How To Use Your DSLR : resources

sony-dslr-a300kI read my camera's manual today (I have a Sony DSLR-A300K).

Actually, to be 100% truthful, I skimmed it a little bit.

The technical parts were a bit lost on me. That said, I am proud to say that I now know:

  • what all of the buttons stand for
  • how to use the self-timer
  • how to take continuous-shot action photos, and
  • how to maximize the life of my camera's battery (For example, did you know that..."Battery performance decreases in low temperature surroundings. So, the time that the battery pack can be used is shorter in cold places."?)

Someday I'm going to take a photography class to get even more intimate with the ins and outs of my camera.

For now, I have the instructional DVDs by Me Rah Koh, a Seattle mom of two and artistic photographer.

refuse to say cheese capture the story me ra kohHer first DVD - Refuse To Say Cheese: Capture The Story (2007; minutes; $29.99) - is specifically geared to parents and provides an excellent overview of photography as a form of storytelling. Me Ra "hosts" the DVD and she'll make you feel right at home with your camera - even if you are a true novice. She is beautiful, warm, engaging, and encouraging.

beyond the green box understanding your digital camera me ra kohHer second DVD - Beyond The Green Box: Understanding Your Digital Camera (2007; minutes; $29.99) - takes the learning process a step further and gives you more specific instruction on using your SLR camera. She will walk you through "scary things" like shutter speed and aperture in conversational terms. My one critique is that I would have preferred that the video exclude her husband's "crazy professor" act. Although meant to inspire humor, I think it detracted from the overall performance. I am sure that he is a genius (and I love that Me Ra calls him her "secret weapon"), but I think his talent would be better suited in other ways. For example, perhaps he could start photography workshops for men?

Not surprisingly, both DVDs were recently featured as a top gift recommendation idea by FOX News. If you want both DVDs (for yourself or a friend), you can save some money and buy the complete set for $49.99.

photography workshops for womenBetter yet, you can attend one of Me Ra's Workshops for Women. Typically limited to 20 participants, the 2-day workshops are $999 and are held at a variety of venues nationwide. The only upcoming workshop listed on her website is in Seattle in January of 2010 (and it's sold out), but I am sincerely hoping that she will plan a Tucson or Phoenix (it's the 5th largest city in the US) workshop for spring 2010. Or, better yet, maybe she'll present at the Mom 2.0 Summit this February. Here's hoping.

YOUR TURN: Would you attend a photography workshop for women if one came to your city? What city/state are you from?

WIN IT! One winner will receive The Complete Set of Me Ra's DVDs - "Refuse To Say Cheese: Capture The Story" and "Beyond The Green Box: Understanding Your Digital Camera" ($49.99). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Tuesday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #28 Donita. Congratulations!

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59 comments on “How To Use Your DSLR : resources”

  1. I'm from the DFW area in Texas. I'm not sure I'd attend the workshop, but I could for sure use the extra help in the photography department. I'd like to learn to take better pictures of my kiddos, and in general, as the photos on my blog and in my Etsy shop are pretty lousy also.

  2. I don't own a DSLR just a regular point and shoot but I'd love to win these DVDs for my brother who's into photography. He'd love to go to a workshop.

    I myself would probably not attend a workshop. Well maybe I would, not sure. I'd like to learn how to edit my photos better and compose a shot better.

  3. I would LOVE to attend a photography workshop for women! I live in Georgia. I have had a DSLR for 3years now, I usually get good pictures but I know there is so much mor that I can do if I just knew how. I have been telling my husband for a few months now that I really want to take a class to understand my camera better.

  4. I have an SLR and LOVE IT. I don't know all the ins and outs of it yet because I never take the time to sit down and figure it out. But that being said, I LOVE IT. It takes AWESOME PICS, even if Im not the best photographer!

  5. Would you attend a photography workshop for women if one came to your city?
    *I think i might or might not, even though i love photography i am not sure i would attend a workshop, but my husband probably would, he loves photography more than i do and he would be more than wiling to, but then i guess it would have to be a men's workshop instead! lol

    What city/state are you from?
    I live in Calgary, alberta, Canada :)

  6. Something like that would be very good for me! I have problems with all the technical terms in the manual too and would much rather watch a DVD than read a manual. I would share it with my sister too who is becoming a great photographer but always likes to learn more.

