We interrupt the crafting and the cooking to bring this overly technical photography post today. I apologize if this has no interest to you but a number of my close friends have recently invested in a DSLR camera to take pictures of current babies and babies on the way. In an attempt to answer a few of their questions, I realized it was just easier to show them.
So today I offer a lesson of examples on why I have become a believer in shooting in manual mode on a DSLR. All photos are presented SOOC (straight out of the camera) no crops or edits of any kind.
Example #1: Kit Lens, Automatic mode
This picture was taken in our kitchen with no overhead lighting at around 1 p.m. I used the lens that came with my camera on the widest angle (18mm). I set the camera to "automatic" mode and let the camera make all the decisions for me. The camera decided there wasn't enough light and my flash popped up.
Example #2: Kit lens, manual mode
I sat on the floor to get a little closer to Little Pea. This is taken with the kit lens at 18mm still. The lowest aperture my kit lens will allow at this length is 3.5. At that aperture, I can't get the shutter speed to go fast enough to prevent the blurry hands as she frantically waves at me. (Unless I am ok with the flash, which personally I am not.)
Example #3: 35mm lens, full body
Sitting in the exact same spot that I was for the 2nd example, this one is shot with my 35mm lens. I adjusted the white balance from "Automatic White Balance" to "Cloudy" which results in the warmer color tones you see in her skin and the wooden floor. My aperture is now as low as 2.2 which allows a faster shutter speed and no blur from her wiggling.
Example #4: 35mm close-up
The 35mm allows me to get much closer to the baby and has a much sharper capture of her eyes.
Example #5: 50mm lens, full body
Sitting in the same position as earlier, this is the 50mm focal length. Notice how much tighter she is cropped within the photo. I personally prefer the 35mm length when it comes to focal length but the 50 allows me to go down to an aperture of 1.8.
Example #6: 50mm, close-up
You can't beat the crispness of a prime lens when it comes to details like eyes. This was taken with an aperture of 1.8, otherwise known as "shooting wide open" because the lens is as open as it can go.
Example #7: Better light
I purposely shot all previous examples in a bad lighting situation. I only had to move the baby 3 feet over towards a window to get significantly better light. This was shot with the 50mm lens wide open at f/1.8. I think it is the most dramatic of the shots and the light in her eyes is gorgeous.
So to give you a snarky recap, would you rather have this:
Shooting in manual is so worth the effort. I promise.