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How To Use Your Fancy New Camera: A No-nonsense Beginners Guide to the Exposure Triangle.

I imagine some of you got a fancy new camera over the holidays, and now, you want to learn how to use it. Well, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with a how-to blog post on the matter, because I was once you. If you are new to photography, the first thing you need to learn is how to shoot in manual mode, this means learning to understand your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings, so here goes.

Aperture, think of aperture as a window that lets light into your picture, the lower the aperture, the more light you let through the window. The higher the aperture setting, the less light you let through the window.

Here’s a diagram I grabbed from to help you understand what is essentially, the shutters on your camera’s window.

Shutter Speed accounts for how long you leave the window open. Faster shutter speeds keep photos sharp but let less light in the photo. Slower shutter speeds let more light in but can increase blurriness.

ISO is the other setting you need to pay attention to, keep it low, unless your shooting in low light, then dial it up, but expect grainy photos the higher your ISO setting gets.

Here are some examples that hopefully help you better understand what all these settings mean.

In this picture, my aperture setting is low. It’s letting in light, but it’s also narrowing the focus point otherwise referred to as the depth of field. The shutter speed is quick, and the focus is in the center, and the rest of the photo is soft and blurred.

Aperture: 1.8 | Shutter Speed: 800 | ISO: 200


Leaves 1

In the photo below, the aperture is set higher, which lets less light in but also puts more of the leaves in focus leaving fewer leaves out of focus and blurry. To compensate for the darkness of the higher aperture I had to slow my shutter speed down and let in more light. And to compensate for the resulting blurriness and remaining darkness I dialed up my ISO.

Aperture: 6.3 |Shutter Speed: 250 | ISO: 640


Leaves 2

Here is a photo of my sons little truck, and a shot of the back of my camera so you can see what the settings look like practically, in live view.


Jack’s truck (No Edit)


Back of Camera Live View

If all of this is confusing you, good because no one ever said photography was going to be easy, but if it’s worth doing, its worth doing right. So make your priority to learn these three settings, but if you’re feeling discouraged remember you can take good photos with minimal effort especially in uncomplicated lighting situations.

For example, this picture of my cat I left the aperture open and the shutter speed high, that coupled with good lighting, and a 75mm portrait lens and a perfectly still cat yielded the following:

Aperture: 1.8 | Shutter Speed: 640 | ISO: 200


Logan 12/27/17

If you follow my Instagram, you saw the edit of this photo. Editing is a whole other matter, and I think at first it’s exciting to take pictures and edit them but when you start out focusing on the post edit, you lose sight of getting it right in camera. Take it from me, getting it right in camera by becoming comfortable with aperture, ISO, and shutter speed is the key to your favorite photo’s not the filter or post edit.

The moral of the story is that sometimes you want the background blurry and the photo’s subject in close focus, for that you’ll want a lens with a low aperture setting available, like 1.8-2.8. Or if you are trying to get more than one subject in focus, you will want a higher aperture setting like 6.3 or higher.

I hope this post is helpful to anyone who should chance upon it while starting their photography journey. I’d like to add that I am an amateur photographer and am still learning myself, but I remember where I came from and I remember how hard it was to find straightforward posts that didn’t include long-winded videos with annoying songs.

To learn more about the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) follow this link:


Wife, Mother, Feminist

Before I was ever a wife and mother I was a feminist, and have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. Not because I wanted an authoritative job or to change the world or anything noble like that, but because my whole life I have wanted to have as much validity and credibility as a man in any given conversation.

More importantly, for me, feminism is about setting a universal standard for the fair and equal treatment of women around the world.

Initially, I was going to make this post about how I compromise my feminist beliefs every day. But the more I worked on that post, the more I realized, that I’m not compromising my feminism at all, I’m simply flexible.

For example, I do all the cooking and cleaning and laundry around the house for the most part. Not because I have to or am limited to cooking and cleaning and child-rearing as my entire scope of existence, instead I do it because it makes life easier for me. I don’t have the patience for nagging and pestering and reminding my husband to pitch in if he pulls the vacuum across the carpet its because he did it without being asked, or not at all.

So, even though I think that women and men are equally capable of cooking and cleaning and there should be an even balance in household chores, I do all that housewife shit because I’m empowered to, to either make my husband cook and clean, or not.

In other parts of the world and even right here in the United States women aren’t allowed to be anything but a wife and mother, and while both of these things give me life, my child and my husband are my worlds, there’s still more to me. I’m allowed to be more than Jeremy’s wife, or Jack’s mom.

Feminist is not a dirty word in our house; I plan to continue my education and continue to raise my son to be a respectful and empathetic human being. So that someday he can use the fact that he is a male and therefore automatically a person, wherever he goes on this earth with all of the rights and privileges therein to positively impact the lives of women and girls in his life, and his community.


Next Year…

Next year I’d like to celebrate our winter holiday a little differently. I’m happy with the way this year’s went, but next year I need something more.

Not more stuff, but more meaning, more magic, more emphasis on the season.

I’d also like some virgin white snow blanketing the landscape. So, I think next year I want to hit up Airbnb for a destination holiday and freeze our asses off someplace cozy.

Happy Holidays!



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