When Peanut was about 9 months old I got my first DSLR camera. Of course, like every new mama, I wanted to take beautiful pictures of my baby. But after more than a year of using it in auto mode, I realized pretty much the only difference between my old point and shoot photos and my big fancy camera photos was the clarity. It was frustrating to have such a nice camera but not know how to use it.

Over the past two years since I’ve started shooting exclusively in manual mode, I’ve learned a few things, and want to share six tips that have helped me take better photos, because really learning how to use my camera has made my photos infinitely better. Plus, I’ve teamed up with Marie from Bloom and Grow Photography to help you learn how to use your camera — and there’s a fantastic giveaway at the end of this post!

  1. Learn your camera. Shooting in auto is so incredibly limiting. This is where Marie comes in. She’s teaching a four week long online camera basics course every month that takes you through the ins and outs of your camera and gets you out of auto and into full manual use. I took the class last month, and even though I already knew how to shoot in manual, I still learned a ton and came away from the class taking significantly better photos than before. (enter the giveaway below for a free course!)
  2. Be patient. Once you’ve learned how to use your camera in manual mode, it still takes time to get good at shooting in manual quickly. I’m still getting there, even after shooting solely in manual for almost two years. It’s especially tough when you want to capture a shot and your kids don’t stop moving…but be patient. Setting up a shot quickly is a skill that takes practice! 
  3. You can always learn more. Just because you’ve figured out how to use your camera doesn’t mean you should stop learning and experimenting. My camera has video capabilities and that’s my next venture since I want to get better about filming my boys so I can remember their sounds, mannerisms, and personalities. But even without the video side of it, I still have a lot to learn about my camera. 
  4. Invest in a nice lens. The biggest difference in my photos came when I was I purchased a nice lens. My first one I purchased (besides the standard kit lens that came with my camera body) was a high zoom lens (I think it was 55-200mm), and instantly my photos were improved with this better lens. I certainly don’t believe you have to drop a few thousand dollars on a lens, but nicer (more expensive) lenses definitely are better and make a difference in your photos. I currently shoot exclusively with my 50mm f/1.4 lens, which was a bit of an investment, but it’s made a world of difference (although only when I started shooting in manual!)
  5. Think before you shoot. With kids this is definitely a little trickier since you usually only have a few seconds to get the shot, but this makes a world of difference for better photos. Take an extra second to make sure your settings are correct, and that your angle is the very best it can be. Turn your subjects toward a light source if you’re indoors, or move into a shady area if you’re outside so you don’t have harsh shadows. Get down on the your children’s level so you get a nice blurred background behind them rather than a straight shot down at the carpet or cement that they’re sitting/standing on. Whatever it might be, take a second to think through a few things and make your shot the best it can be. 
  6. Try continuous mode. I love using continuous or burst mode when I’m photographing my children. It allows my camera to take a bunch of shots in rapid succession, meaning I can almost always get the shot I want, especially if my kids are moving fast. Yes, I have to go through and delete about a hundred photos after the fact, but it’s worth it to get the perfect shot.

These are only 6 out of a million things that are helpful in getting better photos. So are you ready to learn those cameras?? 
As I mentioned above, Marie from Bloom and Grow Photography is giving away a free month long online camera basics course to one reader! 
To enter, leave a comment below telling me why you should win. What’s your camera situation? Why do you want to learn more about your camera? Really, anything. I just want to hear your photography stories or aspirations! Please include your email address in your comment so you can be reached if you win!

This giveaway will be open for one week — good luck!!

The winner is Holly Anderson! Congratulations!
  • I've made the switch from auto to manual about a year ago and my photos are still lacking. Learning on your own is tough! This course would be awesome and such a great help! jpkoontz@gmail.com

  • I have been playing around in manual mode but I find it tough to know what settings to use where. I almost need a cheatsheet…

  • I have resolved to shoot in manual mode so many times but I give up because I find myself fumbling with the camera and missing the photo. However, I take a million photos a week right now because my husband is deployed and I don't want him to feel like he is missing the (big and small) moments of watching our girls grow. Now would be the perfect time to finally learn the optimal way to shoot and to practice doing it quickly. maraviajera@gmail.com

  • I have resolved to shoot in manual mode so many times but I give up because I find myself fumbling with the camera and missing the photo. However, I take a million photos a week right now because my husband is deployed and I don't want him to feel like he is missing the (big and small) moments of watching our girls grow. Now would be the perfect time to finally learn the optimal way to shoot and to practice doing it quickly. maraviajera@gmail.com

  • I am hoping to take my son's senior photos this summer. This would be an amazing resource! Thank you for the giveaway.:)

  • I've been shooting manual for about 3 years and the hardest part for me it to slow down. I have 5 kids and the moments are so quick. I would love to get the basics more engrained in my brain so I can slow down but still be quick and purposeful! Thank you! slheitland@yahoo.com

  • I really want to take the best possible blog photos and I live in a dark apartment so I need help! I've been shooting in manual but I know there's a ton I still don't know!

