I’ve been making the move from auto to manual settings this week. One of the biggest hurdles is convincing myself that every shot won’t be blown out (overexposed) or dark (underexposed). The auto mode has been helpful as a reference point: if I’m unsure which settings to use, I switch to auto and see what the camera choses.

I love Scott Kelby’s books on both photography and Photoshop. This weekend I read an acronym, WHIMS, that he made up to remember to check his settings at the beginning of a shoot. In auto modes, the camera will chose the settings, but in manual mode you begin with the same ones as the last time you used the camera.

Here’s what it stands for:

W: White balance check
H: Highlight warning turned on (to tell if portions of your shots are blown out, or overexposed)
I: ISO check (correct ISO for your surroundings)
M: Mode check (whether aperture priority, program, or manual mode)
S: Size (image size and quality settings)

While this acronym is easy to remember and amazingly helpful, using it isn’t yet a fully integrated habit. The following photos were taking of my sleeping daughter’s feet (awwww), and in the first one the white balance was set for full sunlight. Oops.

In the second, the white balance is set to auto (I wasn’t completely sure which setting to use for indoor natural light).

The difference is obvious, although I confess to liking the yellow one best. What do you think?

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