Amazing Photography Resources I’ve Used

Earlier this week I had a discussion (in the comments section of her post) with a new blogging friend about taking great photos and becoming more comfortable with shooting in manual mode. It got me thinking about the topic, so I thought I’d share some of the resources that have helped me learn the ins and outs of my camera and get out of auto.


The first and most important piece of equipment is your camera’s manual. In it, you’ll find out about all of your automatic settings, how to usem, when to use them, and what they’ll actually do for you.


Probably the single most helpful and easy to understand tutorial I’ve found on the internet is a FREE series put together by a photographer named Darcy. It is a 31 day blog series on everything you NEED to know about using a camera and taking full control of your settings. You can find it by clicking here.

Darcy begins by explaining the correlation between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, and how each of these elements affects light or motion in a photograph. At the end of many of the daily posts, you are left with a fun and easy photo assignment related to the lesson learned in that post. I recommend it to everyone, and you can find it here. I still can’t believe that this series is free.

Here is an example of how I learned the effect that shutter speed had on the amount of light hitting the sensor:

shutter speedAnd, here is an example of how I learned the effect that aperture had on the amount of area that is in focus in an image:



Another mind-blowing Angel of the internet is Jared Polin, aka The Fro. He set out to change the way photography is taught and shared on the internet, and in my opinion, he has nailed it. With literally thousands of YouTube videos, a free guide to shooting in low light situations (that you receive when you sign up for his mailing list), and two paid tutorial videos (getting out of auto and fro flash guide for beginners), Fro has carved out a cool corner of the internet that helps regular people like me become better photographers.

B&H EVENT SPACE (YouTube Channel)

Again, thousands of presentations on every photography related topic you can think of, presented by experts in the photography business. There are too many favorites to list here, so I’ll do some follow-up posts on some of my favorite presentations. For now, you can access the amazing goodness that is the B&H Event Space here.

Whether you’re a beginner hobbyist or a thirty year veteran in the business, you’re sure to find some value in these amazing resources.

I’d love to hear about some other great resources out there. How did you learn how to take better photos? Who have you turned to for the most amazing photography tips?

Photo Assignment #3: Depth of Field

I’m not sure if I’ve conveyed how much I love this photo series, so let me say it now… I LOVE IT!!! And have I mentioned it’s free? Amazing!

My first two posts documented my experiences learning about the roles of shutter speed and ISO in the photo exposure process. The third and final exercise in the introductory section of the 31 Days to a Better Photo series focuses on depth of field… Get it? Pun was totally not intended, honestly.

For this assignment my subject was a thrilling and wildly exciting fence post. Let’s dig in, shall we.

The assignment…

1. Set camera to aperture priority mode
2. Open the aperture fully and take a pic
3. Move to the next largest aperture and take a pic

Note: it is recommended to do this exercise using a tripod so the subject remains on the same plain for reach shot.

Note Note: I didn’t use a tripod 🙂 But, I did brace myself on the large pillar at the end of the fence. Would that be called a human tripod?

The test shots…

067 (640x425)

F/3.5 (the largest aperture setting on my kit lens),1/1600 sec, ISO 200

068 (640x425)

F/4, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200

071 (640x425)

F/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 200

074 (640x425)

F/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

077 (640x425)

F/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 200

080 (640x425)

F/16, 1/100 sec, ISO 200

083 (640x425)

F/22, 1/60 sec, ISO 250

Final thoughts…

Though my kit lens doesn’t stop down to an extremely large aperture, it does produce a nice background blur (or bokeh as I’ve recently learned). I really like the bokeh at the larger apertures. Then, as my aperture got smaller more of the background came into focus until F/22 where everything in the image is pretty well in focus. It was also interesting to see the shutter speed slow down by almost half in most of the photos as the aperture got smaller, while the ISO remained constant until the final photo where it increased slightly.

Depth of field is a new concept to me. Having always used a point and shoot camera, I have never been able to achieve this look in my photos. Since getting my camera last year, I’ve played with depth of field a LOT, perhaps too much, but oh well.

Next, we learn about exposure compensation and in-camera metering. Two things I know absolutely nothing about. Then, I think we’re given a little solo assignment where we have to go out and shoot some stuff using what we’ve learned in manual mode.

Until next time…

Photo Assignment #2: Relationship Between ISO & Shutter Speed

Our second assignment is all about ISO and its relationship with shutter speed.

From my understanding, ISO is the digital equivalent to film speed. By increasing the ISO, you are better able to shoot in lower light situations. But also, as you increase the ISO, you begin to see more noise or graininess in the images. Though it may produce poorer quality prints, I think that there are some who like the effect. It also gives your images a bit more of a film feel. Now, being a newbie to all of this, what I’ve just written may not make any sense at all… but I’ll learn.

The assignment…

  1. Set the camera to program mode (this allows you to have control over the ISO, while the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed
  2. Set the camera to its lowest ISO (for me, that’s 200)
  3. Take a pic and note the shutter speed
  4. Double the ISO, take a pic and note the shutter speed… And repeat

ISO 200…


f/9, 1/1250 (at 31mm)

ISO 400…


f/10, 1/1600 (at 31mm)

ISO 800…


f/13, 1/2500 (at 31mm)

ISO 1600…


f/14, 1/3200 (at 31mm)

ISO 3200…


f/18, 1/4000 (at 31mm)

ISO 6400…


f/25, 1/4000 (at 31mm)

ISO 12800…


f/25, 1/4000 (31mm)

I know, it’s a bench. Not a very exciting photo set. Stick with me though, the photos will get better eventually.

Final thoughts…

As you can see, for each increase in ISO, the camera compensated by increasing the shutter speed, and reducing the aperture. Again, a higher ISO lets more light hit the sensor, so the camera balanced that by quickening the shutter and reducing the size of the aperture.

Wow, I just learned a little more about the relationship between the three elements – ISO, shutter, and aperture.

Now, because my camera is not a pro grade camera, my max shutter speed is 1/4000. At this point, the photos began to look blown out (or over exposed) and gradually lost detail. On reflection, I guess this exercise was also a good way to help me understand the limitations of my equipment.

Ok, I’m off to tackle assignment #3… depth of field. I love the look of photos with blurry backgrounds so I’m really excited about this one.