  • I've just stated using manual mode, but I don't know enough about using light, where to put myself and the subjects etc. Soooo much more to learn, but I think this course would be a great place to start πŸ™‚

  • I would love to win in order to learn more about photography for my blog. I really want to invest in a good camera but I have no idea where to start! I feel like I have an eye for a beautiful photo but I don't always know the best way to capture it. Thanks for the great giveaway! Fingers crossed!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  • My husband gave me a new camera for Christmas. I love it, but every time I try to use manual mode, the pictures just never turn out quite right. I love your blog, and would love to win this. Thanks so much!

  • I have been playing around with my husband's Nikon D90 for a few months now, but have a long way to go before I start shooting comfortably in manual mode – some instruction and direction would be great!

    La Petite Noob

  • I have a nice camera, but after trying to move to Manual mode, I just get frustrated because I don't understand how everything works together! (elise.rabatin@yahoo.com)

  • I have a DSLR, and I don't know how to use it. I have my whole life ahead of me, and I don't want to miss a moment because when it's gone, it's gone.

    Ashley Foguel

  • This is such a great giveaway! We just got our first DSLR and I took one course online to shoot in manual and now I want more! I feel like it improved my shots so much and more instruction will do that again. My children are just getting older the more I put it off. I want to capture them well now. Thanks for the chance! jessicabkotter@gmail

  • I have a DSLR and I have recently started shooting in manuel mode. The hardest part for me is getting the settings right outside. Sometimes it is so bright that I have a hard time getting my pictures to not look wildly overexposed. That's the biggest thing I want to learn, although I'm sure I would learn so much more!

  • When I purchased my DSLR (about a year ago now) I had all the best intentions of learning how to use it completely. I ended up defaulting to the Automatic mode and just taking pretty pictures that way. I didn't know where to look for a class to learn about using my DSLR and I also didn't have time for physical classes. So that went by the wayside and I ended up never learning. Up until now, I pretty much have switched back to using my iPhone camera (which is fine sometimes) and my beautiful DSLR is gathering dust in its camera bag. I am expecting a baby come September so when I saw this post, I thought…this is PERFECT! What a great opportunity and what a great idea to take this course online. I want to be able to capture life's moments with my new little family through my DSLR camera's lens. Thanks for the tips! kendralueken@gmail.com

  • I have recently received a new canon camera that I have absolutely no idea how it works! I always take it on outtings and bring it to family functions, yet all I know how to do is simply point and shoot. It's disheartening to see the results and know that there's absolutely no problem with the cameras capabilities, the issue is all me!
    – Stephanie

  • I want to take great pictures of my baby. I know a little about manual but I'm no expert
    Christine.williams130 (at) gmail (dot) com

  • i have a nice canon rebel and want to learn how to use it better. also, just started blogging and want to take professional quality pictures, and finally i have a 4 kiddos that i want to photograph all the time!!


  • i got my first dslr just before our 6th and final baby was born in august. i am still figuring it out, but i want beautiful, special pictures of these fleeting days. thanks for the chance to win!!!

  • I'd love to capture all the moments of my precious family: from the super hero pajama parties to sticky birthday frosting fingers! Thanks!

  • I got my DSLR last July (Cannon Rebel T3i), and my pictures have improved dramatically over my point and shoot. We've also got a 50mm lens, but I almost never shoot in manual mode, despite the fact that I've spent hours reading the camera manual about manual mode, and various blog-post references on the internet, and I've even printed out a little "cheat sheet" to help me start getting my settings in order. When the moment comes, I just revert back to "no flash" and snap a few pictures. Now, with a new baby coming in June, I suspect that I'll have a subject who will HAVE to sit still enough for me to practice on…even if it's only for a short time. πŸ™‚

  • I've had my dslr for nearly 5 years but still shoot in auto mode = Switchig to manual is always in the back of my head and I just need the instruction to get started!

  • My husband and I have an Etsy shop, I have one DIY blog, and just started a food blog–and of course, I only shoot in auto. πŸ™ I could definitely use some help!!



  • Shooting mainly in aperture mode now, would love to learn how to quickly take manual photos!
    whiyneybreese at yahoo dot com

  • I actually want to win this course for my husband (who, ironically, is turning 25 today, so what a great birthday present this would be!). He saved some money and finally bought his first DSLR camera around Christmas. He hasn't been able to mess around and figure it out too much yet, but like you Merrick in the beginning, he mostly shoots on auto-mode. I would love for him to learn how to take beautiful pictures for his potential future career and our future babies.


  • I just need help figuring out my camera and most of all how to operate it on manual. I have a Cannon T3i and want so badly to use it to it's full potential! Thanks for offering such a great give-away!


