Misha Media 101 – How the *%$! Do You Use This Camera?

Now, being a “creative” I’ve always been intrigued and amazed with great photography. The ability to capture a moment into a single image is a beautiful thing and today’s technology allows anyone to become a photographer. HOWEVER (and that’s a big however), it takes years of experience, training (or even self-learning), and a “creative eye” to understand how to instill emotion, character, a story, or a message into an image… But first things first. You NEED to know how to use a friggin’ camera :).

Nikon D300I recently came into posession of a Nikon D300, with a 16-85mm lens (3.5-5.6), and a Speedlight SB900 – pretty fancy schmancy. Only problem was, I had no idea how to use it. Even after looking through a ridiculously large manual, which was no help due to the terminology, I found myself using the camera as a point-and-shoot, furiously fidgeting with the settings to figure out how things worked. Needless to say, this resulted in a lot of too dark, too bright, grainy and/or blurry images. Some would come out okay, but if you asked me what I did I couldn’t tell ya…

Thankfully, Misha Media (a Chicago-based wedding photographer) came to the rescue and held their first Photography 101 class.

I’ve been a huge fan of their work for quite some time. Their innate ability to “see” things that we ‘Photographically-Challenged’ don’t is simply amazing. This is evident in the way they use the environment to create lines, how they use lighting, manipulate space, create focal points, etc…

In their 7-hour class they provided instructions on the following:

  • basic camera functions
  • brief explanation of lenses (and what all of the numbers mean)
  • shooting modes
  • white balance
  • ISO
  • aperture
  • shutter speed
  • lighting
  • metering
  • histograms
  • framing
  • and composition

What’s great is they provided a technical explanation of various features and then re-explained it in layman’s terms or what they dubbed as the “Ghetto-fabulous” way. Afterwards, we went through some shooting exercises to gain a better grasp of everything.

Personally, I thought it was a great class. They have an undeniable passion for photography and genuinely want to help others learn the beauty of their trade. Whether you learn better by lecture, hands-on, or both, their class format allowed for an easy learning environment. You’ll walk away thinking about the “4 Items” and “Triangle” every time you pick up your camera. No more auto, programmed, or preset shooting modes. Manual Mode from here on out… Yea-yo! Now I need to practice, practice, practice. Stay tuned for new posts displaying any new photos

For anyone in the Chicago area, if you have a digital SLR and want to learn the basics of how to use it, I highly recommend joining one of their sessions. It was only $99 + processing fee (pricing is subject to change at any time). Check out their blog at MishaMedia.com/blog for more info or join their facebook page to see when they’re hosting their next session. If a class setting isn’t for you, they also host private group and single sessions.

[Misha Media is a Chicago-based wedding photographer that has been in the business for 5+ years. In addition to wedding photography, they also offer engagement sessions, destination wedding photography, kids/children shoots, and mini-photo sessions.]

Some photos from the day

Photo showcasing depth of field.
Photo of Dasani Water bottle.

Photo showcasing an action shot. Right photo was cropped in post-editing.
Example Action Shot

Photo assignment = Shoot this set of flowers in 5 different ways (here I’m only displaying 4).
4 different photos of flowers

Photo showcasing another depth of field shot.
Coke  can against cityscape

Example photo showcasing a focal point with blurry motion in the background. This photo was cropped in post-editing.
Motion Example

Another example of an action shot.
man jumping

Playing with reflections
reflection images

Photo taken with a single, dominant light source (hard light).
Photo of stuffed animal

Fun photo taken to demonstrate “painting with light.” Photo was cropped in post-editing.
Light Painting photo