  7. I just got my first DSLR in August--a Canon XSi and I am loving it so far. But I am in great need of some tutorials and these videos seem wonderful. I would also love to attend a workshop.

    Tonyababyrn at aol dot com

  8. I need these DVDs! My husband just gave me my first SLR for my 40th birthday and I'm doing my best to learn how to really use it, but I'm still pretty lost!

  9. If the cost of the class was no problem then I would definitely attend one. It would be fun to travel somewhere else to attend one, but it would be more convenient if it was in Tucson, AZ.

  10. I definitely would attend a photography work shop if it were reasonably priced. Just prior to my son's birth I purchased a Canon Rebel Xsi. I have recently started trying to use it outside of the automatic modes. I also recently took a very basic continuing education class on photography at my local community college.

  11. To be quite honest i probably wouldn't take advantage to her coming to my hometown. I find the cost to be a little daunting. I would however be one to take out the dvd from the library to check it out and if i liked it go out and purchase it for my own library of resources.

  12. I would SO attend one of Me Ra's workshops if given the opportunity!! I think I've mentioned before how much I LOVE her (oh and I totally agree about the "crazy professor" act. I think that DVD could have done without it.) A friend of mine went to one of Me Ra's workshops and the stuff she learned there was just priceless (plus I had the benefit to learn second hand what she learned). It is very much worth the money.

    I haven't seen the Refuse to Say Cheese DVD yet but it looks really good. It is definitely on my list. :)

  13. I have thought of photography classes I know our local Wolf Camera offers classes when you buy a camera from them. But a 2 day seminar sounds so interesting and fun. I live northwest of Atlanta which would be the closest big city to me. And if one came around this area I would really try hard to make it there.

  14. I have never thought of going to a photography class, but it sure would be useful! I flounder around on my own...I always try to shoot in the manual setting (I don't like the way pictures with flash look). I get LOTS of blurry pictures, but some great ones too. I know I should know more about ISO and the F-stop and all of that...I'd better get to that manual! :)

  15. I wish workshops on digital photography were more accessible. I have been trying to find some in my area for several years with no success so far. These dvds look like they might be a helpful alternative. Thanks for suggesting them.

  16. I have been wanting these videos for awhile because I love photographing with my Canon Rebel but feel like I need to learn more about technique and changing settings. These look like they would make it easy for me to learn more about how to use my digital camera!


  17. I would love to improve my photography skills! I also think my hometown of Chicago, Il, would be a prime candidate for a workshop.

  18. I would attend a workshop if it weren't so expensive. I know photography is a great skill to have and all those great pictures are priceless, but the cost of that kind of workshop is extremely prohibitive for me. Mediocre pictures are better than no pictures?

  19. I would attend one in a heart beat! I have been considering taking a local photography class for quite some time now. I love our camera and taking pictures is one of my passions....I would love to learn more techniques!

  20. I would love to win these DVDs. My daughter and I both got DSLRs a few years ago. She is now going into the photography business and my camera is sitting in the case. She takes much better pictures than I do, but I have always wanted to take good pictures.

  21. A photography workshop for women would be a joy, I love my digital camera but it's still a mystery.... I live in Cleveland and the Snowbelt makes an interesting background, if I only had a brain for my camera's capabilities!!

  22. I would definately attend one! I'm located in Tucson, AZ as well...but would be willing to make the drive up to the valley. We don't own a DSLR camera (yet), just a small Nikon point and shoot. But these dvd's look like a great resource to learn more.

  23. I would love to take a photography class. I don't have a SLR, just a point and shoot. I want to take the best pictures I can with what I have and hopefully some day soon I can upgrade.

  24. A workshop just for women. Now that's an interesting twist. Sounds like fun. Especially if they would help me get a picture of an active 4 year old and a 1 year old who likes to avoid "eye-contact" with the camera.

  25. Oooo a Photography workshop - now that sounds like a fun way to spend a day! But $1000? Not happening any time in the near future :) Oh well... guess I'll just spend some more time with my Daddy who is getting a DSLR for Christmas and who is an awesome hobby photographer! He probably could have gone places with his photography, but he had me instead so he went to "real" jobs and just did photography as a hobby when he could afford to!

  26. Heck yes!! I would, like you Stephanie, love to take a photog class one of these days. I have a digital, but would also like to learn to take photos (the old fashioned kind) and develop them. Something about that sounds so romantic to me.

