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DSLR Camera Basics

DSLR Camera Basics

I am always sharing my DSLR camera basics with friends and even clients. I decided to make an easy go to blog for newbies. When you first get a DSLR you are easily lost and confused. There are just sooooo many buttons. It is easy to not have the slightest idea of where to start. I decided to break a few things down for you. I spent months picking apart the internet for my DSLR camera basics. I will focus on the three main customization settings for this blog. It will be very basic and you will find more to come later on. I ask that you please enter any questions you may have in the comments section and I will answer them on the next blog entry. This article will help you understand ISO, SS (shutter speed), and aperture (f-stop). This is a great place for moms or new DSLR owners to begin.

The very first thing you need to learn about when it comes to your DSLR camera basics, is your shooting mode options. I shoot in M (manual) 99% of the time. You will also have auto, AV, P, and maybe some other choices. I personally tell everyone to start on M and end on M. If you don’t know your settings, then you don’t know photography. Trust me, you will thank me later. Selecting your shooting mode is telling your camera what to do and how to do it. For example when you select auto, you are telling your camera to do it all. When you select another mode available, you are given more options to customize your settings.

The next thing I will touch base on for your DSLR Camera Basics, is your ISO. Your ISO is a measure of how sensitive your camera is to light. The ISO is represented numerically starting at ISO 100 and going up. Your lower numbers have a lower sensitivity. Depending on your camera is how high you will be able to push your ISO. It is always good to shoot as low as you can, as long as you can achieve the correct exposure. Outside you typically shoot lower and indoors higher. Pushing your ISO too high for your cameras performance can also produce a fine grain. Photographers will call these low light images grainy. This grain will reduce the overall quality of the image. You will need to adjust your settings in order to expose your image correctly. If all else fails with natural light, you may need to add in off camera flash (OCF).

The next important area of DSLR camera basics is aperture. Your aperture controls your depth of field (DOF), brightness, and darkness of an image. The aperture is a small set of blades inside the lens that controls how much light will enter the camera. If you shoot with what is called a wide aperture (low F-stop), you will allow more light in. If you shoot with a small aperture (high f-stop), you will allow less light in. Say you take an image that is too bright at 3.5, an easy fix could be moving a few stops up to a higher f-stop like 5.6. Same thing if the image is too dark, you can go down and gain more light to expose the image correctly. Now as you use a lower f-stop your DOF also changes significantly. Say you want to take a picture of someone in focus and your background out of focus, you would use a smaller  f-stop. Now this is called creating bokeh. It is not always as easy as it sounds. There will be a bokeh blog entry to follow at a later date.

The last setting we will talk about when working with DSLR camera basics, is your SS (shutter speed). This is a small curtain in the camera that rolls over the image sensor. It allows light to shine onto the image sensor. The longer your SS is, the  longer the light shines onto the sensor. This means that your image will be brighter. A darker image will be achieved with a much faster SS. It is measured in fractions of a second. If you are taking a picture too dark then you would want to use a slower SS. Your SS also effects blur and sharpness in an image. Anything moving with a slow SS will show up blurred in your image. It is safe to say if you want tack sharp images use a faster SS. This also comes into play with kids, animals, or even shooting sports. I personally recommend never shooting below 1/200, maybe 1/160 when absolutely needed. Now if you are looking to have fun with sparklers that is a different story. Many different images are achieved with a slow SS. If you are using an external flash, you will have an SS sync speed. I know for canon it is 1/200.

So today I hope you have a better understanding of DSLR camera basics. These three settings; ISO, SS, and aperture are your most basic settings. These three are used together to create the perfect image. It is called a completion of an exposure triangle. They control the light that is entering the camera or the amount required. Now take a break and go outside on a sunny day and take a quick picture. Set your settings on M at 1/200 SS, 100 ISO, and your f-stop to 5.6. If the image is too dark, either up your ISO a little or lower your f-stop. If it is too bright, up your SS or f-stop and try again. You will start to notice how every little move you make in these three settings changes the image.

Please follow my blog to learn more about your DSLR camera basics. I will be answering any questions asked below on the next blog. Also look for upcoming blog entries in natural lighting, shooting in RAW, white balance, go to lens choices, and more examples on these three settings. Thank you for reading and be sure to check out facebook!

Don’t hire “Uncle Joe” who knows DSLR camera basics for your wedding. Hire a professional. Know that a wedding is not a time to experiment with DSLR Camera Basics!! 

DSLR camera basics

DSLR Camera Basics

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