Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

My advice to photographers

Just over a year ago I wrote an article titled “Please read the instructions and take the camera off ‘P’ mode”.

I hope a few people actually took the time to read and heed my advice. However, I talked to a photographer this past week who after using her camera for over a year was still confused. She asked me what I meant when I said that I would select different camera modes depending on my subject.

With what I thought I’d review that article.

I am sure some misguided individuals who purchased their first DSLR camera might say, “Why did they waste all that paper on an instruction manual? I don’t need to read it because the pictures are just fine with the camera set on Program mode. If the pictures don’t work, I’ll just delete and try again till they look good.”

They likely tossed the box with the instructions in their recycle bin, fumbled around looking for someplace to stick in the memory card, turned on the camera, selected the letter P or A, and start pressing the shutter.

If lucky, the on-camera flash is default programmed to brighten dark rooms and the magical technology produces pictures that will give them “Likes” on Facebook in spite of their lack of knowledge.

Those new DSLR-toting photographers are then satisfied and never move that dial off the P mode, wondering what all the fuss is about and rationalize their opinion by saying, “My pictures look good to me and, anyway, the instructions were confusing.”

I hear stories about photographers that complained loudly that their new cameras weren’t working properly and angrily returned the camera to the store they purchased it from, only to be shown by a patient sales clerk the section in the manual that solves the problem.

Again, it’s disappointing that they hadn’t taken the time to read their manual.

When a photographer comes to me asking for help with their new DSLR I begin with the suggestion, “Put the camera on P and shoot away, but only for one week”. That’s right … only one week! And while that week passes my advice is always to read the instruction manual that came with the camera, it is the best way to change that new camera from an expensive point-and-shoot into an amazing tool, and will help those interested in transforming their personal photography from snap shots to art.

Practice with the new DSLR and read the manual. Don’t be lazy, experiment with everything, and learn about the exciting control Aperture priority (AV), Shutter priority (TV) and Manual mode.

My camera manuals are all dog-eared, full of post-its and notations on the edges. That should be the norm for photographers that are serious enough about photography to learn about their camera.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops. I sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment.

Don’t hesitate to call me at 250-371-3069.

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