  27. I'm in Hawaii in a very, very small town and I'd love to go to a conference however it is a big pricey so I'd have to save up for it! I didn't know all these resources are available. Our little one is growing up so quickly so I totally understand the importance of taking good shots!

  28. The big city I'm nearest is St. Louis, MO. I think the conference sounds a little pricey-but interesting. I would love the DVDs. I have always been a picture-taker and scrapbooker but have a recent interest in taking better pictures and being able to do fun things with them.

  29. I live in Seattle and boy do I wish I had a grand and could attend one of her workshops!! I have a canon rebel and would love to learn how to use it!

  30. I would be interested in attending a conference, but the price would have to be right. Seems like with $1000 I could get a photographer to give me a few one-on-one lessons and benefit even more from personalized instruction. But I love the idea of the DVDs - they're definitely something i would consider.

  31. I would love to attend a photography workshop, but that price just isn't in my budget. It sure would be nice to learn about my camera in a more hands-on environment.

  32. If I had a different camera, Id definitely be interested- we just have a point and shoot model, but I'd love to learn more about backdrops, etc.

  33. For $1000 it better be an awesome conference. I would attened one that was less expensive though. I would love to learn how to take better candid pictures of my kids.

  34. I would definitely attend- I was hoping to attend Nicole Hill's ( Photo class while she was in DC, but it was a big pep rally day at school (wouldn't be kind to leave a sub. to deal with that!) so I couldn't make it. Hoping she'll do another weekend nearby (I live in Baltimore). I've read my manual and a few books, but I really need the visual. DVDs might work great- hadn't thought about that option.

  35. I SO would attend one...but I live in ALASKA, the state that Americans who have never been here think is located down at the bottom of the country by Hawaii (true story!). I know I whine, but honestly, no one EVER comes here. Except PostSecret, Frank came and we loved him. So long story short, if it came they would come.


  36. I would definitely attend! I've wanted to learn more about photography since I was in college. Unfortunately I never had time to take a photography course. Someday...hopefully.

  37. Did someone say photography?? I am pretty much self-taught, but I firmly believe that I would learn so much more, and enjoy it along the way, if I went to a class. I would love to attend a photography workshop for women (in Phoenix, the fifth largest city!)

    At this point, I'd love some advice on what my next lens should be...

  38. I'd love to attend a workshop but I've been waffling over what kind of "good" camera I should get. I'd like to upgrade from my Sony point and shoot but I am not sure where to even start!

  39. Yes, I would totally love to attend a photography workshop in or near Tucson, AZ. I love taking photos, but some times have problems "catching the moments" or having the right lighting. Also, my sweet husband is giving me an SLR camera for Christmas this year! So the workshop would be useful.

  40. I bought a DSLR Sony Camera, but my pictures turn out the same quality as with my old plain camera. I would love to learn the secrets and have beautiful pictures of my kids!

  41. I would totally attend a photography workshop if it was close! I am from Kansas City suburbs. Something in Overland Park, KS or the nearby cities would be fantastic!

  42. I would definitely like to attend a photography workshop near Tucson, AZ! I've had "take a class on photography" on my to-do list for quite some time. Getting lots of info packed into one weekend would be very efficient!

  43. I am seriously thinking about buying an SLR!!! And these would be so helpful!! I would love to be able to take professional photos myself!

  44. It would be awesome to win these DVDs. My husband has been bugging me to get more into taking pictures lately (actually, just since we just shelled out money for professional pictures ;). He can give me very informative lectures about photography, but it does NOT sink in. Maybe I would pick up more from Me Ra!!

  45. I'd love to watch the videos, the workshop is a bit expensive for me. I would highly recommend workshops. She does art weekends across the country and teaches photo 101 and 102 classes as well. I've attended both 101 and 102 from her and learned SOOOO much. She's an amazing photographer and has the experience and training to back her workshops.

  46. I have always loved photography! I got my first camera when I was a little girl, it was a Polaroid Swinger (I am really dating myself). My boy friend, who I later married, bought me my first 35mm camera when I was around 20 years old and I just got a nice digital camera for my 50th birthday in October. I have never taken a class or workshop, but I have always wanted to. My 16yr old son is following in my footsteps and really enjoys photography as well.

  47. I think it would be super fun to attend a photography workshop. I took photography in high school and loved it! That was before the digital age and for some reason digital scares me.

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