  • I love my slr in manual mode but would love a refresher. Mads4deals@gmail.com

  • My husband bought me a nice dslr before our baby was born and I would love to better know how to use it! If I ever want to get creative in manual mode, it takes me forever and I end up resorting to auto because it's easier haha. Christina dot Fahlman at gmail dot com

  • I've had a DSLR for two years and have been struggling to find the time to learn how to use it! I bought a decent lens but I still am clueless when it comes to manual mode. I just started a blog this year and I feel like I won't be happy with it until I learn how to take quality pictures. This workshop would be so fantastic for helping me get a start on taking good photos for myself and my blog.

  • So, I used to feel guilty that I shoot in aperture mode instead of full manual, until I took a class from an amazing photographer (Stephen Oachs) who said he's in aperture mode 90% of the time. He said aperture is the key to any photo and cameras automatically adjust shutter speed to match. So unless you're doing something fancy with long or short exposures, it works. After reading your last post about tripod photography and comment-chatting with Janssen, I invested in a 50mm f/1.8. I LOVE it. Made my pictures better overnight. Once I fixed my ISO setting that had gone wacky, I was set.

  • I would love to win this because although I know how to shoot in manual I still feel like my photos are lacking! I would love to learn more about photography, especially framing, metering and how to get my focus crystal clear! I feel like I have to take at least 50 photos to make sure I get at least 10 good ones! I would love to learn how to make the majority of my photos ready to go straight out of camera!

    • Forgot to add an email address!! rebekahhaupt (at) gmail dot com

  • My husband totally surprised me with a dSLR (which I had desperately been wanting) 2 Christmases ago and I loved the instant improved clarity you talked about. But I'm frustrated with my limitations and I've decided this is the year to really learn how to use it. I just had our 4th baby and I know I could be taking amazing photos of these precious years while they're young if I knew how to use my camera better. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

    deannahneal (at) yahoo dot com

  • I just got my first DSLR and would love the class to learn to use it better. Thanks for the post!


  • Hi, I'm Rachel and it has been one month since I last shot in Auto…
    I have had a dslr for almost six years and never tapped into its potential until the past month. I started doing small business features on my blog and I have to take pictures of other people's products…not easy. The other thing is that I don't have a Canon or Nikon, so learning specifically about my camera has been challenging. My hubs got it on his mission in Australia and never kept the manual…anyway, I digress. I need to be able to take better pictures and now that I'm shooting out of Auto I could use all the help I can get.

  • I would love this course because I want to be a photographer! I have already taken one short course, but really need another to feel comfortable with my DSLR. This would be a great opportunity to help me get up and going!

  • We have a DSLR that we are slowly learning to use, but still typically use auto. I'd love to learn more!

  • I would absolutely love to win this since I got a Cannon Rebel camera also 3 years ago and have never learned how to use it and it now sits in our closet πŸ™

  • I have recently invested in a Canon DSLR and have been reading tons and tons of articles online, trying to ween myself off of auto! I slowly am making the transition, but think that this would be an awesome boost! My goal is to just take nicer/better family portraits!!! Thanks for the giveaway. laceyan@gmail.com

  • Like you I bought my first DSLR shortly after my baby was born with great intentions of learning how to take fabulous pictures. I am now two babies in and still shooting in auto. This would be a great start to learning more about how to actual use my camera. Thanks for the post! (amandarae79@hotmail.com)

  • I have a really nice camera. Just lack the confidence to shoot in manual mode. Would love a free class. Jocacioppo@gmail.com

  • I just got a Canon DSLR and am trying to teach myself on manual…. and I'm frustrated. Please help me! πŸ™‚

    braynofchalayn at gmail dot com

  • I never venture out of manual… it seems like such a waste to have a nice camera not even being used to its full potential!

  • I just got a Nikon DSLR as a Christmas gift, and really want to excel at it, and be able to use it's full potential!
    Photography has always been an interest of mine, especially because I just started a blog of my own, and really want to do it justice

  • I've had my Canon Rebel for a few years now, but even now I only know the bare basics of manual mode. I shoot in creative auto mostly on the warm setting and while I feel like the images on my blog are good and look high quality, I would like to amplify it and learn how to use manual so that all my photos don't always have the same photographic "warm" look!


  • I totally want to learn how to use my DSLR to capture moments with my kids, and not be frustrated because the picture didn't turn out even though I have a nice camera. πŸ™‚

  • I have a fancy new camera, and I learned about exposure and whatnot during college – but that was a decade ago and I've forgotten most of it! I'd love to have someone critique my pictures as well.

  • Oh don't worry – I'm totally taking the Bloom and Grow photography course AS WE SPEAK! So far I LOVE IT. It's been supes helpful for noobs like me who desperately just need to learn the basics. Love love love and highly recommend to anybody and urrrrrybody.

    p.s. Merr, your blog knocks my socks off. Like WHOA.


