I've read the manuals so you don't need to...

Paul Cooper, 2012 A selfie with my first decent camera - the very sweet Fujifilm XPRO-1

Paul Cooper, 2012 A selfie with my first decent camera - the very sweet Fujifilm XPRO-1

Do you find camera manuals painful to read?  

Hi – if you answered yes to this, then you are like me and many others...

My name is Paul Cooper and I want to share the learnings from my personal journey of discovery of camera usage and photography.  Like you I have struggled to read camera manuals and to really understand what they were trying to convey.

Why? This is what I found:

I discovered that manuals ARE NOT WRITTEN for usability.  They are written to convey the technical features of the camera.  So they don't really help.

But a friend put me onto a great tip...get a decent camera and then get out every day and take shot after shot.  And then analyse what works and doesn't work by talking with others, reading blogs, and finding some resources that are written with you in mind: to help you figure things out.

So that's what I've been doing: my journey has taken place over the past three years during which time I have been on the trail of trying to get nice shots from my cameras – one of the newer format mirrorless types – I currently have a Fujifilm X-E1 and X-M1, but I started out with the X-PRO1.  Initially I looked at the DPREVIEW site for good advice on the gear: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6126592906/first-impressions-using-the-fujifilm-x-pro1 

I was initially very disappointed that I was taking some ordinary shots – some were blurred, but most just didn’t have that punch or wow factor.  So I started reading and I sought help from a couple of friends online as well: the http://www.fujirumors.com/ site with its X-Pert corner also helped me:  http://www.fujirumors.com/category/x-pert/.

I also digested the manuals and books such as http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Fujifilm-X-E1-X-Pro1-Pfirstinger/dp/1937538311 and because they were oriented around the kind of photos that I want to take, I think they helped me figure a few things out. 

My aim on this site is to give you enough confidence that you can get good results without you having to read your own manual cover to cover – let me do that work for you.  I aim to absorb the key aspects and then give you the essence if I can! 

After digesting the info on my camera and its excellent lenses I then practised – quite a lot.  Every day I took shots and even put them up onto a daily site: http://365project.org/photofella/365 (some are better than others, but the point was that it gave me the motivation to practice daily).

I now have the passion to help others - and especially those with Fuji X series cameras because I will use examples from these cameras.  I figured there must be many blogs on the topic of how to work the camera to do your bidding.  However, I found that while there are many technical camera blogs and many artistic blogs on composition, there were surprisingly not too many that explained the basics of camera photography without getting bogged down in technical details. 

My own journey to some level of competency with these cameras is one that inspired me to start this site and share my blogs in the hope that it will help and perhaps inspire others. My approach will be to avoid technical jargon wherever I can. I hope to share some of my learnings for you here.

My mantra is: I’ve read the manuals so you don't need to! 

Paul aka photofella