12 Easy Steps in Learning Basic Photography with a Digital SLR
12 Easy Steps in Learning Basic Photography with a Digital SLR
Starting to learn photography is actually not that easy, but it also doesn’t have to be strenuous and stressful. If you already have a digital SLR with you to practice with, that’s well and good, but if you’re still planning on getting one, try not to look for the most expensive equipment right away. Instead, you can start off with some of the inexpensive ones while learning the basics. You should know it’s not always the camera that shoots the very nice photos; it’s actually you who will mostly do the work. Overtime, you’ll learn all the basics and when it’s time to upgrade your Digital SLR, you’ll know what you’ll be looking for in a camera.
Getting to Know Your Camera
Most or all digital SLR’s have their shooting modes and with it, you can start practicing with your camera’s auto-mode shoots and check out for the differences it made. These auto-modes will help you capture some decent photos, but also won’t help you understand the basics of photography any better. So practice with manual shooting and there, you’ll start understanding how and what will be the factors in shooting some good photos.
Understanding your Lens’ Capabilities
One of the most noticeable things on a Digital SLR is its big lens attached to the front. It is detachable and can be replaced with special lenses that could capture an image that’s too far with no trouble at all, and even an image that’s too close for some lenses to get a clear view. This is when your MM on your lens comes in. It determines your camera’s focal length which is basically how much your lens can zoom in or out, and how much space your lens can capture. Some does not want to get into its technical details, but you should know, understanding the focal length is one important factor in getting the most of your lens. For a new DSLR, it usually comes with an 18mm to 55mm range in focal length; it usually is the most commonly used and will get you a decent zoom and area to capture.
One of the factors of the so-called Exposure Triangle, it is basically the one that’s blurring the background of your target, or even puts everything in focus. To put it in simpler terms, imagine the pupil of your eyes, if it gets wider, the more light it lets in and when it shrinks, lesser light is accumulated. An aperture is usually measured in “F’s” also known as F-stop. It is a way of describing the aperture in which higher F’s means smaller aperture, while a smaller F’s means a larger aperture. This would mean that with a large aperture at F/2.0 for example would bring in more light and a small aperture at F/16.0 would bring in less light. Depending on the lighting of your supposed target, adjusting your camera’s aperture can mean a dark blurry image, or a clear and on-focus image. Higher aperture also means getting an image with a large depth of field, which then now makes a lower aperture image with a soft and out of focus background. You can practice on your own and see for yourself how it affects the images by adjusting your aperture on different levels. Take note however, depending on the capabilities of your lens, your aperture can only reach a certain number.
Understanding Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is one of the three factors around Exposure Triangle and is what determines the length of time your sensor sees the image you’re trying to capture. It is measured in factions of seconds like 1/1000, 1/250, 1/60, 1/20 and could even go lower and be measured in seconds and not just fractions. This would now mean that the higher the denominator, the faster the speed it takes time to capture your image. So if you would want to capture a fast moving object, a faster shutter speed like 1/250 would be the way to go if you want a sharp image, but if you would rather go with capturing the blurry movement, a lower shutter speed like 1/40 or something like it would be the best way to go. Adjusting the shutter speed actually depends on your decision if you would want it to capture a still moment of a moving object on your scene, or would like to give it an intentional blur to give it a sense of movement.
The last of the three factors around Exposure Triangle, it is generally how sharp or how noisy your shots are. Depending of the availability light, you would want a lower ISO number to come out with clean and crisp images. If you however are in a situation where limited light is present, a higher ISO can mean a noisy or grainy image, but you can do so with a faster shutter speed. Meaning you can take shots even at low light and still come out with decent exposure with no flash. Adjusting the ISO can significantly improve your shots in situations like concerts with no-flash zones, or in churches that may have a rule about the use of a flash
What is the Exposure Triangle
Now the Exposure Triangle is basically the Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO brought together to create an exposure. Mastering on how one affects the other usually takes practice and does not always come out perfect at first tries. The good thing about it is you are not limited in taking shots and getting to know the results of your adjustments so you could go on and on without any hassle. You can also start practicing with the modes Aperture Priority (A) or Shutter Priority (S) and focus on one element and let the camera do the others for you.
Looking for that perfect Subject
Don’t try too hard to look for that perfect subject. To put it simply, don’t limit your shots to only beautiful objects or scenes that may be attractive. Observe your surroundings with fresh eyes and you might see some subjects that would be a good shot with just a trick of the light or simple angle adjustments.
Considering the Lightings
The presence of light is one critical thing to consider in photography. Either you may need to adjust your aperture, your shutter speed, or even your ISO. You may also need to get the angles that won’t be against the light as it will produce shadows in places you don’t want.
Considering the Shadows
Shadows are overlooked and sometimes can affect how dark your shot is or even be covering subjects you want to have a clean shot at. Make sure shadows are nowhere you don’t want them to be.
Considering the Colors
Imagine taking a shot at a subject with a yellow shirt and light colored pants behind a billboard that has a yellow background and light-colored texts. It might seem okay, but if you want to take better shots, you can just always move the subject or adjust color settings on your DSLR.
Considering the Background
It simply means making sure that the subject is really the subject of your shot. Avoid backgrounds that’s too cluttered and your subject can easily be spotted.
Considering the Distance
Depending on what lens your using, lens can only zoom-in or zoom-out at a certain distance. Make sure you are positioned where you can focus on your subject well enough to get a good shot.
Focusing your target
Depending on how your shot would look like, focusing on a target can make the other areas or backgrounds to be out of focus and a bit blurry. If not, you can make your shot have a depth of field by adjusting your aperture. One more thing to consider on focusing, when manually focusing, it will save you some of your batteries’ energy, auto-focusing on the other hand will need some of your batteries output.
Shooting at the right Moment
Shooting at the right moment doesn’t always mean looking for a perfect subject or scene. When you feel you have a good shot, go ahead and take the shot. Take multiple shots even. It won’t cost you much but just a bit of space on your camera’s memory card.
Taking multiple Shots
Don’t be too afraid to take multiple shots. Digital cameras don’t require you to save some of the film so it would not matter if you’re shooting multiple shots. Later on, you can just pick the one’s that was captured perfectly.
Using Extra Equipment
Now using extra equipment like tri-pod or flash isn’t required but when you do have shaky hands or constantly shooting at low-lighted places, you might want to have one of these at your disposal. It would also be a big help when you yourself would want to be in the image by using a timer on your DSLR
To use or Not to Use your Flash
It always will be with the situation you are in. If you think you can have a clean and clear shot without using any flash by simply adjusting your Camera’s exposure, then a flash wouldn’t be necessary. Considering where the light is coming from also affects how you would want your subject to be captured. I.E., having a subject positioned against the light would probably require a flash, but not when your subject is within the light.
Practice and Experiment
Basically, learning the basics of a photography is actually learning how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO works together, and of course positioning yourself at the right angle and moment. What’s left for you to do now is keep shooting and practicing on how the exposure triangle works. Also, don’t be too afraid to experiment on how you want things to be captured. You might not know this, but some of the best photographers out there are constantly experimenting.
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