Auto versus Manual: Understanding Camera Settings + Ebook Giveaway

October 23, 2012

For years, to take a picture, I simply picked up my digital camera and snapped away. I was never thrilled with the results, but I didn’t know how to change it. Sound familiar?

How were others getting such amazing photos? I often thought to myself, what was I doing wrong? Well the answer is AUTO. Leaving your camera on the Auto setting often results in dark, flat, and blah photos.

Since upgrading to an SLR camera, one random day I switched the button from Auto to Manual and my photography life has never been the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning, but I’ve come a long way from my “Auto” days.

If you’re like me and dream of taking artistic and breathtaking pictures, then you need to turn to Kristen Duke.  She is a fantastic portrait photographer in Texas and has an awesome photography Ebook, Say NO to Auto.  It’s loaded with useful and easy-to-understand information on how to use and manipulate your camera to achieve the pictures you’ve always desired.

Kristen’s Say No to Auto Ebook includes 17 pages (in jpeg form) and are sized to be printed as 4 x 6 pictures.  Once printed you can easily put them on a ring, bind them, or create a mini album.  And what a great tool to throw into your camera bag for those not-so-sure moments.

I was psyched to get the opportunity to read through this Ebook.  Why? Because it really gets down to basics and isn’t overwhelming.  I have quite a few photography books but haven’t opened them since they were purchased.  I am a quick result kind of gal and a 100 page book describing every detail isn’t for me.  With Kristen’s book, she starts from the beginning and thoroughly explains, with picture examples, the 3 basics steps to understanding manual camera settings.

After reading through her Ebook, check out some of my picture comparables .  Which do you think is the manual-setting and which is the auto-setting? (I’m sure it won’t be difficult to tell).

This picture is worth a thousand words.  Same lighting, same positioning, but different camera settings – Auto versus Manual. Incredible, right?

Here’s another one for you…

There’s such much more depth in the picture when using manual mode!

With just a twist of a button and a simple understanding of Auto, you can truly achieve better pictures in no time.  Thanks to Kristen’s Ebook for really showing me how!  Don’t you want to take out your camera and give it a try?!

I’ll admit, I am still a photog beginner, but with more use in manual mode, the more comfortable I have become.  Hopefully when I have some time (which isn’t often), I will experiment with changing the settings further.

You can snag Kristen’s Ebook for $10 by clicking {here} or you can enter to win one!  If you’re a manual-mode-wannabe, I’ve got some great news for you. Kristen is giving an Ebook away for FREE to One Lucky Winner.

To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing if you’ve ever ventured into manual mode. That’s it. 

The giveaway ends 10/28 and the winner will be announced on the SAS Facebook page on 10/29 – Be sure to “like” so you can see if you’re the lucky #1.

Good Luck and Happy Snapping!

Disclosure: I was provided with the Ebook, Say NO to Auto, to review for this post.

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  1. I’ve wanted to do manual, but worried I don’t know what I’m doing!

  2. I’ve been venturing timidly into manual mode and it’s been fun – hey, (digital) film is cheap! I’d love to win Kristens ebook giveaway, please enter my name!
    Inspire Me Heather recently posted..project: desks

  3. Samantha VanArnhem says:

    The comparative pictures are amazing! I’ve tried venturing into manual mode but I’m obviously not doing it right because I’ve never seen a difference like that! Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  4. Thanks for letting us know about this great book! I’ve been practicing in manual mode but it doesn’t always go well and I could use all the help I can get. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    ange recently posted..My weekend and a little announcement

  5. I have a great camera but have never ventured out of auto. Now that I have a beautiful baby girl I would love to take professional looking pictures of her and could also use the techniques and knowledge to help redo our website (win/win!)

  6. I’ve tried manual- but I need all the help I can get! Thus looks great!

  7. No I never have but this sure makes me want too now

  8. I’m getting my first DSLR in the mail today! I hope to learn how to shoot manual so I don’t rely on auto!

  9. For some reason my camera doesn’t look as good in manual as they do in Auto, I wonder if I’m doing something completely wrong?

