19 Camera Setting Techniques for New DSLR Users
So, as an absolute beginner of a DSLR camera, maybe you are not about sure how to use it. You probably have found yourself with so many keys and buttons. You are not sure about their functions. You are rather intimidated. You have found yourself in a large thick manual, but not interested in going through that. You probably have switched to “Auto” and started taking photos. But, if you have really bought that camera for something more classy more creative, then you need to do more than that. You need to go beyond “Auto”.
Now, if you are in the above-mentioned position, then this post is for you. Here we are going to discuss settings and techniques for new DSLR users.
DSL Camera Settings Tips
Table of Contents
- 1 DSL Camera Settings Tips
- 1.1 1. Learn How to Hold Your Camera
- 1.2 2. First Know Camera Modes
- 1.3 3. Aperture Priority & Shutter Priority Mode
- 1.4 4. Maintain the White Balance
- 1.5 5. Try to Understand Histogram
- 1.6 6. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB)
- 1.7 7. Understand the ISO
- 1.8 8. Try to Understand the Exposure Triangle
- 1.9 9. Learn About Metering
- 1.10 10. Exposure Compensation
- 1.11 11. Know about File Size and Type
- 1.12 12. Using Focal Lock
- 1.13 13. Camera Flash
- 1.14 14. Know your focusing
- 1.15 15. Avoid Dirty Camera Sensor
- 1.16 16. Clean Your Camera
- 1.17 17. Shutter release
- 1.18 18. Fill your frame
- 1.19 19. Never stop learning
1. Learn How to Hold Your Camera
The first thing you need to know is how to hold your camera. Many people spend days and weeks and still can’t hold their cameras properly. You need to hold it in your palm like you can control the focusing, with another hand you have to control other buttons and options.
2. First Know Camera Modes
The first place you need to start is the camera mode. You will find the shooting modes on a dial labeled like “A+, P, M, Av, Tv” etc. If you select the Auto mode, the camera will do everything on its own about the exposure, aperture or shutter speed. The mode is actually the command you are giving your camera. It is how you want your camera to behave. Other than the Auto mode, all other modes have specific features.
For example, if you select the Av or A mode, it means aperture priority mode. With this mode, you have set the aperture and the camera will now set the shutter speed. We will discuss that in the next point more broadly.
3. Aperture Priority & Shutter Priority Mode
The aperture is the size of the lens opening. Through this opening, light passes when the shutter opens. So, if the aperture is larger, more light passes into. Aperture is an important value of the camera. It affects the depth of field. If you are going to take a photo of a landscape view, you need to have a large depth of field. But if you are going to capture a portrait image or a single person then a shallower depth of field will do the job.
Another semi-automatic mode is shutter priority mode. If you have a slow shutter speed, it means the shutter will remain open for a long time. So, more light is allowed to enter into the sensor to be captured. Now if you are going to capture a fast-moving object, then you need to set your camera shutter speed low.
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4. Maintain the White Balance
Beginner photographers always have a problem maintaining the color. So, earlier shot photos are often found with a yellow tinge on the tooth or eyes of subjects. So, you need to set your color properly and maintain the white balance. When you are taking a photo in a sunlight, it is warmer light. So, it will have redder wavelength light. But when you are shooting in a cooler light like a fluorescent lamp that will have blue component.
5. Try to Understand Histogram
Often people find the histogram scary. But there is nothing to be scared of. At first, it may appear difficult, but if you can interpret the histogram, you will find it useful. You will be able to understand from histogram if an image is overexposed or underexposed.
6. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB)
This is another important technique you should remember. You can take good captures even in worst lighting conditions with AEB. It is one of the top unpopular settings of a DSLR camera.
7. Understand the ISO
ISO measure the sensor sensitivity to light. It is originated in film photography and means same in digital photography. ISO is numerically represented from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. ISO 100 means low sensitivity and ISO 6400 means high sensitivity. In film photography, there are different sensitivity levels in different shooting conditions.
It controls the amount of light required by the sensor to gain a given exposure. At ‘low’ sensitivities, your camera will need more light to achieve a given exposure. But in high sensitivities, you need less light to achieve the same exposure.
8. Try to Understand the Exposure Triangle
The exposure triangle means the combination of the three features- the aperture, the shutter speed, and the ISO. These three are interlinked with each other. And to take control of your camera, you need to learn to control them. If you change one of them there will be the subsequent consequence on the other two.
9. Learn About Metering
Metering is when you take a photo, with automatic exposure, aperture priority or shutter priority, the camera finds an average exposure. So, when you take a snap of a bright white scene, the image appears darker than the actual scene and vice versa.
The scene is always averaged by the camera. You can fix the areas of the scene to be assessed by the camera. Thus you can influence exposure metering.
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10. Exposure Compensation
There is a button that has +/- marked on it. This is there for exposure compensation. It will help you to increase or decrease default meter reading considering actual brightness of the image. This is an important technique you need to learn.
11. Know about File Size and Type
There are different sizes of files we will capture. They can be small, medium or large. They have different resolution and different quality. Better quality images will have more storage. You may find them all same on the camera screen. But when you will zoom in you will be able to clearly measure the difference between them.
12. Using Focal Lock
Many beginners do not understand for a while how all digital cameras focus automatically. If you don’t learn how to do it you’ll take a lot of shots out of focus subjects and in focus backgrounds! Well, in this case, the subject becomes an object and the object becomes subject.
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13. Camera Flash
Using the built-in camera flash can be crucial. Sometimes it may ruin images. Without flash, you were having a nice image and suddenly the flash ruins it all, this is a common scenario.
14. Know your focusing
It does not matter what camera mode is on, it does not matter whatever the aperture, shutter speed or ISO is there, if your focusing is not right, you will never get the image you are expecting. It is always advised that you understand and focus on your own manually.
The best way you can ruin your images and camera is making the camera sensor dirty. It directly interferes with your image quality. No matter how good your camera is and how good you are, your image quality will be ruined.
16. Clean Your Camera
Try to clean your camera frequently. This protects your camera from dust. Thus you will be able to maintain its performance.
17. Shutter release
Shutter release technique is another important technique beginner photographers need to learn. The image quality depends a lot on it. Knowing when to release the shutter makes sure best quality images are captured.
18. Fill your frame
You need to have a point of interest in every image. Get as much close possible. A closer shot is always a better shot. So, this will create a feeling that you are standing right next to it when you will see it. And always keep your horizons horizontal.
19. Never stop learning
When it comes to learning something, there is no end to it. Keep learning, wherever whomever, possible, available. It does not matter.
Since it is not that much collaborative as the manual, but it is enough to get you the basic ideas and help you to take control of your DSLR. If you simply go through the settings and techniques we have mentioned here, it will be enough for you. Then you can keep going and keep learning.