I'm Ready to Give Up!

On getting everyone at church and staying at church. We actually got there but only made it 40 minutes because Jimmy has a horribly upset stomach. Come on!! One thing with Brett having a calling (a job in the church) and me having a calling which requires us to be there and actually be doing stuff, it means that one of us is at home with the sick kid even though we both need to be there. Katelyn always offers to stay with Jimmy when he's sick, but I really don't like the idea of her being home and missing church. It's a lose, lose and I have no idea how to handle it. :( My friend, Kim, offered to watch him; but I don't want to share sick germs with my friends. What kind of friend does that make me? ARG!!!

Hey, I have a question for my blog readers. I've had my Nikon D50 for a while now, and I really have no idea how to use it. Terrible confession, but it's true. Thank goodness for Autofocus because it has been a great camera for a non professional. But I'm tired of having a great camera and not really understanding photography. I'm ready to take my photos to the next level.

So I've been doing some research about photography classes. I'm dying to take one from Karen Russell, but I don't know that I can justify spending the price. Oh I'm sure her class is TOTALLY worth it, but it's hard to spend that kind of cash with other life expenses. I got this book for Christmas, but it's Greek to me. I start reading it and half way through the page I have no clue what I'm reading and my brain turns off. I need something MUCH more simple to get me started.

I really haven't figured out the whole correct exposure, ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed thing. I know what they mean and what they should do; but I don't get how to make them work.

So I'm looking at some books from Amazon to help me: this one and this one.

But do you guys have other recommendations? I am really read to take better photos. I know I'm capable, I just need a language translation from a true professional. :) And I like the idea of step-by-step instructions so that I can practice what I'm learning. If you have a book or an online class that's cheap--yeah right, to recommend please share!! I would love that. :)


  1. www.clickinmoms.com

    I just rejoined there since I am getting frustrated with the auto setting on my camera too.

    There is a ton of info but it is in forum format but only $8 a month.

    Maggie Holmes offers a class...starts tomorrow cheaper than the Russel class and I have heard great reviews.

    I would definetly take Maggie's if $$$ wasn't an issue.

    Good Luck and Happy New Year.

  2. I love Scott Kelby's books.
    he's very funny and explains things in an easy to understand way.

  3. Jen, I have the same camera and the same book - and the same problem! I think part of it helps if you can use the camera and the book together - my issues is when i am taking pics in "real life" - i can't stop and wait for any of that!!! i am definately interested in these reponses!!!

  4. I have taken maggie's class and finally learned how to shoot in manual!! I still have a lot to learn, but I haven't gone back to auto since! Highly recommend her class:)
    Also, anything with Scott Kelby. Very easy to understand!

  5. helen w2:36 PM

    try the Magic Lantern books, they make one specific for each brand/model of cameras. Helps you know the ins and outs of your own camera before branching out to more general photography books.

  6. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I bought that Understanding Exposure too when I first got started a few years ago, and it is not for beginners! I have been at this for a few years, so now it makes sense to me! Everything I have learned, I learned on Two Peas' Photography boards...it can be a bit intimidating at first, but I have asked a lot of questions and bookmarked a lot of advice- I am sure you have seen the 12 week photography class there too, right? That is full of great info too! I have thought about Karen or Maggie's classes, but I can't fork out the money right now! Two Peas Photog. board has really been a blessing to me! Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO and raw are not foreign terms to me anymore!

  7. Jen,
    I am in the exact same spot as you! I'm thinking about taking this class http://www.jessicasprague.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.pbv.tabs.tpl&product_id=14&category_id=18&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=85 on jessicasprague.com - It is the beginning digital SLR class. I have had my Nikon D40...for not being able to use it any where near as well as I know it can.

    Thanks so much for making this post. I'm going to check out some of the other suggestions too.


