Getting off auto

I love my camera, you may remember I wrote a post and gave reasons why you should own one.  I still stand by it as I love it and I love that it has intelligent auto.  I would however love to use it better and understand what is happening.  Whilst I do play around with the different features, I want to understand more of why that happens and how I can recreate something again.

This weekend I attended a photography course held at  Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Sheffield and run by professional photographer Pandora Maund who runs Going Digital Yorkshire.  You can read more about the day here and pick up some photography tips.  I was keen to learn more about my camera and what it could do.

I arrived a little late after misreading the start time as 11.30 and not 11, that will teach me to double check things, but crept into the back of the room and sat on the Panasonic table.  As I glanced around at all the others in the room I began to feel that my little TZ55 was out of place against all these huge professional looking cameras.  I soon forgot all about this when we got stuck into the practical workshop.  I came to the conclusion that I need to learn how to use the TZ55 first before splashing out on a camera with inter changeable lens, just to stick that on Auto too.  I was re assured by one of the team that my camera was more than adequate and I began to get stuck in.

I learnt about ISO, shutter speeds, aperture and white balance.  I had no idea my camera was capable of so much.  I filled in my cheat sheet, which now accompanies me where I go, and then we headed outside to put into practise what we had learnt.

First it was Portrait shots.  

My lovely friend Serena from Bewildered Bug was my model and she unfortunately got stuck taking pictures of me.  I tried both zoom and only a little zoom.  The idea was to keep Serena in focus but the background blur.

I then moved onto finding 3 subjects in a row and altering the focal point to change the emphasis on the image.  This was something I was struggling with as although I understood the technique, I could not really see much difference on the image itself.  I can tell slight changes on the images on my computer.  I guess I have learnt that I need to adjust to a focus slightly further away than picking objects too close together.  

Our final challenge was to take a Large depth of field photo.  This is to keep everything in focus in the photo.  I had a wander around the football stadium and noticed everyone taking similar photos of the ground, but this wasn't really helping my creative side.  I did find a part of the stadium which framed the ground but I wanted something different.  I went for a bit of a walk.

Just behind one of the stands is a beautiful view of the city, which I really wanted to take a photo of.  Given more time I would have concentrated on this.  However I also really liked the street below.  I aimed to get the bottom corner of the road in the bottom corner of the picture.  I wish I had taken another with the houses starting in the bottom corner.

I had a lovely day and was keen to practise my skills when I got home.  So much so the poor dog was made to pose.

The first one I took came out a little blurry, so I adjusted the ISO until I could get him less blurry.

I played around with several ISO until I was happy with the image.  I then tried to take a close up profile photo to get the background blurred.  

I liked the image but thought it was a bit dark, so re took after altering the exposure.

Whilst I can appreciated that the higher ISO has made the image a little grainy, I like the way that it makes this photo look.  I think it adds something to the character of J.

I am feeling more armed in my photo taking and keen to keep practising.  Hopefully you might see some improvement in my images.  This is a skill I have been wanting to improve on for some time and it is one I will keep practising.

I would love to know what you think of the photos and if you have any tips!

This day I love getting off auto

You May Also Like


  1. I have a beautiful camera and I myself can't get off auto. Im hoping to take some classes soon to learn the basics. Beautiful shots!

    1. Thank you. I would recommend Pandora her class was really useful and well paced

  2. Well done. I really like the shot of the football ground a very different composition to some of the others on the day :-)

    1. Thank you. I liked the way the stand and stair framed the ground, I moved around quite a bit to get the frame.

  3. Love the photo of J! I am starting a photography course myself and hoping to learnt to use my camera better as I love photos x


This day I love comments and I read everyone