  • I only use manual on my camera, but I'm not always getting great photos. I would love to figure out what I can do to improve and get those awesome shots! dicer2 at hotmail dot com

  • Hello, my name is Marisa. I literally check Merrick's Art blog everyday – – you are a great inspiration!
    I have a Cannon 7D camera that my hubby got me for Christmas two years ago. For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for photography, but I either didn't have a nice enough camera, or didn't know how to use a DSLR camera. My life has been so hectic with school and work, that I have not had the chance to really learn how to use my Cannon. I have wanted to take a class to learn how to use it, but classes are usually a couple hundred dollars and it is just not in our budget at this time. We do not have any children yet, but we plan to start trying in the fall. It would be great if I knew how to capture precious moments BEFORE the kiddos arrive πŸ™‚
    The Cannon 7D is not a cheap camera, so I know it would also make my husband very proud if I actually knew how to use it! πŸ™‚
    My email is mbenedetti29@aol.com Thank you for considering me!!

  • We chose a DSLR for our wedding present from my parents, as we thought it could be something fun both of us would enjoy and the mere act of seeking out awesome scene photos makes you get outdoors together. It would be so good to really understand all the ins and outs. Thanks!!

  • I've had my dslr for (embarrassingly) for over 4 years, and I'm still shooting in auto mode. Actually, I've been using my iPhone more than anything lately. Last year I went from having 3 kids to 5 as we welcomed twin boys to our family. I've been wanting to take a photography class so badly, but as you can imagine, I'm extremely homebound right now! This would be wonderful as I would love to better capture this crazy/wonderful time we're in right now! hdandersen@gmail.com Love your blog, btw! You are inspiring!

  • My name is Amy- a recently married, recently moved to Alaska woman….who also recently bought a DSLR for better blogging!
    I have always loved photos…and I am a big iPhone photos fan, but my blog has needed a boost, and the new camera has helped a ton. I got a Canon EOS Rebel T3I, and I love it so far and have been trying to learn a bunch on my own….but it would amazing to take this course to be able to have better photos for my blog…and also to be able to photograph this beautiful state that we live in!
    Thanks so much for the tips, and for this wonderful giveaway! My e-mail is amydhodge@gmail.com

  • I just got my first DSLR for Christmas and I am really trying to learn, looking up all sorts of online tutorials and practicing whenever I can-I am participating in the 52 Project, taking a picture I am proud of, of my child, once a week, every week for a year-But I don't seem to be improving too much. I really really would just love to feel confident behind the camera and know how to take a great picture.

  • I have an expensive DSLR camera that I've never used in anything but auto, and I think this is the year to change that! I have access to photo editing software, and I have things I'm dying to take photos of – our DIY home renovations, and my new nephew coming in August! pinkmeghan@gmail.com

  • I have been thinking about investing in a nicer camera, but don't want to take the plunge without knowing how to use it. this class would be perfect! then I could convince the hubs to buy me my new camera πŸ™‚ (karenyuan@gmail.com)

  • AH! Why I want to win… well, like most who have commented, I have a Canon that I have yet to master. My husband bought it from his brother while we were engaged (in early 2013) and it's been my goal to document our lives from the beginning of marriage. I would love to make family year books that we can look back on and show our kids someday "how young mom and dad look!"

    And Marie — thanks for teaching! It's so refreshing to have someone share their knowledge instead of keeping it for themselves. Such a gift.


  • I have a dSLR that I bought a couple years ago. I have enjoyed learning to shoot on manual, and while I think I've gotten better, I definitely think that I could learn and improve so much more with direction.

  • My story is pretty similar to yours. I got my DSLR almost 5 years ago and have been shooting mostly manual for the last 2-3. I definitely need some more practice though and would love to get quicker at figuring out manual. There are times when I'm too worried I'll miss the moment with my kids so I just switch it to auto. I've been in a bit of a picture taking funk the last few months and this would be just the thing to get me going again!
    lindsey-hill @ hotmail .com

  • Glad to see this. I purchased a Nikon DSLR recently and just got a 50mm f/1.8 lens for my birthday this week, but have not taken either out of the box yet! Now that I have the whole kit, I think it's time to try it out πŸ™‚ This online class sounds perfect for learning how to get the most of out my camera. ariavidulich@gmail.com

  • I love your photos and I was exactly the same when I first got my camera. I'd love to learn more about how to use my DSLR and the possibilities I have with it. I think I only use it in a very basic and limited basis.

  • In the last 6-months, I've forced myself out of Auto and it has made for some really great pictures and some really huge headaches. Trying to get a picture of my kids.. taking 20 and realizing, after the fact, that all of them are wonky in some way is really heartbreaking! I want to keep learning! Shandi06@gmail.com

  • I have a DSLR but still wimp out and use manual mode almost all the time. I want to take better pictures of my kids AND better shots for my unofficial job as a school yearbook photographer!

  • Wow! What a great giveaway! I purchased my DSLR 4 years ago and I'm just venturing into manual mode. I feel like I'm getting better, but I'm not where I want to be. I just had my first baby 7 months ago and I can't tell you how many times I've ran to grab my camera to capture his moments, I snap the picture, and i check my camera only to be disappointed with the outcome. By the time I figure out the settings to what I need them to be, the moment is gone! It's very frustrating to have this happen and I wish I could be better, but I just need the help!


