Auto versus Manual: Understanding Camera Settings + Ebook Giveaway

For years, to take a picture, I simply picked up my digital camera and snapped away. I was never thrilled with the results, but I didn’t know how to change it. Sound familiar?

How were others getting such amazing photos? I often thought to myself, what was I doing wrong? Well the answer is AUTO. Leaving your camera on the Auto setting often results in dark, flat, and blah photos.

Since upgrading to an SLR camera, one random day I switched the button from Auto to Manual and my photography life has never been the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning, but I’ve come a long way from my “Auto” days.

If you’re like me and dream of taking artistic and breathtaking pictures, then you need to turn to Kristen Duke.  She is a fantastic portrait photographer in Texas and has an awesome photography Ebook, Say NO to Auto.  It’s loaded with useful and easy-to-understand information on how to use and manipulate your camera to achieve the pictures you’ve always desired.

Kristen’s Say No to Auto Ebook includes 17 pages (in jpeg form) and are sized to be printed as 4 x 6 pictures.  Once printed you can easily put them on a ring, bind them, or create a mini album.  And what a great tool to throw into your camera bag for those not-so-sure moments.

I was psyched to get the opportunity to read through this Ebook.  Why? Because it really gets down to basics and isn’t overwhelming.  I have quite a few photography books but haven’t opened them since they were purchased.  I am a quick result kind of gal and a 100 page book describing every detail isn’t for me.  With Kristen’s book, she starts from the beginning and thoroughly explains, with picture examples, the 3 basics steps to understanding manual camera settings.

After reading through her Ebook, check out some of my picture comparables .  Which do you think is the manual-setting and which is the auto-setting? (I’m sure it won’t be difficult to tell).

This picture is worth a thousand words.  Same lighting, same positioning, but different camera settings – Auto versus Manual. Incredible, right?

Here’s another one for you…

There’s such much more depth in the picture when using manual mode!

With just a twist of a button and a simple understanding of Auto, you can truly achieve better pictures in no time.  Thanks to Kristen’s Ebook for really showing me how!  Don’t you want to take out your camera and give it a try?!

I’ll admit, I am still a photog beginner, but with more use in manual mode, the more comfortable I have become.  Hopefully when I have some time (which isn’t often), I will experiment with changing the settings further.

You can snag Kristen’s Ebook for $10 by clicking {here} or you can enter to win one!  If you’re a manual-mode-wannabe, I’ve got some great news for you. Kristen is giving an Ebook away for FREE to One Lucky Winner.

To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing if you’ve ever ventured into manual mode. That’s it. 

The giveaway ends 10/28 and the winner will be announced on the SAS Facebook page on 10/29 – Be sure to “like” so you can see if you’re the lucky #1.

Good Luck and Happy Snapping!

Disclosure: I was provided with the Ebook, Say NO to Auto, to review for this post.

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  1. Samantha VanArnhem says

    The comparative pictures are amazing! I’ve tried venturing into manual mode but I’m obviously not doing it right because I’ve never seen a difference like that! Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  2. says

    Thanks for letting us know about this great book! I’ve been practicing in manual mode but it doesn’t always go well and I could use all the help I can get. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  3. says

    I have a great camera but have never ventured out of auto. Now that I have a beautiful baby girl I would love to take professional looking pictures of her and could also use the techniques and knowledge to help redo our website (win/win!)

  4. Mary says

    I have ventured into manual, but switch back when I am in a hurry. I can’t seem to get all the settings right at times. This book would be a great help:)

  5. Marie Massey says

    I’ve been practicing in manual mode but it doesn’t always go well and I could use all the help I can get. What a FABULOUS get away!

  6. Jennifer M says

    I read and study my manual, practice, put it down and immediately forget! I need this resource! Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. Emily Brown says

    I have starting trying out manual, but the only part I can do anything with is the focus. :( I’d LOVE to learn how to change and use the light settings/shutter speeds, etc! Winning would be awesome! :)

  8. Heather says

    Boy, do I need this book! I’ve been “playing” with my camera for a year now and have read ALL kinds of tutorials, but I still struggle with understanding all of the settings. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Becky says

    I would love to win this e-book!! I have read the manual for my camera but still struggle with the manual options. I think part of the problem is that I do not use the camera often enough to remember what I read. I love that you can print the e-book on 4 X 6 cards and take them along with you. Ooooh, hoping I win!! :)

  10. Kathy Menaguale says

    I would LOVE this book—-I have a great camera and am at the early stages of refunking/painting furniture, chandeliers, mirrors, etc—-and I must learn how to take advantage of all that my camera offers!

