get an email with your response. It’s always fun to get positive feedback on an image you have made.
Hello Mary!!!!! OK, so much good stuff here….
Two years ago, I took a photo class at the Minneapolis Photo Center, just near my house. It was fantastic. It’s there that I too was taught to get out and STAY OUT of Automatic. I however, have been trying to shoot in AV and have used TV mode a few times, but Manual mode scares me. What I need is more time to figure things out but I will do it.
Yesterday was fun, as I stayed home for the holiday. I learned a few things about Presets; I downloaded my first free one and figured out how to open it up (something I didn’t know how to do until after a few clicks) and I finally discovered the Presets already in LR, another thing I didn’t know. I was very pleased to see the results of some experiments I did yesterday. I also got a backdrop support system, FINALLY, so now I can convert some rooms in my home with good lighting into studios. I walked away feeling great that I learned something new on my day off.
SO much to learn! Thanks for the great tips!
You had an amazingly productive day! Presets is something I want to cover in the future too, there are so many options out there. If you are shooting in AV mode, then jumping to manual is a pretty easy step.
Learning manual mode was a real challenge. Mom too started with the different modes to get comfortable using each one and finally made the jump to full manual. Now it is easy for her too. Sometimes she forgets to adjust something after the last photo shoot which can be a disaster, but we just redo whatever it was. Manual has really been the best for capturing motion for us. We never save photos in photo programs, just on our computer and back up drive. We have a filing system that works for that, but it would be great to use tags if we were going to save online.
Lightroom is actually a program that lives on your computer. All my photos are in a lightroom folder, that the program accesses. I also can back them up to hard drive, just to be safe. There is a cloud based lightroom, but I have no interest in using that one. And ya, I think we all forget to change settings from one time to the next.
Hello Mary, thanks for all the tips. I always enjoy your photos and post. The tags and keywords are very helpful when your are searching for a photo.
I am sorry I did not do better with my backup photos. Enjoy your day!
Both photos are beautifully capture, Mary. Increasing the depth of field made the first photo very interesting. I hope to get to practice on this setting. The H bird is an exceptional shot!
Thank you for the tip of using Lr. This one is very useful. :)
I am always i awe of your eye — and now to have an understanding of your process makes your photos even richer in depth and context!
Love the photo of the hummingbird!
This challenge isn’t very far along and I can see I’m going to be in trouble! I have a photo for this week’s challenge, but the idea is still very much on my mind so I expect I’ll continue to shoot for this week’s challenge even as the following week’s challenges are presented. That will make for a very busy year of photography! But that’s the point isn’t it? To think about these ideas and how to execute them to the best of your ability. I am so glad I decided to go along for the journey! My photo for “Out of Focus” can be found at https://photos.smugmug.com/2018-52-Week-Photography-Project/i-KHgb9ZM/0/c311fed0/X3/2018%2003%20Out-Of-Focus-X3.jpg
I am trying a new photo storage option so I hope the navigation works well. My photo for this week was initially a thought to reminisce about Christmas and try to make a dreamy, moody photo using this decoration friends from Germany sent us this year. As I was playing around with the settings (I also challenged myself to use manual mode from the get-go) I noticed my “out of focus” reflection in the silver ornament. I thought, aha! I don’t know if that really fits the bill for the challenge, but it was fun for me.
It’s good that the challenge gets you thinking about other ways to photograph. I know when I did these challenges last year, I would get my shot for the week, and a few weeks later see something that would have been even better. It’s your photo journey, so basically you can do whatever you want. I always look ahead at what’s coming up, then I see something that will work for say 3 weeks down the line, then I have it. I think the image you made is perfect for the out of focus idea. And, I’m glad you have joined in on the journey too. :-)
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I agree with you that it’s important to learn how to use manual mode. I started photographing back when that was there was, so it’s in my backbone these days. However, most of the time I do use automatic mode, and only change to manual for difficult situations. Excellent photos, Mary, I am particularly impressed by the hummingbird.
I love that hummer photo – like you said, he’s totally in focus except for his wings! Great!!!
I taught myself manual mode by using auto mode, reading off its choices for settings, then switching to manual mode and putting in the same settings. Then, I’d try changing one thing at a time to see how it affected my image. Like you, manual is now second-nature to me.
I do still use aperture-priority mode to get starting settings for scenes that I’m unsure of. Then, I switch over to manual using the camera’s chosen settings (and tweaking them).
The keyword hints are great! It is SO helpful to be able to search via keyword.
I saw on your first one of these posts for the year that we could put instagram links in the comments to our dogwood challenge photos. I tend to not use IG because I don’t know how to upload from my laptop. Do you email your photos to yourself and then upload or do you have a different trick?
That’s a great way to learn manual mode, and something I have done in the past too.
You can place links in the comments from online sharing places, like Flickr, or 500px.
Instagram, I created a hashtag #fromclickingtocreating so we can share there and see them all in the hashtag. I upload my photos to google drive from my computer. I can then open drive on my phone to access them for IG. Or….. you upload the photo to facebook, then open facebook on your phone and click on the photo. In the top right corner there are 3 little dots, tap those and external sharing options opens up. I use this method quite a bit, because I can copy the text I wrote in the facebook post, then paste it into IG, share the photo, and done.
Susie sent me! I met you at her blog party.
Like you, I love photography. I am always trying to improve my photography both as a blogger and yearbook teacher. My favorite here is the single photo of the colorful bird.
Maybe you can check out my blog.
I write about how bloggers can be successful.
Recently, I published https://www.mostlyblogging.com/improve-blog-traffic/
I also have blog parties like Susie.
I’m off to share your post.
I don’t see social share buttons, but I followed you on Twitter.
Nice post…very informative. I’m trying to teach myself photography and how to use my new DSLR……I had no idea it was so complicated ! Will look forward to following you and picking up more tips! :-). And by the way, “Susie Sent Me”…..
Hi Mary! Susie sent me from the dance party on her blog post today. Love these photos and the others on your site. I’m a full time teacher so blogging and photography come in my spare time. I love learning from other photographers and can relate to the journey from automatic to manual. I’ve been shooting manual for awhile now, but my next challenge is Lightroom. I keep saying I’ll take it on “soon”! =] Your tips are certainly helpful for someone like me!
I was very into photography when I was younger, and back then I wouldn’t have dreamed of shooting in anything but manual mode! I understood all of it. Then I didn’t do much with it for years, and now for some reason it all just seems so daunting to get my brain around, and way too easy to just rely on my camera to do the work. But it doesn’t always do the job I want it to, so I know I need to take more control. Maybe one of these days!
Dropping by from Susie’s blog party. My gal bought me a camera for Christmas as I am interested in photography. Noe I just have to learn how to use it. Posts like these are informative.