How to Stop Shooting in Auto Mode | Part One

Friends, let it be said:  I will not try to pretend to be some all-knowing, fantastic photographer.  What I am is someone on the path to learning more and more about photography….  And right now that means I will not allow myself to shoot in Auto Mode.  In this two-part post, I’m sharing what I’ve learned thus far.

Today we are talking ~~> Equipment!

The Camera…

My 1st DSLR
Years ago I purchased a package from Costco of a Nikon D60 with two kit lenses.  That camera was a great starter.  When I first stopped shooting in auto mode, that setup worked fine.  The camera was a great basic that did all I needed it to do.  But the lenses quickly proved to not be a fit for what I wanted.  They limited a lot of shots.  I would’ve been better off to skip the package and buy the pieces I really wanted/needed individually.  So when the camera started to act up, I took the opportunity to upgrade.

{D60′s can be found – used – starting at $240}

But first, I wanted to understand WHY I was upgrading my camera.  In talking with the Photo Guy, he explained that my D60 wasn’t 100% of what she used to be (the years had taken their toll)….  But, the main issue was that she had been left in the dust as technology had grown.  The example he gave was that if we – living in an iPhone5 world – suddenly went back to using a 1st generation iPhone – we would be disappointed.  Why?  Because we want things faster, cleaner, crisper, clearer.

Food For Thought:  So though I chose to upgrade, it may be worthwhile sticking with an older, less expensive camera and 1st investing in quality lenses!  

My Current Camera
When I had decided it was time for an upgrade, I also just so happened to be at Costco when a Nikon D7100 caught my eye.  With it’s package of lenses, a memory card, and a camera strap, I was super tempted to throw it in my cart.  Easy Peasy.  But my last buying experience taught me to do research and ask experts before naively making the buy.  And I am SO glad I did!

After doing online research, I headed to our local Roberts for some help.  After a lot of questions and answers, the decision was made that the 7100 was just too much camera for me….  Meaning it has a lot of functions/features I wouldn’t need/use and honestly would be overwhelmed by.  We also chatted through what I was looking for in lenses and was able to get the best bang for the buck on those.  Something I didn’t know going in…..  I was able to trade-in my old equipment for money to put toward my new purchase!  Not a ton of money.  But enough, and more than I had planned on!

{My New Love}

Visit my About Page for a list of my current equipment {a few of the things I purchased and kept before buying my new camera, a few things I added}.

What IS a DSLR Anyway?

According to this definition via Wikipidia:  Digital single-lens reflex cameras (also called digital SLR or DSLR) are digital cameras combining the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, as opposed to photographic film. The reflex design scheme is the primary difference between a DSLR and other digital cameras. In the reflex design, light travels through the lens, then to a mirror that alternates to send the image to either the viewfinder or the image sensor. The alternative would be to have a viewfinder with its own lens, hence the term “single lens” for this design. By using only one lens, the viewfinder presents an image that will differ imperceptibly from what is captured by the camera’s sensor.

Alright then!  Some of my friends and I have a simpler definition:  It’s our Big-Girl Camera.  ha!

Compare a DSLR to a Digital Camera:  This definition via Wikipidia says:  digital camera (or digicam) is a camera that takes video or still photographs by recording images on an electronic image sensor. Most cameras sold today are digital, and digital cameras are incorporated into many devices ranging from PDAs and mobile phones (called camera phones) to vehicles.  Digital and film cameras share an optical system, typically using a lens with a variable diaphragm to focus light onto an image pickup device. The diaphragm and shutter admit the correct amount of light to the imager, just as with film but the image pickup device is electronic rather than chemical. However, unlike film cameras, digital cameras can display images on a screen immediately after being recorded, and store and delete images from memory.

These cameras are often referred to as Point-and-Shoot.
My man bought me my first “Big Girl” lens two Christmases ago.  It was then that I realized what a difference the right equipment makes.  I hesitate to say that….  because I know a lot of folks are craving new equipment that isn’t in the budget.  If that’s you, then challenge yourself to do the best with what you have!  I had my DSLR for years and years before lenses became an option.
There is a LOT to learn about photography.  And if I’ve learned anything….
Being able to buy better equipment does not make you a better photographer.
PRACTICE makes you a better photographer!And boy am I learning that with each & every shot I take.
You can visit my About Page for a full list of my lenses.  The two I use the most are:
{Great for low-light, portrait/food shots… and the gift from my hubby!}


{This is my go-to when I can only carry one lens.}

On the About Page, I also share the other items in my camera bag (including the camera bag I use).  But one of the additions I’m having the most fun with is this guy:

{The extra boost you need when good light just isn’t available.}
Next time, we will use whatever equipment we have….  
and Make the Move OUT of Auto Mode!
Are you hooked on photography too?
Let’s chat in the comments.  And… 
If you are a blogger who loves to shoot photos and share them, 
leave your link for us to visit!


  1. Debbie Petras says:

    I use a Nikon D70 and have used it for years. I hope to upgrade one of these days. But this post was quite helpful for me Kim. Thank you. I love photography. I can always be seen at my school with my camera ready. I love taking photos of children! Many of my pictures are used on our school website and in the year book. And each year I create a photo album using my photos for our class.

    But I would love to improve my photography skills. I look forward to your posts on this topic.

    Blessings and love,

  2. Thank you so much for all this amazing information. My goal this year is to get myself a ‘BIG Girl ” camera…I want what you got! I have been using my iPhone which works fine, but is very limiting with depth of field etc. Thanks again friend, cant’ wait for part 2

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