Hey Everyone! Hope y'all are doing great this week. This week I want to talk about learning how your equipment works. Everyone loves to get new equipment, especially me. Sometimes the equipment isn't as simple to use as we might think. So we need to learn how to use the equipment before we take it out on a photoshoot. A photoshoot isn't the time to learn the new equipment. Not knowing how to use your equipment is embarrassing and very frustrating. We all want to take and make great photography, but being a good photographer is more than just vision. We must also be a technician to operate our cameras and the associated equipment. To some people this comes easier than for others. I tend to be a very technical photographer. But others are more artistic and less technical. Being artistic is super, but the artist in us must make the effort to be more technical. So how does one become more technical when it doesn't come naturally? Well here goes a few tips that might help.
1. Find someone that knows about your equipment. Maybe they have the same piece of equipment that you have or something similar. Ask them to teach you one-on-one. Maybe you can help them with a photoshoot where they might have the time to show you exactly how the items that you're trying to learn work. Let's use off-camera flash for example. They could show you how to set up the lights and put them on the stand, go through the settings on the lights themselves and how to make the triggers talk to each other. Maybe how to use a light meter to set up the lights and your camera. One-on-one instruction is always a good place to start.
2. I almost hate to say this one, but read the manual. Most complicated equipment comes with a manual that will take you step by step on how to set up and use the equipment. Sometimes this is a hard read, so take your time and go slow. Even if I know how to use the equipment, if I haven't used it in a while I'll read it again just to get familiar with it, especially if I have a photoshoot coming up where I'll be using it. Just like having all of your batteries charged, it's good to get your mind in the game before a big shoot.
3. I am a big YouTube fan. You can find out how to do almost anything on YouTube, from changing the brakes on your car to setting up a photoshoot with food. This is a good place to learn your equipment and maybe get some inspiration on how to set up or use your equipment. Also online tutorials. Places like CreativeLive have lots of camera-specific tutorials that take you through every part of your camera settings and how your specific camera works.
As you can see, I'm a big fan of knowing how to use your equipment. I must confess, I don't know everything that I should about my equipment, usually just enough to get it to work the way I want it to. Think about your own camera. Do you know all there is to know about it? I sure don't. So if I want a new camera, I just need to get in the manual and learn about my camera and I'll have a new camera that can do what I didn't know it could. I think if you know your equipment and how to operate it, you will be a better photographer because the technology will be second-hand and you can devote all of your thoughts to your subject and not your camera or gear. So until next week, get your gear out and shoot! And get outside!