Why Manual Mode is best
It’s time to rip the bandaid and get your camera off Auto mode. Your assignment for today and tonight is to get your camera's manual out (if you don’t have it - google it online, you will most likely find a pdf you can download). You are going to need it for this class...but only as a reference to where things are located, Don't worry I know it doesn't make sense to you right now. What you are going to do is figure out how to put your camera on manual mode (the "M" on the dial).
Why manual? The preprogrammed settings are an average of all the best ways to shoot a particular scene. While you’re getting the best average, it’s still just average. If you use your camera on Auto you won't be able to get those photos you are all wanting to achieve. It will be frustrating at first (and will be for awhile), but I am going to give you tons of tips so you will eventually know them without even thinking about it. If you are wanting a closeup portrait of your kiddo with a smooth blurry background or an action shot that isn’t all blur – manual mode is the key!
If you are strictly using a phone camera I think it’s still important to learn what these three are and newer phone models give you the option to be able to change these settings. Portrait mode is amazing if your subject doesn’t move at all but we all know that isn’t realistic 90% of the time.
Once you get it in manual, learn how to change your ISO, aperture and shutter speed functions.
Pro Tip: Try taking a photo or two in manual. It will be a lot harder in dark lighting so try during the day if you can and see what you get!