  • I've been using my DSLR for a couple of years and sometimes on manual, but I feel like there is still SO much I'd like to learn. I'd especially like to learn how to get less-blurry action shots of my kids!

  • I just got my first DSLR camera for Christmas because we are expecting our first in July! Having good pictures has always been important to me when we talked about having a family and I now know having a nice camera is only half of the battle! (but it sure makes a difference). ebciwixom@gmail.com

  • I have a Nikon D200 and even after years of owning it, I still get confused about aperture, light meters, etc. I could really use this course to figure out how to capture the lovely light in my toddler's eyes!

  • I'm where you were a few years ago, a DSLR stuck in auto. I need a nice lens but hesitant until I can get out of manual! Baby #4 is almslt here….. Help me get better pictures please!!!

    Stephaniemeyet at gmail.com

  • I love photography. I lived shooting in manual mode. But have learned how to learn how to shoot outside of it. But I love to learn and grow. I never want to get stagnant in my photography skills. So this class would be awesome!

  • I would love to win because I have a decent camera but no clue how to use it. I've tried reading articles, but my photos still aren't great. I would really love to use my camera more to document our lives, but need the motivation & instruction to take decent pictures.

  • kim

    Don't know if this will be allowed, but I'd love to win this for my friend, Claire. She's pregnant with her second girl and did a weekly photo series with her first born for the first year of her life. I loved it and started something similar. Anyway, I think Claire would love to get out of auto and start taking full advantage of her manual mode to take family shots and improve the pictures on her blog.

  • I would love love to win this! I have a Nikon and I would love to learn how to be proficient beyond the "auto" mode. I have a 3 year old and my husband and I are about to move away from our hometown in the upcoming months. I would love to take some awesome pictures of our daughter and the new state when we move! πŸ™‚

  • I would love to be able to take that class! I'm having my first child in two months, and I've had my DSLR for over a year now. I want to learn how to take a few good pictures of my husband and I before our baby joins us, as well as teach my mom how to use the camera so she can get some good photos from the hospital!!

  • Need this! Have had my Canon DSLR for 4 years and am still in auto. My three kids are my main subjects and we just found out we have one on the way. Would love to know how to shoot in raw before the birth. marie.n.cuneo@gmail.com

  • I purchased a DSLR about a year ago and have remained in Auto mode ever since. I've really been wanting to take a photography course, but the local classes don't fit my schedule. An online, user-friendly course for beginners would be perfect! I also have an adorable 3 year old puppy (he'll always be a puppy to me) who I adopted two years ago Sunday. The pictures I've been taking of him just haven't been cutting it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for this post!

  • I have a four month old and know exactly how you were feeling! I have a Nixon camera and only do auto I for her the only difference between my phone and the camera is it the picture is more clear. It makes me sad to have lenses but not really know how to use them all the while my baby gets older and I'm loosing those precious moments to capture her as she grows up. πŸ™
    Winning this would be amazing!! And would help me capture those once in a lifetime moments for us to share together when she's older. Thank you for the giveaway πŸ™‚
    My email is: jasminegonzalez44@yahoo com

  • I'm doing my kids' school yearbook and I need help! Please pick me!

  • I've had my DSLR for awhile and I am starting to get comfortable shooting in manual, but I need more practice! This class would help me get that practice! tara.huff(at)gmail(dot)com

  • yep, same story! i just had a baby boy and bought our first DSLR in november. we went with the sony a65 and have a 50mm lens along with another that i am not even sure of!
    I've been trying to teach myself how to use it but it has been hard to take myself away from the baby to read up online!
    i am so eager to capture all the moments of our miracle babe! of course, having better pictures for the blog would be a bonus! i finally feel like i have a good grip on the triangle with aperture iso and ss so theres that πŸ™‚ i want to learn more about lighting and white balance. really, everything!! i just want to soak it up.
    oh how i would love to win. sarahsamgoodman(at)gmail(dot)com πŸ™‚

  • My husband got me a nice camera about a year ago but I am having a hard time learning manual on my own. I would love to take a class and get better to show my husband that it was worth it!

  • it's sad how much i actually need this class. two and a half years ago, my bf bought me a pricey, nice camera. it's been sitting in it's box (almost) ever since. i brought it out a few times, but have found it too frustrating to use properly. i would love to learn! it'll definitely take a class for me to "focus."

  • Thanks for the tips! I've had a DSLR for a while now but don't really know how to use it…I saw a post of yours once about this class and I told my husband it was something I'd love to do once we were done with school and it was more affordable for us. Our son is just over 6 months old and I'd love to learn how to take better quality pictures to document our life! I've always loved photography and would like to say it's a hobby of mine, but there is a lot I still need to learn πŸ™‚

  • Your tips make my DSLR and new 50mm lens less intimidating, thanks! My husband has learned a lot with the 50 but since I'm the one who spends the most time with our kiddos, I really need to learn! My 7yo son won a school photo contest with a pic he took on my iPhone and I'd love to eventually be able to teach him how to use a real camera!

