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Mastering the DSLR Camera — the Mom Way

Photograph by Getty Images

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I rationalized the need to buy a fancy-shmancy camera. I know nothing about cameras, but definitely knew that I need a lot of buttons and the ability to rotate the front lens (that’s what makes it legit).

Here’s the problem … I’m really bad at learning new technology. Manuals, instructions, directions — what are things I use to start a bonfire?!?! Ding, ding! There is something in my body’s chemistry that actually prevents me from reading one. I tried once and the level of testosterone-infused rage that filled my body was not healthy.

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Fucking hate you manuals

Regardless, I went out and bought the Canon T5i DSLR and attempted to use it without reading the manual. I tried to reason with my camera. I said to my camera, “Why can you only take crap pictures with good light ... or good pictures with crap light?” After waiting several minutes with no response from my camera I wrangled the only people who would listen to me, my husband and my father. I instructed them to “move” so I could try taking pictures of them with different settings in the hopes of finding one that would work. Here’s how that went:

My husband's signature "move." He does this all the time (not joking).

My dad taking my request very seriously and tossing my son for the sake of finding a good camera setting.

I am totally aware that I’ve been limited by not reading manuals in the past. It basically means that I only know how to use about 2 percent of any product features, and up until now I’ve been okay with that. However, today I was hanging out with my girlfriend and she did what any good friend does — she confronted me about my weakness. While watching me bang my camera like an untrained chimp (you know, the kind that don’t wear overalls), she says to me, “Sweetie, why don’t you just read the manual?” My first thought was, “How would I start my bonfire?”

This monkey has better skills than I do. (Image via the Telegraph)

I’ve now had some time to reflect. There may be some validity to reading the manual. Acting like an untrained chimp is only charming for so long, but eventually the novelty wears off and all you’re left with is a hairy beat that hurls poop at you and takes horrible pictures. I’ve taken some time to read the manual and I’ve discovered a few things:

  1. Put the setting on “AUTO” and you are good to go.
  2. I can take similar quality photos with my iPhone.
  3. Nobody actually hauls around a bulky camera once they have kids.
  4. I just wasted a lot of money

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In conclusion, you can either save about $1,000 by not investing in a DSLR camera, or you can save about two hours of time by not reading the manual and shooting in “AUTO” mode. Consider it my gift for taking the time to read this article.

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