A photographer I’ve been following on 500px for a while now just published a free eBook. Woot free! Woot eBook! Woot photography knowledge! Unfortunately, he brings up one point that I’m not sure I can forgive him for, and I can’t decide if it is just snobbery that is causing this reaction.
When I started shooting, my camera was in automatic. I was blocking the AF-Illuminator light with my finger while holding the camera because I had no idea what the light was. I shot with a lot of build-in camera flash because I didn’t know any better. We all do stupid things when we start shooting, so when I read that this guy encourages people to start out shooting in P mode, I figured, “OK, fine, the point is to get someone hooked and thinking about composition so they want to figure out what all they can do with their tool (the camera).” But then he proceeded to say that he still shoots in P mode and there’s nothing wrong with it, writing, “It’s not the settings which make you a good photographer.”
And that’s true, to a point. The most technical photographer in the world will produce crap if they can’t see the photo and capture it successfully. But I would argue that not knowing how to use your camera in manual is a major disadvantage and similar to pulling out a paint-by-number kit instead of opening up a huge art box and a blank canvas. I feel that you will never be entirely in control of your photo until you are the one making all your choices, or at least knowing what you give up when you don’t. Maybe I’m just too much of a control freak.