Why Purchase An Expensive Camera, And Not Learn To Use It?

I recently came to the realization that I've always purchased good quality cameras with lots of bells and whistles in them.  Each camera had a variety of buttons, dials, and menus containing functions that I never took the time to understand.  Instead, I just set the camera's dial to "A" (automatic) Mode, and let the camera do it's thing.  After all that's why I purchased a more expensive camera wasn't it?  

After decades of taking pictures I now understand the importance of learning your camera and learning basic photography skills.  I can't stress how important these two factors are.  Like a hammer, screwdriver, or saw your camera is a tool.  Therefore, you need to learn everything you can about your tool (camera) in order to build really great photographs with it.  

I purchased a book about my camera from Amazon.com  (David Busch's Sony a6300/ILCE-6300 Guide to Digital Photography).  The book is comprehensive, much easier to read and understand than my camera's operator's manual, and the print was much larger too.  The author explained the different buttons, switches, and dials on my camera.  In addition, he explained the camera's different menus, functions, and settings.  Furthermore, the author's preferred settings, when to use them, and why were also discussed in the book.  Do some research and most-likely you'll discover that someone has written an excellent guidebook for your camera too.

Take the time to learn basic photography skills.  Sign up for a class, read a book, or watch video clips on YouTube.  Just do something!  I had no idea what the terms ISO, shutter speed, or aperture referred to.  Nor, did I understand the delicate relationship between these three settings and their effect on the photographs I was taking.  I chose to sign up for an online photography course (www.nyip.com).  

The course, "Fundamentals of Digital Photography," quickly gave me the courage to switch the camera's dial from automatic mode to manual mode.  I learned about cameras and lenses, f/stop and aperture settings, key elements in photographs, lighting, posing subjects, etc.  As a result, I now view everything around me differently (i.e., the background, lighting, reflections, shadows, etc.) whereas, before I only noticed the subject I wanted to photograph.  The online lessons and video clips contained valuable information, and the photo assignments I had to complete reinforced the topics covered in each lesson.

In summary, your camera is an expensive and amazing tool that can create professional quality photographs.  However, your ability to use your camera and your knowledge of photographic principles are the key differences between the photographs you take and those taken by professional photographers.

Mike W...