Once upon a time I bought a Canon Rebel XTi.

I thought I was the bees knees. The cats meow. The end all be all. The Queen of Camera Land! Being the clearly unstoppable force that I was, I couldn't wait to photograph my very first wedding! With my fish-eye lens attachment in one hand and my camera in "P mode" in the other, boy oh boy did I think I hit a home-run! I remember coming home from the wedding day, uploading my cards, and anxiously waiting to see how I did.

Then....I remember being so crushed at the results.

I remember being frustrated that so many images that looked sharp on my LCD were actually blurry. I remember posing the bride near the window in an attempt to get that beautiful glow that Elizabeth Messina gets in every single photo...and being so sad to find an underexposed, barely salvageable image. And I remember the moment where I said "It's okay, I can fix it with...Photoshop ACTIONS!"

Even though I was over-the-moon proud of my first wedding, and I bragged to my then-boyfriend (now husband) about how these are going to be the best wedding images they've ever seen...I was truly motivated to actually learn how to USE my camera after this wedding. A friend of mine said "Cassi, you just need to put your camera in manual mode and don't let yourself switch it back to P. You will learn."

I thought of it as a challenge and a game!

Every time I was in a new lighting situation, I'd play around with my camera settings until I was able to create a pretty picture and then try to memorize the settings! I'd get it right, then mess up all the settings and try and get it right again on the first try! I'm pretty sure I can accomplish anything as long as it's in game format!! :)

What seemed like the most daunting project of all time, ended up being the most freeing experience ever! I was finally able to do all the things that I wanted to do, but use to only be able to do if my auto-focus made a mistake (like that bokeh shot below). I was in control finally! Here are some before and after samples of the huge difference it makes to know your gear!


So today I want to encourage all of you to tackle something daunting...whether it be learning your camera or cleaning your basement or finishing that book by Marcel Proust...it may take time, but start today. And if that's not motivation enough, here's the internet meme that inspired this post! :)