Index of Entries

A lot of people have asked me for an index page of the material on the site. The Exposure Lessons in Order are the key lessons on the site– the basics of exposure. Here are the most interesting ones that don’t fall into the exposure lessons category.

General Photography Tips

f/8 and be there is a great rule of thumb for shooting in a hurry in good lighting, or for general purpose photography.

Ten Tips For Your New dSLR are, well… you don’t need me to explain that, do you?

Photographers’ Rights More and more, photographers are getting hassled by authorities, or people who think they are authorities. Know your rights!

What is Bracketing? is a rundown of a basic technique for making sure you get a good shot.


How to take a picture of the moon shows you how to get a good photo of that big thing in the sky. You probably guessed all wrong.

How to shoot tonight’s eclipse has tips for capturing a lunar eclipse.

Shooting Through a Fence tells you what to do if there’s a fence between you and your subject.

Shooting at the Zoo contains tips for hunting zoo animals. With your camera, silly.

Action Shots – A Quickie shows you some tips for capturing fast-moving things in challenging conditions.


What do lens terms mean? tells you what all those funny numbers on your lens mean.

What is focal length? explains this rather simple concept.

Why are there spots on my picture? shows you how dust can affect your images.

How to Clean Your Sensor shows you what to do about dust spots.

Gifts for the dSLR owner lists useful accessories for your camera.

What is Bulb Mode? explains this unusual shooting mode.

Where to go for gear reviews shows you a couple of my favorite review sites.

I want a camera that takes better pictures! talks about the role that your camera body plays in taking good photos.

The Histogram

The Histogram introduces you to this useful concept.

Histogram: What is it? explains how the histogram works.

What is a good histogram? shows you what a normal histogram might look like.

Histograms: When weird is OK shows you some “unusual” histograms for well-exposed photos.


A really cool utility! for calculating depth of field.

Two interesting photos that I found on my local newspaper’s site.

DPI: Why you (probably don’t care explains the oft-misunderstood concept of Dots Per Inch.

14 responses to “Index of Entries

  1. TJ

    thank you thank you thank you!!! You have no idea how often I use this website for a reference. The index will really help! You know, I tend to post here when I run into problems. But comparing this year to last year at this time, I’m getting better! I can use the manual settings. And I do have a rudimentary idea of how ISO, shutter speed, and aperture work. I do think about how I’m going to take a picture and what it’s going to look like before I push the button. Just in case you haven’t heard it enough, thanks so much Patti. This website has been just awesome in helping me learn more about my camera and photography.

  2. Diane

    Hello, Some friends of mine have a band and they play alot of indoor parties. They have some really strong stage lights and I’m having a hard time getting decent shots of them because of the lights, usually over exposed. The only flash I have is the pop up flash on the camers (Canon EOS Rebel XSi). Can you give me some pointers on how to take some good/great shots of them? Distance is no problem, I can get as close as I like. Thanks for a great web site and for your help.

  3. stopshootingauto

    Diane, concert photography is challenging. It’s not my strong suit, but I’ll do my best. Can you show us some examples of images that didn’t turn out as well as you wanted?

  4. Diane

    Hi, I’ve sent you some samples from the email you sent me.
    Thanks for all your help,

  5. To the person that has friends with the band and indoor parties,

    I don’t use a flash with any of my concert shots. I use ambient light and a low light lenses. Generally f/2.8 or below.

    A 50mm can get you some great shots. Canon has theirs in a few different versions. I own a 1.4 model but they make a cheaper version f/1.8 for under $100. It is a fast low light lens. The one I have is a bit over $300 but offers a half stop lower light and better construction of course.

    Which ever one you get if you do decide to, bumping up the ISO and lowering your f/stop can get you some great shots. I use manual setting on all my cameras and vary the shutter and ISO frequently depending on lighting. Even some with the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb. It just takes practice and being in the right place to use the available light to your advantage. Keep in mind, you won’t get every shot.

    I’ve done concerts, dance companies, portraits and other subjects in low light and have a few on my flickr site. Feel free to browse it if you like.

