What did you get? What did you get? Remember when you were little and the first thing you did on Christmas Day was call all your friends to find out what gifts Santa had brought? I'm sure a lot of that is going on today and I'm betting a lot of people received cameras or some type of electronic equipment that has a camera built in.
Cameras have always been a popular Christmas gift, but ever since the digital era has boomed it has become even more popular than ever. If you were one of the lucky folks who received some type of digital picture-taking device, then you might be wondering, "How the heck do I use this thing?"
For those who are regular readers of this column then you may remember me mentioning that you ought to read the manual. I know, I know, it's boring and the size of some of the manuals can be intimidating, but most are not really that bad if you break it down.
Most cameras have a sheet that gives you the quick-start information, a cheat sheet, which is enough for you to be able to take a basic photo. Next you may find the software manual, which is good if you plan on connecting your camera and computer together so you can view your images on something other than the little screen on the back of the camera.
Another book you will find is an operations manual for the camera. This piece of fascinating literature contains such information as how to set the time on your camera, how to turn the flash on and off, and how to use the self timer so you can take the picture and be in the photo at the same time.
I recommend at least taking a brief look at all the topics in the manual and pick out some of the things you think you might use and try those first. Then move on to things that may be harder to understand. While you are studying all this good stuff, don't forget the reason you got the camera in the first place. Look around you and start taking pictures: Christmas only comes once a year and you don't want to forget 2009.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer as well as a certified professional photographer.)