Basic intro to DSLR photography

I want to share with you a basic intro to DSLR photography. If you have a DSLR camera and are nervous to take it out of auto mode, a quick tutorial is all you need to have the confidence to have control over you images. You may have heard words like Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed and wondered just how on earth they come together to give you a better photo. Once you understand what some people call the “Exposure Triangle” there is no photography situation you can’t handle.  This brief introduction on what each part of the exposure triangle means and how they affect your photos can make the difference between your images turning out too bright, too dark, too blurry or being AMAZING.  This guide will show you how to get the most out of your DSLR camera and give you confidence to take it out of auto mode in no time!

All DSLR cameras have auto settings that allow the user to take better images without knowing every aspect of the camera’s operation.  These settings are fully Auto, Program mode, Aperture Priority mode and Shutter Priority.  On a Canon, the settings are a Green Square, AV, P. or TV. On a Nikon, this are green Auto, A, P or S.

Our goal for this tutorial is to take each of you from the fully Auto mode to be able to use Manual mode with confidence. By learning each of the auto modes, you will slowly gain the confidence to take images in the fully Manual mode in no time.

  1. Program Mode

When you are shooting in Auto mode your camera makes just about all the decisions for you. You are the one that frames the shot, but you don’t have to think about exposure or whether the flash will fire or not. The camera handles everything for you. Almost always the pictures turn out good, even if the results are a little less than artistic. When you are using Program mode you allow the camera to make some decisions for you, but this also puts four things in your control: the flash, ISO value, exposure compensation and the white balance. For the sake of or tutorial, we will not talk about white balance. We will however talk about ISO and exposure compensation in more detail later.

Program mode allows you to start to add some elements of control into the images you take. The aperture size and shutter speed controls how much light enters the camera. In Program mode the camera controls these two for you. By having control of the ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation you can capture an image without the use of an on camera flash or an off camera flash. When you want to capture an image fast without creative elements or flash, Program mode will almost always give you an image that is more than average.

Note: Key elements you to control in Program mode. 1. Flash 2. ISO 3. Exposure Compensation 4. White Balance

  1. Aperture Priority

Aperture priority mode is the automatic setting on your camera that allows you take control of the aperture and the 4 things you controlled in Program mode. It is exactly like shooting in Program mode and adding control of the aperture. The shutter speed is controlled by the camera. This adds another level of creativity to the images you can capture beyond Program mode.

The aperture is the opening size of the shutter. When the camera is set to a low aperture, the camera lets in more light, allowing you to capture pictures in situations where there is not much light (like indoors and at night).

A low aperture will also give you a shallow depth of field. You know, the photos where one thing is in focus and the background is blurred?


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