    This site has a lot of great info that if you read enough, will give you a great understanding on what you can do also. Keep in mind all your situations are different and will get you different results as well. Good luck and happy shooting.

  6. Diane

    Thaks Doc, I do have a 50mm f/1.4 I’ll give it a try the next time I see the band. I need something that’ll get a little closer because the band is on a stage and I’m limited on how close I can get to them. Thanks for your help.

  7. Diane,

    I also have a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens I use for low light concert, dance and other shots. I use it on a monopod and it gives me great shots. i know it’s not the Canon model, but works great too. Again, I have pics on my flickr site proving it. It gives me great range and the ability to close or further away. It is a good substitute for the more expensive Canon lens. I actually recommend it for a budget also. Something you might take a look at. the lens will do macro also, but I haven’t used it for that yet. You may not find a review for it since it came out last year, but something to look at.


  8. Frank Kelly

    Quick question.
    I was standing in a full bright sunny area, but the folks I was trying to shoot were under a heavily shaded canopy area. I was shooting F/8 AperPr,ISO 200 and the shots came out all blurry.
    Can you suggest what setting I could/should have used.


    • stopshootingauto

      It (mostly) doesn’t matter what light you’re in– you were taking a picture of people in shadows. It sounds like you were using too slow a shutter speed.

      This is a good time to pay attention to what your camera is telling you. When you pres the shutter button halfway, it will tell you what shutter speed it plans to use. Look in the viewfinder, and you’ll see that information. If the shutter speed is too low, you have a few options. You can use a wider aperture. You can use a higher ISO. Or you can add light. OK, you could also move your subjects out of the shadows.

      Too add light, you use fill flash. Entire articles can be written about fill flash and about flash in general, but definitely consider flash as an option when your subjects are in shadows.

  9. jane

    im just so glad i stumbled on this has virtually all i need to make great photos and also understand the concept of achieving them.however, i may have some questions to share when im stuck.i hope to get positive answers

  10. jane

    i own a canon powershot sx200 that i just got recently but im still trying to find my way round it.its proved challenging so you have any tips?
    thank you

    • stopshootingauto

      I’m not at all familiar with the camera, but based on a quick glance at Canon’s website it looks like the camera has aperture priority (Av), shutter priority (Tv), and manual (M) exposure modes. It also has manual focus. That means you should be able to put the camera into those shooting modes and walk through the lessons.

  11. TJ

    Patty, I tried to take some pics of my family sitting around a firepit roasting marshmellows last week. They did not turn out well at all. Was using a 70-200 telephoto lens. The widest the camera would let me open the aperture was 3.5. I let it pick the shutter speed. Most pics were too dark to see anything but vague outlines of people. The ones where you could tell who was who… sorta… were pretty orangey. The only good pics were where I used a flash which I really didn’t wanto do. I didn’t have any other lenses with me at the time. But guessing a macro lens would’ve helped let more light into the camera. Other than that, what else could I do?

    • stopshootingauto

      There are a few things to attack here.

      First, a macro lens isn’t designed to let more light in. A macro lens is designed to let you focus very very close, so that you can get pictures of very tiny things like bugs and flowers and coins.

      Second, the pictures were pretty orange because fires give off a very orange light. You want a little bit of that in your images to set the mood, I think, but this is about setting the white balance. If you shot them in raw, you can go back and fix that easily. I would either use incandescent, or the lowest manual temperature your camera has.

      Finally, the metering. Here’s the problem– an image like that has an extremely large range of brightness. The fire itself is very bright, and everything around it is pretty dark. Your sensor isn’t going to be able to do a good job of capturing both, so you’re going to have to choose either well-exposed people (with a super-bright fire) or well-exposed fire and very dark people.

      Your meter also won’t do a very good job. What I would do is to put the camera in manual mode, and take some test shots until I found an exposure that was basically right. Check your images from time to time to be sure that nothing has drifted, but by and large the light will be consistent as long as people are about the same distance from the fire. Again, shoot raw so that you have some extra latitude for corrections.

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