Learn to use that new camera
Did you get a new camera for Christmas? Are you hoping that this new shiny piece of technological wonder will bring you better pictures in the future?
Chances are a new camera can be a step in the right direction for taking better pictures but only if you develop your craft. Here are some tips for getting better photographs from that new camera.
Read the manual
Yeah, I know. You’re not the type who needs to read manuals. You figured out the lawnmower no problem. But the modern digital single lens reflect camera (DSLR) is one complicated piece of technology. Within that thick, poorly translated tome of information is a whole lot of usesless features you will want to ignore and a whole lot of important settings information that you will want to read, reread and practice with and then refer back to every once in a while.
Pay particular attention to the section that describe quality settings – RAW vs. JPEG and size/quality of files. Also how to set White Balence, ISO, Exposure compensation and how to find Aperture Priority mode.
Unfortunately today’s cameras are crammed with all sorts of gee whiz features that look great on the box or coming out of a sales persons mouth — things like special in camera filters and special setting for things like “beach, snow, vacation, pets” etc but if you know the basics of photography you don’t need all of that crap, you can just use Exposure compensation.
I look at my old film camera – the Olympus OM-G and it had everything a photographer needed and nothing else. Aperture exposure mode, manual mode, bulb mode and that’s it. Plus a ASA/ISO dial and an exposure compensation adjustment. White balance was cooked into the film.
Know your equipment
So get out the manual. Learn what every dial, button and menu on your camera does and how to use it. Get your settings the way you want them and shoot a lot of photos, evaluate the results, come back to the manual, make adjustments and keep on learning your equipment until you don’t have to even think about your equipment and you can concentrate totally on the subject you are trying to capture.
I’ve had my Canon 6D and I’m still discovering new things on this camera but when I come across a scene I want to capture, I know the camera well enough and have my settings set up in custom menus that nine times out of ten I manage to capture what I’m trying to capture.
Know Everything About Exposure
Learn the three sides of the exposure triangle – ISO, Shutterspeed and Aperature and know how to change them on your new camera.