  8. I took a night school class this fall and after the first class I was SO confused. My head was spinning with trying to figure out shutter speed and ISO, so I came home and found this website on the internet. On the upper right hand corner there are a bunch of videos from beginner to intermediate.


  9. Jen, I have a D80 and I have a few suggestions for you about websites. I always shoot manual, I feel like I'm cheating if I don't!LOL

    Ken Rockwell's site may not look impressive but he knows a ton about Nikons. Just understanding your camera helps a ton. Really you need to spend some time on his site.


    Also this site is really helpful as well.


    The discussion boards are excellent!

    Good luck and please don't give up!

    The main thing I will tell you is to learn your camera menu and setting and practice like crazy!

  10. I was going to suggest that same book but I guess that's not much help :-) One of the things I found useful was to buy the cameras expanded manual(goes into much more detail about the why and how's than the regular manual) and sit it on my lap with my camera and play with it while reading, experementing with each setting as I went along. The twopeas photography section was also a fantastic help when I was getting off the auto setting and thanks to them I now shoot almost every thing in M. Not that my shots are always great but at least I can now deal with tricky lighting situations etc and over all I much happier with them. I read someone above also mentioned a Jessica Sprague class, I did her PS intro class and it was fab. Love that the videos are there all the time to go back to as you need and she explains things in 'real' terms, also being quite a visual learner seeing the steps rather than just reading about them was helful.
    Good luck with whatever way you decide to go :-)

  11. i took maggie's class earlier this year and it was TOTALLY worth the $$. no book could help me, it just wouldn't click. no pun intended. ;)

  12. Oh, gosh!!! You describing how you feel about your camera is me to a capital T!!! LOL! I will be watching what people suggest! Thanks for asking this question! ;) :D :D :D

  13. I am exactly like you and I gave in and i'm going to take Karen Russell's class but as an auditing student-which is cheaper. You still get the lessons and the binder and printed out lessons. You also can see the education boards but can't comment or have Karen critique your images.
    The class as an audit is $245 vs $395 for the full class.

  14. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Great question Jen, and I look forward to seeing comments and checking the suggestions out. I've had a Nikon D80 for 2 years and have, for the most part, shot strictly from Auto mode. Ew! I have taken a local photog class, and after a few minutes my brain just stops. ;) I have the Magic Lantern Book and while it's sort of easy to understand, it still bored me to death and I lost interest. I always say, I need someone right beside me to SHOW me what to do! Anyway, thanks for posting this and I wish you lots of luck in accomplishing taking some great photos in the new year!

  15. i have on great words of wisdom on this. lol! i have a good camera, have great lenses, and can take decent shots. but in all honesty, i have no clue what i'm doing. i don't get the whole aperature, shutter speed, white balance thing. it's all gibberish to me. but i think a huge part of that is that i havn't taken the time to sit and learn and practice. i took karen russell's class when she started it. and even though i havn't read through it and learned it ... i will vouch for the fact that it is an AMAZING class that is totally worth the cost! just having that info here is worth it ... and will be so valuable once i find the time to go through it.

  16. Hey Jen! I think many of us have been where you are now. I have Bryan Peterson's book and would still recommend it. However, what made the light go on for me was when I bought a lens with a fixed focal length. I bought a Canon 50mm f/1.8. I believe Nikon makes a similar one. Playing with the f stop--since it can stay at whatever you set it, unlike the lower-end zoom lenses--and shooting things in Manual around the house suddenly made things just click. Also, there's a little -2,1,0,1,2 bar in your viewfinder and probably on your display. If you set your aperture where you want it, look at that bar in the window and get it close to 0. Right then you are changing your Shutter Speed. Those two were key for me to finally say AHA because I had a hard time deciding before what aperture and shutter speed, but by setting the aperture and then relying on what you are seeing in your view finder and doing a quick scroll one way or the other...you've set your shutter speed. Also, working just in Aperture or Shutter mode can be very helpful to gain a better understanding.

    Hope that helps a little!


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