Learn about shutter speed and you can take pictures like this...
I've been trying to put together a lesson plan for a class (or classes) that I want to teach after the holidays. I meet so many people who have these nice cameras and just don't understand how to use them. The problem for me is trying to figure out what it is that people really want to learn. I have no desire to teach someone what all of the buttons do on their expensive camera. I do, however, love teaching people how to take good photographs. Once you learn how to take good photographs you can do it with any camera.
The trouble with photography is that the hardest thing to learn is the very first thing that you have to learn. The great thing is, once you learn that very first hard part, the rest is much easier. My fear is that people will come to my class thinking that I will simply show them what setting to put their camera on so that they can take a good picture and then be shocked when they discover that I actually planned to teach them how photography really works. The truth is that modern cameras have a hundred different settings for every possible situation and yet none of them will ever be able to take a picture as good as a photographer with his camera set to "manual." Only the photographer knows what he is taking a picture of. Only the photographer knows how he wants the picture to look.
The good news is that you don't have to try and learn what all of the buttons do on your fancy camera because you really don't need those buttons at all to be a good photographer. In fact, if you plan to use all those "auto" settings on your camera then you really wasted your money. While it's true that your $700 camera may take better pictures than your $200 camera, I can guarantee you that it won't take $500 worth of "better."
The bad news is that you are going to have to learn a little bit about photography if you want to be a good photographer. You need to understand shutter speed and its relation to motion blur and ambient light. You need to understand aperture and its relationship to depth of field. You need to understand ISO and its relationship to grain. Finally, you need to be able to put these three things together and understand how they interact with each other. It sounds daunting, I know, but if you can just find your way clear to learn it you will suddenly discover a whole new world is available to you.
You can see much more of my work on www.boorayperry.com.