Best Online Tool I've Seen for Learning Manual Photography (Canon)

Best Online Tool I've Seen for Learning Manual Photography (Canon)

I can think of at least five times where a client has pulled me aside in the past year to ask how they can use their camera better, outside of the automatic setting - I've drawn out countless exposure triangles on napkins, newspapers, even an iPad drawing app, and despite my best efforts I can sometimes tell they're still confused from my brief lesson. For now on, no more triangles, I've found a great website that anyone can learn from.

That website is http://www.canonoutsideofauto.ca. No they didn't pay me to say that, less than 20 minutes ago I didn't even know they existed! "Canon Outside of Auto" provides a well-designed interactive interface (based on the Canon exposure setting system) along with clear and easy-to-follow instructions, allowing the user to visualize how each adjustment they make effects the final photo.

What I really like about the site, is it allows the user to decide how far they want to go with their lesson, all within 3 pages. The "Learn" page describes each setting/principal and offers a visual of the explanation for aperture, shutter, ISO, and exposure. The user can then move on to the "Play" page, where they can apply what they learned using sliders to create a photo of an example scene, giving the freedom to make creative decisions on motion blur, aperture, etc. Or use aperture/shutter priority modes. Once the user is comfortable with the concept, they can then move on to the "Challenge" section of the site, which provides a series of timed tests with instructions for certain exposures, motion blur/still, foreground/background blur, etc. Making sure that they have a full understanding of how each setting works. If at any time someone is confused by the lingo, they also include a full glossary with diagrams, further summarized explanations in "Photography 101", and helpful tips for real world scenarios.

This is far better than anything I could possibly provide with some words and doodles, and I can't imagine it could get much simpler than how they lay it out. Being a Canon shooter I'm not sure if there's anything equivalent for other brands (I searched, but feel free to correct me in the comments), but besides some different terminology, it all translates.

If you know anyone trying to learn photography I urge you to link them to this, and let me know any feedback they have in the comments below!

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22 Comments

manual photography is manual photography.....works the same with all brands....

I believe he meant that no other company has offered a tool like this.

Maarten de Boer's picture

This tool has been around for ages, still a good starting point for people that begin with photography, specially for people that rather want see what they do instead of reading about it!

Thanks for sharing - much easier than trying to explain this stuff over the phone to my family members.

hahahaha I agree Ian.

I just shared this article with my co-workers. I beat the 6-part challenge in 28 seconds :)

This is awesome! and you get a 5% discount from Canon. finished in a minute and 6 out of 6 and had fun! no pressure for the newbies, good luck!

the best tool of all... HOW BOUT GET OUT AND SHOOT!

That doesn't mean you will actually learn anything....

Here's a much more effective tool for Canon users to learn how to shoot...
http://tinyurl.com/lenssc6

Hilarious.

Go figure :
1.) You own a DSLR
2.) You are eager to learn how to use it and how it works

But instead of simply grabbing your camera and taking a boatload of images and see how it works you resort to a website.

How stupid is that ?
Especially since taking images is for free nowadays as opposed to good (bad) old film days. Rarely seen a more pointless and futile website.

I suppose you never read a photography book?

but if you DON'T own a DSLR or are unable to decipher what variable affected what outcome.... everyone's a critic.

Since when did it become stupid to learn something?
So instead of taking a boatload of photos and trying to figure out what's happening you play around on a website, find out what's happening, discover the effects of changing various settings then you get your dSLR and go out and take a boatload of shots knowing what you are doing and why.
Enjoy yourself.

Sorry Joshua, that was meant for Enticing Havoc.

I didn't even see the guy's name before. Obviously "Enticing Havoc" is a troll.

i know plenty of people that have no idea what the numbers mean in their viewfinder... i think this is an excellent resource for the novice photog..

You're an IDIOT!!!!

I foresee a whole new batch of "professionals" hitting the market. ;)

Pretty nice tool! :-)

1min 9sec 6/6. Cool toy. I remember hearing about these sites when they first started hitting the web. I still think grabbing the camera and glueing it to manual will be way better for learning!