  • I would LOVE to be able to attend this class! I have wanted to be a photographer since I was in high school, but chose to go to a Christian college where photography was not a possible major. I graduated from college and got my teaching certificate. I now have a daughter and that passion for photography has been rekindled. I got my first DSLR 2 years ago, but I still haven't figured out all the ins and outs. I would love to eventually stay home with my daughter and use photography as some sort of income in the future.

  • I would love to be a part of this class because I am struggling trying to figure out my camera. I have an online shop that would greatly benefit from better photography skills. Thanks so much for the giveaway! My email is meganwbark@gmail.com

  • I would love to do this class! I've loved taking pictures all my life, but I feel like they could be so much better. My husband & I love to travel & it would be so great to be able to take fabulous pictures to capture our experiences!

  • I would so love to learn how to use my dslr, I feel like the thing is just collecting dust! I would love to take this class so that I am able to feel more confident with using my camera for when our first baby gets here in September!

  • I just purchased my first DSLR and I need major help! I'm moving from Utah to Hawaii in a few months and would love to learn how to take the best photos so I can take full advantage of my time there! sawyer.jill@gmail.com

  • I have always wanted to get better at shooting pictures. I love scrap-booking and taking my photos from mediocre to marvellous would help me advance in my craft. kerryberrykirsch@yahoo.ca

  • I would love to start more effectively using my DSLR and taking the photos of my kids that I want!

  • Of all the giveaways offered, I would LOVE to win this one and feel it would be super beneficial for me. I purchased our DSLR before my 18 mth old was born and have slowly moved to manual mode but still have so much to learn. I would absolutely die if I won this!

  • I got a camera for my birthday/having a baby and I am still shooting in manual! Ugh! christene.edenfieldATgmail.com

  • I am a realtor and taking good quality pictures is money! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • I bought my DSLR mainly for the blog but now I realize I would love to take more candid moments of my son. They grow up way too quickly and would love to capture these moments on camera.


  • I want to take the next step with my camera… we are ready for a steady relationship!

  • I just bought my first DSLR and I am in desperate need of a class like this!!! I wanna win girl!

  • I have had my DSLR for the last 5 years. In those last five years this camera has seen me through college, a few months in Israel, marriage and will now will see our first baby but…..I have yet to move to manual mode. I am dying to learn how to truly use my camera and make up for the last 5 years of just okay pictures! Wonderful giveaway! sydneybarfuss@gmail.com

  • Really want to learn to take great pictures with my DSLR camera as my "baby" has only 3 years of High School left and I want some good photos of sports, friends, dances etc.

  • I have told myself a thousand times to just sit down and read my manual, or just spend a little time playing around with the camera settings, but here I am still shooting in auto mode. I would love to win in order to get better shots of my kids, our life in Italy, and big upcoming transitions! beccagarber@gmail.com

  • My husband bought me my first DSLR for Christmas and I would love to really learn to use it! I took a photography class in college but it was all film (which I loved!) so now I'm ready to master this camera as well. (Well, at least move out of manual. Baby steps to mastering.) whitneycteeter@gmail.com

  • Ok, Ok, I don't just want to win this, I need to win this! I just had my 3rd baby (in 3 1/2 years) and need pics of my sweet ones! My husband bought me a DSLR when we had our 2nd baby and now he won't let me get their pics taken professionally. I have tons of snapshots, but need to know how to take really good pictures. My babies are growing so fast, and I need to capture it! Thanks! rbrowngibson@gmail.com

  • I love my DSLR but I'm not comfortable with it yet. I would love to win this!

  • I love the pictures my DSLR produces (and wonder why I didn't make the switch earlier!) but I'm still shooting on auto mode because I can't get any of the manual modes to work right. I just dont understand all the photography jargon. Would love to go through a photography course!

  • I'd love to win and take this class so I can translate my SLR skills (from three years of classes in high school) to a DSLR camera. I know there's so much more that I can do that I don't know is available!

    Email: toy.elizabeth [at] gmail [dot] com

  • My amazing fiance got me a DSLR for Christmas after he noticed how many pictures I was taking with my phone and how they seemed to get better and better all the time. I have been reading blogs with great photography like yours mostly to learn how to use it. I have really been trying to use manual or at least Av mode to try and force myself to learn about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (mentally I'm getting the terms, but they're not quite translating consistently yet!). I wanted to take a class at my local community college but with wedding expenses piling up it's just not an option right now. I plan to take my camera with us on our honeymoon and I'd love to be more comfortable with it by then! Thank you for the chance to win! kelsey.dunn@gmail.com

  • We got a Nikon DSLR when my now almost three-year-old was born. Baby #3 is on the way, and I'm still stuck in auto! I so desperately want to get better so I can capture these beautiful moments with my little ones, but my mom brain is just SO, SO tired–I long for someone to come alongside and show me what to do! Thanks so much for the opportunity πŸ™‚ mommynotesblogs@gmail.com

