Monday, July 18, 2011

Why You Should Read Your Manual - A Cautionary Tale

So if you know me then you know that I LOVE my to the near point of obsession. And it would honestly appear that I collect them. (No matter how long you have a conversation with me you cannot convince me that two digital point-and-shoots, two digital SLRs and two manual SLRs is too many cameras...I refuse to get rid of any) And if you're asking...I use four out of the six regularly. Only the two manual SLRs have been relegated to the closet and that's just because I'm too cheap to buy film. I'm in love with the ease of digital. (i.e. I can take as many freakin' photos as I want to).

With my love of cameras it should be assumed that I know how to operate them and most of the time I do. But a handy little trick was discovered with the purchase of my little canon powershot about four years ago. Prior to that I loved the ability to change photos so that they were black and white with a hit of color. Not to be cliche, but I used this trick on more than a few wedding and senior pictures that I took for others.

Using the old school method...

Making these photos used to be a gigantic pain in the butt. Masking and layering in Photoshop and lots of cursing when you hit a wrong button (at least in my case). Depending on your camera, it can now be super simple. My little canon has the ability to highlight a color. I LOVE this. I had no idea about it until my brother (who owns the same camera) showed me at a family dinner.

Now I had no idea about this ability even though I had owned the camera for almost a year. I am not a good manual reader. My dad will be happy to point this out to you. I had a cooking accident in college where an egg sandwich sounded delicious at midnight. I decided to boil the eggs in my dorm room microwave (why not, right?). Bad idea. Upon exiting the microwave, they promptly exploded in my face sending boiling water all over me. Dad's first words to me in the ER? "Didn't you read your manual?" Why no Father, I did not... Had I read the manual to my microwave I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have told me not to boil eggs...but I could be wrong. However, my Canon manual certainly would've told me about this handy little trick.

The results of my first attempt at this trick. (No the child does not have a tongue's saliva.)

I really enjoy scrapbooking these pictures. They aren't too difficult to take, but they totally make me look awesome. Plus, I don't have to spend an hour getting them to look like this. You may not have this setting available on your camera, but if you own a modern point-and-shoot, take a look at your manual. It's a really fun toy to play with.

A little color is all you need...

It's time for me to start using this "skill" (oh you bet I'm going to call it that) more often. The highlighted color makes it a snap to fit coordinating papers and everyone who looks at these pages always comments on the photos. Just gives me a warm and fuzzy inside.

I don't try to get a gob of color. I think that defeats the purpose. A little highlight is all I look for - something to make the photo pop just a little beyond a plain black and white.  See...sometimes good can come from reading the manual. I hate when Dad is right...


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