  11. says

    I once tried to take a digital camera course but was never not once there to go to the class. So I just threw my money away and learned nothing and I have never been able to find a book that was written for beginners. Sound like this is what I am looking for. Thanks

  12. says

    I’ve used manual mode but now that I have a big girl DSLR (instead of a megazoom with manual functions) I have lots of new stuff to learn and play with. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  13. Barb says

    I used to venture to Manual Mode, but stopped once i went digital. I would luv to buy a DSLR and bidit Manual Mode again. I am excited to see what is revealed with MM that has been lost.


  14. Donna Perdue says

    Just bought a d5100. Would love the ebook! Am taking a class at the community college and am asking lots of questions of my very patient friends. We have an in house photographer for the product line, and she is helping me get all the settings in my head! I have definitely been out of school too long.

  15. Deanna R says

    Yes, I have tried, but my pictures always seem to be blurry. Needless to say, I switched back to auto!!

    Would love a copy of this book;-)

  16. Lanay says

    I have tried manual mode out somewhat, but usually resort to auto because I don’t have the patience to figure out manual!

  17. Jordnn C says

    I have begun trying manual mode on my new camera but still have a ton to learn! The changes I have seen just from my few tries are amazing.

  18. Laura says

    Normally I use manual but if we aren’t outside, my photos are horrible! There are so many options in manual that it overwhelms me. My Grandmother is turning 90 and I’d love to figure out how to work this expensive camera so I can capture the most amazing photos from the night. And besides I take a lot of photos from the every day…obsessed! It’s about time I learn how to use this camera! :-)

  19. Justine Brent says

    This would be so cool to win!!! We just bought a nice new DSLR and I have no idea what I’m doing. My hubby is learning fast though. It would be cool to show him some tricks. LOL

  20. Suzie says

    I’ve tried manual, but it just hasn’t quite clicked for me yet, my pictures don’t turn out so well. I’d love to have this book! I so wanna shoot manual!

  21. Mary Crans says

    I have to admit being a little intimidated by my digital camera. It’s definitely time to get to know it better! Kristen’s e-book would be a great way to jump start the process! m.

  22. Dinelle H says

    My daughter just bought her a camera. Her birthday is the 8th of November. It would be wonderful if I won to add to her presents. She is just getting going with this camera.

    I would love to win this.

  23. Paige says

    Wow! What a difference in those photos! I haven’t explored much off auto but it looks like I’m going to have to figure it out to get better shots. Fingers crossed to win a copy of the book to get me going!

  24. says

    I’m still learning to take better pictures too. I have turned off “auto” so far and still playing with manual settings. Hoping to keep getting better and better!

  25. Lynn says

    I pick up my camera and shoot a picture and always wonder why it doesn’t look good. I could us all the help I can get. I would love to take better pictures!

  26. Kathleen Ledgerwood says

    Would love to learn more about photography and using the manual settings on my camera.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  27. Joyce Layton says

    I’ve used the Sports, Portrait, Close-up, and Landscape mode with some success. Not brave enough to test manual! Help!

  28. says

    My father gave me his old DSLR when he upgraded over a year ago. I have yet to use it as I’m afraid of the manual setting! I need this book!!

  29. says

    Years, years and years ago I used manual all the time. I don’t think they had auto then. But, that was so long ago and I’m getting a new camera. I’ve sort of forgotten the f-stop stuff. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  30. Candy Vaughn says

    I need this sooo bad! I just went through some photos that I took the other day where I tried manual….not too good.

  31. Nichole B. says

    I have never ventured into manual mode, but after seeing your pics I would love to learn! My sis is having a baby in a few weeks and wants some pics of seeing her baby for the first time! I need to learn this!