  • I would love to win! πŸ™‚ I have a Canon Rebel…love it! Want to learn how to take better pics of my three busy kids! I have bought a few books….but would rather learn from a class. I will actually be in Hawaii for one of those weeks of class-I would have SO much fun practicing my new skills there! Thanks for the chance!
    Amy : mommyinca@yahoo.com

  • I've had a DSLR for about 4 years and have actually stopped using it because it is so much easier to use my phone– totally ridiculous, right? I need to learn how to use my camera so that I want to use it more because I know there is some great potential for shots of my kids in there somewhere. Thanks! laurielarsen2000@yahoo.com

  • I've been trying to primarily shoot in AV or M for about a year, but still get so lost. I've searched tutorials and youtube for helpful guides, but it seems like the ones I start to understand are course teasers that share just enough to get you hooked and have a cost for the real good info. 2 kids and a 1 income family, that isn't in the budget. Doesn't even come near the top of the list. If I win that'd be awesome. Whoever wins will definitely get a lot of awesome tips and advice. Thanks for the chance at an exciting giveaway.

  • I got my camera as my push present for our first baby. He was due in January but came premature so I never got to learn how to use the camera before he got here. He is now 3.5 months, healthy, mad I'm still capturing our moments in auto mode. Coachgarvey@gmail.com

  • I'd love to learn more about my camera and take better pictures of my boys! Thanks!

  • I recently got my first dslr and although I've been challenging myself to only shoot in manual, I'd love to perfect how to take REALLY good shots!

  • I've had my DSLR for about 5 years and have tried learning how to use it and sort of gave up on it, and now I mostly just use my phone! I wish I could learn how to use my camera so bad, I miss having photos of my kids worthy enough to print!

  • Soon after I started blogging I realized how little I knew about photography. It's definitely something I'm working on improving…I still use auto mode but working on getting myself to manual. vainandsimpleblog@gmail.com

  • I finally got my first DSLR a few weeks ago after pining for one for about 6 years. I've used vintage film SLRs for a few years, but never completely felt comfortable with them – I just don't know enough about the different settings available. I would love to learn more about photography and my new DSLR because it's a hobby I truly enjoy and I want to develop my skills πŸ™‚

  • Great tips! I have only tried manual mode a few times and really want to learn, but reading a book about it all is the last thing in my to do list. A class would keep me accountable!

  • I have had my dSLR for a couple of years. 99% of the time I shoot in 'A' mode with my main subject being my kids. For some reason shooting in Manual Mode scares me! I think because I don't understand how exactly the ISO, shutter speed and aperture relate to one another especially with changing light situations. I would love to learn more! catelouise10@gmail.com

  • Hi I do not own a DSLR at the moment but the very idea of capturing moments on a camera has always been fascinating to me. I try using my phone camera but it does not work well. I also started a blog a few months ago but my phone couldn't take as good pictures and ultimately I decided to delete the blog. It would be a great encouragement if I won. πŸ™‚

  • I've saved up for a DSLR for half a year and now that I have it, I want to utilize it to its maximum potential. Right now even though the photos are of great quality, I feel like I'm not even using half of the camera's capabilities. Would be really helpful to take better pictures for my online cake business. :o) kisa.karrot@gmail.com

  • I love learning about my new dslr camera and having the opportunity to learn more would be awesome!

  • I have a DSLR and love it, but would love to figure out the settings. I'm under-utilizing my nice camera and learning more about it has been on my "to-do" list for some time now!

  • I have a DSLR and enjoy taking pictures of my kids but am ready to take my photography to the next level!

  • I take pictures for my blog so much and I would love to learn more from it!! I would love to win this!

  • I just got my first DSLR for Christmas so I need help!

  • I'd love to learn so I can also take good quality pictures and have my husband IN the pictures. Currently he's the "photographer' and there are so few pictures of him. For once, I'd like the ability to capture the moment with him and the kids.

  • I have a dslr, and my dad got me a nice prime lens for Christmas. This is the first hobby we've shared, and I love seeing his tickled he is when I send him pictures. He even set up a tumblr for us to share pictures with each other. I'd love this course, because I have a lot to learn. I also want to get better so that I'm taking pictures more often- it would make my dad so happy! This has been a great bonding experience, and and after some health scares I'm excited to have something to share with my Dad. I just want to make him proud! (And let him know I'm getting his money's worth with the lens:)! )

  • I have a Canon Rebel my husband gave me that I would love to learn how to properly use. Capturing the fleeting moments of babyhood is such a precious thing for every parent, and I would like the opportunity to do that in a way that preserves the authenticity and wonder in the life of my little family. Beautiful photos are a wonderful addition to any blog, but they are also such a precious way of remembering the small details of the bittersweet, gone-too-quickly experiences of watching our children grow up. I want to win so that I can truly never forget what raising my son looked like, and so that the memory of the every day and the extraordinary can be revisited over the years to come.