  10. I am shooting Manual, but I have a hard time being consistent with my settings. I would LOVE this!!

  11. I have ventured into manual, but switch back when I am in a hurry. I can’t seem to get all the settings right at times. This book would be a great help:)

  12. Nope I’m a point and shoot girl.

  13. Marie Massey says:

    I’ve been practicing in manual mode but it doesn’t always go well and I could use all the help I can get. What a FABULOUS get away!

  14. Jennifer M says:

    I read and study my manual, practice, put it down and immediately forget! I need this resource! Thank you for the giveaway!

  15. I love manual settings…when they actually work. Lol

  16. I would love to learn manual.

  17. Emily Brown says:

    I have starting trying out manual, but the only part I can do anything with is the focus. :( I’d LOVE to learn how to change and use the light settings/shutter speeds, etc! Winning would be awesome! :)

  18. Boy, do I need this book! I’ve been “playing” with my camera for a year now and have read ALL kinds of tutorials, but I still struggle with understanding all of the settings. Thanks for the chance to win!

  19. I took a class, but didn’t retain much…I think I could follow a book much better. Shared and pinned :)
    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real recently posted..How To Clean In Between The Glass On Your Stove Doors

  20. I would love to win this e-book!! I have read the manual for my camera but still struggle with the manual options. I think part of the problem is that I do not use the camera often enough to remember what I read. I love that you can print the e-book on 4 X 6 cards and take them along with you. Ooooh, hoping I win!! :)

  21. Kathy Menaguale says:

    I would LOVE this book—-I have a great camera and am at the early stages of refunking/painting furniture, chandeliers, mirrors, etc—-and I must learn how to take advantage of all that my camera offers!

  22. I once tried to take a digital camera course but was never not once there to go to the class. So I just threw my money away and learned nothing and I have never been able to find a book that was written for beginners. Sound like this is what I am looking for. Thanks

  23. I have, but I might be the only one that likes the look of the pictures – HA!
    Runt recently posted..Fabric Mod Podge Pumpkins – FAIL

  24. I’ve used manual mode but now that I have a big girl DSLR (instead of a megazoom with manual functions) I have lots of new stuff to learn and play with. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  25. I would LOVE to win this e-book! I experiment with the camera a lot but I feel like I still have TONS to learn.
    Randi – Dukes and Duchesses recently posted..A Flower Pot Costume

  26. I used to venture to Manual Mode, but stopped once i went digital. I would luv to buy a DSLR and bidit Manual Mode again. I am excited to see what is revealed with MM that has been lost.


  27. I seldom use my manual settings because I can never figure out how to “undo” them.

  28. Donna Perdue says:

    Just bought a d5100. Would love the ebook! Am taking a class at the community college and am asking lots of questions of my very patient friends. We have an in house photographer for the product line, and she is helping me get all the settings in my head! I have definitely been out of school too long.

  29. Yes, I have tried, but my pictures always seem to be blurry. Needless to say, I switched back to auto!!

    Would love a copy of this book;-)

  30. Jodi jackson says:

    I have tried manual a few times but its soooo overwelming!!

  31. I want to try manual but haven’t gotten brave enough yet!

  32. I love to try manual but I’m not good at it ‘yet’!!

  33. I have tried manual mode out somewhat, but usually resort to auto because I don’t have the patience to figure out manual!

  34. I have begun trying manual mode on my new camera but still have a ton to learn! The changes I have seen just from my few tries are amazing.

