Your subject won’t sit still or your moving between different lighting quickly… do not be afraid to use auto!
Sometimes I run into issues shooting in manual when I’m doing candid shots of children or people in groups. They’re constantly running in and out of the light, and up and down and around and through and over and under and. . .you get the picture. I can’t switch my settings fast enough to catch them before they’re on to the next adventure. When that’s the case I click over to automatic and thank my lucky stars! She’s so good to me!! Sure if I had time and patience I could fiddle and faddle around to get the precise setting, but generally I’m working against the light. I’ve gotta be quick so that I have a broad selection of photos.
Example: I was working an event just yesterday where there were many children running and playing. As well as adults holding an event under a pavilion. So in order to catch moments I saw occurring outside the pavilion and still snap shots of things under the pavilion I switched to auto. This is a common thing for me to do under these types of events. In this instance, there was another photographer in the area taking photos and noticed what I did. This started a discussion and I explained the kids are just running in and out or the shots so fast I can not adjust to them and still catch the official event. The photographer then simply gave me a, “That’s Interesting” comment, followed by a “I look forward to seeing how those turn out”. Now I am used to other photographers, and have met some rude ones. So instead of letting this bother me I decided to let it inspire me to give a short blog space to this. I might also mention this was a free gig my spouse’s employer.
Now let’s kill this rule real fast. I know when to use Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and how to adjust every setting on my camera to use manual when needed. But why should a photographer in a difficult situation be required to avoid the little green shape on their camera when the situation and lighting demands become unmanageable. Also why do other photographers seem to jump at the opportunity to call you on it. Being a professional photographer obviously does not mean you have to act professionally but it sure helps your cause. Now like I said before I had some other great talks with this guy throughout the day. We might actually work together at some point. This one comment just inspired me to kill a myth. So if the said photographer reads this I hope it is not taken negatively.
What do you think? Do you instantly discount another photographer’s skill if you see them switch to auto or do you judge it based on the composition of the photography? Again I have stated in the past, I see photos taken with cell phones that look more professional than some DSLR toting professionals. I assure you they were on the only the setting the camera has (Auto).