Exploring your first DSLR
Published: April 28 2014
Categories: Tips Original Posts
If you have just bought your first DSLR, it might feel too intimidating; coz in the beginning you are all excited about those buttons and settings that you have no idea about. I know it's very tempting to just forget about all these technicalities and let your digital SLR do all the work for you. Well, that's fine for a while. But later on, you need to switch off that auto mode to explore and take your photography skills to the next level. This article takes a look at some of the most commonly used or ignored features of a DSLR by rookie photographers.
Stop Using the Auto Setting
The DSLR will do most part of your photography if you turn it to auto. It will give you some neat shots, but in the long run, it will block out your creativity. Setting your auto mode off will let you explore more. You also get an opportunity to learn new things about your camera, as well as some serious photography skills. Turning auto settings off will let you experiment with different settings while making you mindful of the cameras capabilities, which might result in some interesting shots.
Understand Camera Settings
It could be confusing at first, when you cannot figure out the meaning of terms such as shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. But once you understand the meaning and significance of these terms, it would help you get the desired results every time you release the shutter. At first, you might not get it exactly, so try and experiment with different settings. Shoot the same picture at different values of shutter speeds and ISOs. See the difference in the picture quality and how tweaking the exposure value and the ISO can change the output. Once you are comfortable with these settings, you will notice the change in the way you take photographs with your DSLR.
Read your Camera Manual
It is a smart decision to read the user manual that comes along the camera. It will help you sort many problems that you might face initially. It is sure that your camera manual might have the answers for all your technical queries. The camera manual is aimed at people like us who are mostly clueless about most of the stuff that goes into the DSLR. The manual will help you with all the textbook definitions of terms such as shutter speeds, ISOs, exposure values and how to tweak them. Even if you have certain knowledge about your camera, reading the manual will not hurt, well, it may take up some of your time (and excitement). It will however, set most of your doubts straight.
Tutorials Answer Everything
Internet is full of study materials, blogs, and forums about photography. Photographers share their experience and information online, which can help you a lot. It is also a great platform, where you can interact freely with fellow photographers and share your ideas with them. You can find about upcoming trends in photography, and clear most of your doubts about the many aspects of photography. It is considerably inexpensive than buying expensive books on photography or enrolling in a course. You can also share your work and get inspired by others through the Internet. Find some interesting tutorials on photography on websites like YouTube or share your photos on platforms such as National Geographic Your Shot. These sites will greatly help you understand some important concepts of photography.
Take your Camera Everywhere
It is important to carry your DSLR especially when you are travelling to a new place. It is a good practice that will improve your skills to a great extent. It will certainly help if you hang your camera around your neck and not keep it tucked in your bag, as you are more likely to use the camera if it is within your reach. If it is in your bag, by the time you reach your camera, that photo moment might slip away. Buy a UV lens filter that will allow you to take off the camera cap for long and keep you ready for any possible shot.
Learn Your Camera's Potential and Limitations
It is easy to over or underestimate your camera; it would be nice if you explore the potential of your camera by yourself. It will help you know how your camera will react in different conditions. It is advisable to experiment with different settings of your camera and check its output. Understand the optimum settings of your camera very well. Knowing your camera's potential and limitations will help you be prepared, and give you the best shot when it would count.
Mistakes are Good
You learn a lot from your mistakes. You get to know what you should not do, and hence committing a mistake is not that bad. It might feel disappointing when you do not achieve the expected results, but there is no need to lose hope. Most of the hobbies have a decent learning curve. You need to believe in the fact that each photo makes you a better photographer. Mistakes are bound to happen even from the hands of the best of photographers. The only thing important over here is to learn from these mistakes, and apply that information in your next shot.
Master Your Present Gear Before Upgrading to a New One
It is important to master your current gear before jumping to a better one. We know it is tempting to have that cool accessory that you have always wanted. But if you are not comfortable with your current gear, you would not get the best out of the new gear. Let’s not jump to advanced concepts on a weak foundation. It is very important to understand your camera and your lens pretty well and explore its full potential before purchasing a new one. Once you do this, you can exploit the full potential of your next gear you plan to buy. These are some of the tips which we feel might come handy to you. If there are any additional tips of methods to work around a new DSLR, feel free to comment and share your knowledge.