  35. Normally I use manual but if we aren’t outside, my photos are horrible! There are so many options in manual that it overwhelms me. My Grandmother is turning 90 and I’d love to figure out how to work this expensive camera so I can capture the most amazing photos from the night. And besides I take a lot of photos from the every day…obsessed! It’s about time I learn how to use this camera! :-)

  36. Justine Brent says:

    This would be so cool to win!!! We just bought a nice new DSLR and I have no idea what I’m doing. My hubby is learning fast though. It would be cool to show him some tricks. LOL

  37. I’ve tried manual, but it just hasn’t quite clicked for me yet, my pictures don’t turn out so well. I’d love to have this book! I so wanna shoot manual!

  38. Mary Crans says:

    I have to admit being a little intimidated by my digital camera. It’s definitely time to get to know it better! Kristen’s e-book would be a great way to jump start the process! m.

  39. I’ve always wanted to try the manual setting also!

  40. Learning my camera settings has become the last frontier. I haven’t explored them at all. But I want to!

  41. I’ve finally discovered the brilliance of using manual! Thanks for sharing this great ebook!
    Leslie Stewart recently posted..How To Arrange Fall Flowers

  42. Dinelle H says:

    My daughter just bought her a camera. Her birthday is the 8th of November. It would be wonderful if I won to add to her presents. She is just getting going with this camera.

    I would love to win this.

  43. Never really used manual, would be nice to try for pics my etsy site.
    Alison Weeks recently posted..Adeline is 11 months old!

  44. I have tried to dabble in manual mode with little success. I’m sure this e-book would help me tremendously! Thanks for the opportunity!
    Laurie recently posted..No More Blah About It

  45. Wow! What a difference in those photos! I haven’t explored much off auto but it looks like I’m going to have to figure it out to get better shots. Fingers crossed to win a copy of the book to get me going!

  46. I’m still learning to take better pictures too. I have turned off “auto” so far and still playing with manual settings. Hoping to keep getting better and better!
    jackie jade recently pug baby

  47. Debbie Bruns says:

    I haven’t done manual mode but am now so encouraged to try it!!

  48. I pick up my camera and shoot a picture and always wonder why it doesn’t look good. I could us all the help I can get. I would love to take better pictures!

  49. I certainly use manual mode, but I’m no expert at it! Would LOVE some Kristen Duke insight!
    Kimberly @ A Night Owl recently posted..DIY No-Sew Football Tee

  50. Kathleen Ledgerwood says:

    Would love to learn more about photography and using the manual settings on my camera.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  51. Joyce Layton says:

    I’ve used the Sports, Portrait, Close-up, and Landscape mode with some success. Not brave enough to test manual! Help!

  52. I’ve only barely ventured off the AUTO command. I would love to take a hands on class, but the book sounds like a great start.

  53. I have used manual but would love to be more confident in it. I want to win this book!

  54. Waco Bayless says:

    I love to take photographs but, I’ll admit I know nothing about working in manual mode.

  55. I would love to experiment with manual settings.

  56. Love to learn manual mode. Would love to win

  57. My father gave me his old DSLR when he upgraded over a year ago. I have yet to use it as I’m afraid of the manual setting! I need this book!!
    Kyra recently posted..Re-Generate your Green Onions? It’s true!

  58. I want my pictures to look like that! I guess I need to learn how to shoot in manual. What a great giveway!

  59. Years, years and years ago I used manual all the time. I don’t think they had auto then. But, that was so long ago and I’m getting a new camera. I’ve sort of forgotten the f-stop stuff. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  60. I have tried manual in the post but my photos turned blurry. Would be love to learn how to use it.

  61. I would love to learn manual…I’m just scared…f-stops and apertures intimidate me too much!

  62. Candy Vaughn says:

    I need this sooo bad! I just went through some photos that I took the other day where I tried manual….not too good.

  63. Never occured to me to use manual taking pix though…4000 from my summer vacation to áfrica….

  64. Just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for – awesome thanks for sharing and I would love to about manual settings

  65. Nichole B. says:

    I have never ventured into manual mode, but after seeing your pics I would love to learn! My sis is having a baby in a few weeks and wants some pics of seeing her baby for the first time! I need to learn this!


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