Shoot I Do 101

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By now you’ve heard the news: I bought a fancy-pants camera and I need to learn how to use it, outside of auto mode.  FREAK OUT!  No really.  That’s what happens in my head on a regular basis these days.  I can’t count how many deep breathes I’ve taken in the last few weeks. Each time, I hear The German’s voice: Oh, to have your troubles. (apparently, she was waaay ahead of her time and possibly the original “white people problems” meme)

Boy (another photographer in the fam) asked me how it was going and I told him I still hold my camera like a dying kitten.  So so gentle.

I need to get over that.  Like yesterday.

In the back of my mind I keep thinking about the cost of the equipment and that makes me mindful and cautious, but at some point my camera needs to become a part of me, an extension of me, and that can’t happen if I think I’m gonna hurt it.  I’m not gonna hurt it!  (Right?!)

The only way to do this is to shoot every day (the camera, not my shotgun. although that is fun too).  So, shoot I do.  And now you get the title of this series and our new insider’s joke!

Shoot I Do 101 will be a series of easy lessons for those of us learning our DSLRs.   If you have a tip you want to share, zip it to me in an email or post in the comments.

Most of the pics I shoot will be posted in my Tumblr account.  Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss a shot.

Today, I’ll leave a Canon Forum link, only because I have a Canon (and you may too) and am familiar with the forum.  If you are shooting with a Nikon (or Olympus, etc) and know of a great forum, please leave us a link.  I don’t want anyone left out who wants to join the fun.

The biggest thing I’m struggling with in these first new weeks is getting through the instruction manual.  IS THIS IN ENGLISH?!  There are days that I read for 10-15 minutes, unroll my eyes from the back of my head and try to make sense of it all.  I know that I’ll learn some through sheer will, some through osmosis and some through experience.

The forum will allow me to learn from the experience of others, as will the advice I receive from those already shooting with DSLRs.  Learning to shoot on my old SLR seemed a breeze compared to the technology I need to learn in the digital age.

Lots of folks get these amazing DSLRs and never take it out of auto-mode (and that’s OK), but baby, I’m not an auto-mode kinda gal.  Just ask Husband.  Is there a hard rocky road?  I’ll take that path every stinkin’ time. Got lots to prove, much?  Yes, that would be me.

Now you know.  When you see a post titled Shoot I Do 101 and you want to learn how to learn that fancy-pants camera of yours, click in.  Gonna be some fun here.

Well, maybe not so fun for Husband and Dexter.  They’re already tired of seeing my camera up to my eye.

Learn you DSLR

I swear I can hear his weary sigh…



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  1. Haha! I’m trying to learn too! Sophie gets this look on her face the moment she sees the camera coming…like awww Mom, not again! Your puppy is sweet:)

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      Ha! Dexter is getting more acclimated to my camera face, but I don’t know that Husband ever will. (dex is a sweet baby!)

  2. That picture looks great! I took a 2-day course to learn to use my camera in manual, and it was just the right thing. Of course, that’s when I learned that my kit lens was worthless and I needed a 50 mm. 🙂

    Best tip: get a personal property insurance policy on your camera. I pay a few dollars a month (added in with my car & renter’s insurance) to repair/replace any broken items. I’ve replaced a lens twice at no cost. It definitely helps get over the fear of breaking something.

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      HA! Damned kit lens. Great tip on the insurance. Husband is the go-to for that, so I’ll make sure we have that. Thanks.

  3. I’m right with you. Thanks to you I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D3100 and right at the bottom of the learning curve. The best resource I’ve found so far is a “For Dummies” book specific to the D3100. Grandma B keeps bringing up the “Sports Night” episode when Dana bought a camera. My dogs too are getting very familiar with the sound of a shutter click and I’ve been taking a picture of our emerging daffodils every day to record the changes. I’m looking forward to lots more “Shoot I Do 101.”

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      LOL! I’m also in the garden every day chronicling the changes. My original SLR was a Nikon and I loved it. I switched to Canon, but don’t think there’s much difference (man, I hope neither camp comes here to yell and me and BEG TO DIFFER!) Can’t wait to see you shots. I’m on the bottom of that curve with ya!

  4. man, pets are like the best subjects, right? since i got my dslr, my cats are enduring the paparazzi a lot more.

  5. Congrats on the fancy-camera purchase. I just got one myself (Nikon D5200) earlier this year as a birthday present from the hubby. I don’t think I’ve shot in auto mode since I got it since I get my dad’s voice looming in the back of my head whenever I’m going to do it: “if you use your DSLR on auto mode, you basically got yourself a very expensive point-and-shoot.” Okay dad, okay…

    BTW, my cat Mimi was also my very first test subject LOL

    – Gita

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      Boy told me there’s a Canon forum that talks about how cats are a popular first subject for people with new DSLRs. Ha! Love your dad!

  6. I love this! This is going to be a really helpful series since I have to learn to shoot manual too

  7. Haha I swear it may look like English but my instruction manual is NOT in an English I am capable of comprehending. I have just been learning via trial and error 😉

  8. When I got my first Dslr I took an online class that was extremely helpful. There was a forum and a gallery of all the assignments, so you could learn from everyone’s work.

  9. Robyn @ simply fresh dinners says

    I’ve been taking online classes too and there are tons of sites that you can sign up for that send you weekly tips and photo assignments that challenge and teach you new skills. My favourite is They have loads of information there for the beginner to the expert.
    I find it all very intimidating at times but very rewarding as well. Great thing is, you’ll be learning forever. Even the experts continue to learn. That’s a good thing – right? lol.
    Thanks for the giggles.

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      Yay! A link for help. Thanks for offering what you’ve found helpful. Self-learning can be intimidating, but rewarding. That’s what I’m counting on. Thanks for weighing in!

  10. I just bought a new Cannon camera a couple weeks ago so I know exactly what you’re going through! I didn’t think much of the instruction manual either 🙂 I’m both excited and nervous to get started on the learning process.

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      When I bought my SLR, I went to a college bookstore and out an amazing textbook and taught myself using that book. Today, there are so many more resources available. If one doesn’t do it for us…on to the next! Happy Learning!

  11. Oh Dexter is adorable! I am trying to figure out my camera also, after a year I still leave the settings to auto.

    • Mrs. Tucker says

      Thank you! We think so. You should join us here. Resolve to take a few pics here and there in manual. You can do it!

  12. When my husband bought our camera about a year and a half ago, it scared me to death! Now I am an all-manual mode gal! Lots of practice, and lots of mistakes made, but learning as I go. Looking forward to reading more of your tips. 🙂


  1. […] those of you following the Shoot I Do series, the next one is coming, but I thought I’d throw this fun and inexpensive tutorial out […]

  2. […] back to the Shoot I Do […]

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