Don’t Settle For Good When You Can Have Great

I will be the first to admit, Betty Crocker makes a damn good brownie.  Sure, there are tons of homemade recipes out there claiming to be “The Best”, but really, Betty’s perfected it, so when I need to make brownies, I grab a box of hers and make it because there is no guesswork; I know it will be good.  If I’m in the mood, I’ll throw in some peanut butter or Andes mint chips, but I’m not making a new recipe, I’m just improving the standard.

I will also admit, that when I got my first DSLR camera, I left it on Auto and trusted it to make beautiful pictures without my input.  If I felt like I needed some tweaking, I’d do some Photoshop and call it good.

Betty Crocker = DSLR.  Andes mint chips = Photoshop.  Get it? 😉

For a long time, like 3 years, I was OK with the quality of the pictures I shot in Auto mode.  Until I saw what the quality looked like with other settings.  My eyes were opened, and from that point on, I vowed to not just take pictures, but to try to compose artistic shots.

Here are some pictures taken on the day I was dinking with my camera’s setting for the first time.  I took a picture in Auto, then I switched to a mode that I had to set and took the exact same picture.  Then I compared the two.

Manual setting on the left, Auto on the right
Can you tell which is which?

Outside of Auto, the colors are richer and the details are more pronounced.  That was the last day I left my camera on Auto all the time.

It has been so much fun!  Of course, upgrading to a camera where I actually had to READ THE MANUAL (gasp!) helped a lot, too.  Sure, I could have fiddled all the knobs on my entry-level camera (Nikon D40), but I realized I had gotten lazy, and the best way to get me motivated to try something new is to challenge me.  Getting a new camera was the kickstart I needed to become a more thoughtful photographer.  That’s just me, though.  Do what works for you.

I would encourage anyone who has a camera (fancy-schmancy or otherwise) to take the time to learn how to do more than simply push the button on it.  I think you will be so surprised at what your camera is capable of that you will think of taking pictures as more than just the obligatory chronicling of memories.

I still have so much to learn, and I am looking forward to learning more now that I feel like photography isn’t just a means to an end, but a joy in itself.


  1. {nikki}

    Thanks for the blog love! It's coming along… I decided to pay a designer and I'm not done dinking with it yet. I have a feeling I will always want to add *something*. ::sigh::

    As for your camera, I won't get all bunched up since you said you avoid using the flash. :p… That makes a huge difference and most people don't even know it. All I know is after reading Scott Kelby's Digital Photography books (there are 3 short ones), my knowledge of my camera vastly improved. I would recommend those to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of what their camera is capable of. I still have so much to learn…

    When we all get our mugs, I think it would be fun to do a virtual “Cheers!” to toast your Bloggivarsary. Whatcha think about that?


  2. {cuppakim}

    look at the new fancy look on your blog 🙂 So fun!! 🙂

    i need to be better about manual too. i am just not fast enough, knowledgable enough to make the changes fast enough.

    i use it on auto. but auto, no flash of course. which i think counts a bit more?

    i watched the video on HOW to use my camera. but i still just don't get it.

    I think i need to take a class or something…

    PS thanks for signing up for the mug swap 🙂 woot woot!


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