On Sunday, I shot a few pictures with Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It was not my camera. My camera is a less powerful one, Canon EOS 550D. The advantage I have is a good lens which helps me to zoom into subjects from a great distance. I have to thank my friend and guide for picking the right camera and lens that will last for a while. So, the Canon EOS 5D was handed over to me in order to take the pictures of it's owner and family. I gladly obliged. The camera and lens together weighed more than my gear. I had to balance myself like a pro. But I was disappointed after the experience.
I wasn't disappointed with the camera but with what the owner is doing with the camera. He was letting the camera do all the work. In Canon, there is a feature which automatically pick up the subjects. After enabling this feature, your job is easy. Point and click. That is all you have to do. But if you only point and click, why do you invest on a such a costly camera? It is a waste of money.
Even the lowest model of point and click comes in two modes. I say it because I have learnt a few tricks in the past few months. I know exactly the kind of mistakes I have committed since 2003 after I bought my first camera. These two modes are denoted in a Canon as Av and Tv. To simplify, these are aperture mode and shutter speed mode respectively. My advice is to take a second look at your camera. Use these modes. If you do not have a Canon, learn to turn on these modes by reading the manual that comes with the camera. Forget the jokes about the user manuals. The manual are very informative.
Use the aperture mode on static objects. When the subject, be it your kid or friend or spouse, is not moving, this is the best option. Like the one who taught me the ropes says, get the eyes correct. The eyes have to be sharp.
Use the shutter speed mode when you are shooting action. If you have no subjects for this, ask your friend to jump up. There you have an action to shoot. Find a long haired girl. Ask her to shake her head thereby making the hair dance. There is an action shot.
Once again, don't let the camera decide what is being photographed. You are the leader. As a leader, take charge. Instruct your camera on what needs to be accomplished. Once you master these modes, you will generate an appetite to better your photographs. Then, my friends, the real journey starts.