  • I have a Canon Rebel. I absolutely love taking pictures, of everything and everyone…which all my family and friends love…since they get a free photography session from me for holidays, family photos, events…etc. I'd love to learn more basics or even some fancy stuff…so that I can give them even better photo memories. I do it for free, because I think it blesses people…and sometimes, people need a good blessing! PS, love this blog…so fun to read and a wholesome outlook. Cheers!

  • I have a nice Nikon camera and I have been taking pictures for a little over a year with it and I feel so frustrated with most of the pictures I capture. Nothing comes naturally and I seem to get struggle with what setting to use because each and every situation is different. We have a two year old grandson and I feel he will be going to college before I can learn to take quick story-telling photos. Please help πŸ™‚ Thanks, Marge


  • I have a nice Nikon camera and I have been taking pictures for a little over a year with it and I feel so frustrated with most of the pictures I capture. Nothing comes naturally and I seem to get struggle with what setting to use because each and every situation is different. We have a two year old grandson and I feel he will be going to college before I can learn to take quick story-telling photos. Please help πŸ™‚ Thanks, Marge


  • Re

    I should win because I just got a DSLR camera and I have a wonderful 5 month old baby boy to take pictures of.

  • Hi! Thanks for the tips! I have a Panasonic Lumix bridge camera, with all the manual settings, but it's not a DSLR camera just yet. I bought it because it's cheaper, and I figured I would learn the trade with it before buying a DSLR. That was 5 years ago :). I travel often and would love to be able to take great pictures of my surroundings and my family, so any help is welcome! Cheers, Anne (annekatrien.debien@gmail.com)

  • Jen

    I'm about to have a baby and have never gotten my camera out of auto mode! Would love to be able to take better pics. jen.m.simmons@gmail.com

  • My hubs finally broke down and got me a Canon for Christmas, and while I have been shooting in manual mode, I have no clue if what I'm doing is what I should be doing. Now that I have an eighteen month old whom NEVER stops moving and I'm due with baby number two in September, I would love to step up my game before the new babe gets here! I would love to be able to capture my children just as I see them, but in beautiful pictures! jamie.suhre@yahoo.com

  • I've gradually moved up in the DSLR world over the past few years. I started with a Pentax K10D and I currently shoot with a Canon 7D (mostly with a 50mm f/1.4 lens). I love my Canon, but I know that there is so much more that it is capable of that I'm not utilizing. I would especially like to learn more about low light/indoor photography. leanne127@gmail.com πŸ™‚

  • I have been desperately needing some photography training since I was given a camera (Nikon D50) early last year and still have no clue what I'm doing. I'm a college student, but also working on my Labor Doula certification. I have a passion for birth, and may one day go on to become a midwife. My desire is to be a decent photographer so I can not only coach the mother through labor and birth, but to capture the priceless moments of a baby coming into the world. It would mean so much to present the mother with beautiful pictures of the first moments with her newborn. – graceinchristforever@gmail.com

  • I've had my DSLR for 2 years and really want to master it! I use a Canon T2i and would love to know how to use manual mode to get better pictures! ginahigby(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Hi, I actually would like to enter for my wife. She loves photography and has a great eye, but she doesn't have as much confidence in herself as I think she should (she's amazing). This would be awesome for her and give her a real boost and help her believe in herself more. pourlebebe at yahoo dot com

  • I sound just like you! I am a new mommy (well, she's two now) and I have a good DSLR camera that I bought to use on her but I suck! My desire is to not have to pay photographers anymore. I enjoy photographing and need to pay attention to your tips, but this class sounds perfect! I look forward to taking this class, thank you for your time.
    -Tricia Wilkinson

  • i know this is a long shot but i am very interested in entering your contest to take a free class, i have been doing photography for 7 years, i always got a new camera every Christmas from my dad, the next better than the last. photography is my life i believe a single photo can say so much, i have faith in myself, and a lot of support from family and friends, i would love to learn more about my camera and how to use the manual mode a little more.. my hopes are high…— Shelby Ransom (Shelby_ransom@yahoo.com)

  • I would love to win this giveaway, it's exactly what I've been needing to take better photos of my new baby boy. As a new Mom I want to capture all of his firsts and sweet times in between. I was gifted a Canon G15 2 years ago and have yet to figure out how to shoot on anything but auto, help!


  • Oh my goodness – I would love to win this! I currently shoot in manual mode, but I feel like i have barely tapped the surface. I know I could learn so much more!

  • I am slowly getting better, but this giveaway, this would be the ticket to success. Or at least being slightly better at using my camera. I think it is awesome that Marie is doing this! Her photos are beautiful!

  • Love these tips!!

  • I've always been interested in photography (and even took a picture a day for a year!) but still only shoot in auto. I would love to learn how to shoot manually! Kristin(dot)heinze(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Hope I'm not too late for the giveaway! We got a DSLR when my first boy turned one thinking that we can capture great moments with him on the go all the time. Now that our second boy turned two, we are still using the auto mode, never learn to use the manual mode. If I won, this will force me to learn and hopefully get to use our camera to it's full potential!