Friday, April 3, 2015

How to use a DSLR camera




When I took my first photography class (back in 2006), I had no idea how to work a manual camera. We were using regular film camera's, so we had to develop the film as well.

That was a pain!

Now, working with photoshop and digital files, I feel like I can do so much more with my photography.

So what did I learn about manual cameras? There are three things you MUST master to become a great photographer.

1) ISO: This is how sensitive your camera's sensor is to light. 

LOW ISO is used during times when you have lots of natural light. If your camera is being flooded with light, your sensor doesn't need to be super sensitive. There is enough light to create an image. HIGH ISO is used during times when you're taking pictures in really low light settings.

2) Aperture: This is how open your lens is. This is also known as F-Stop or focus stop. The smaller the f-stop, the more shallow the depth of field you have.

So if you want a blurry background behind your subject, use a really small f-stop. If you want everything in focus, use your largest f-stop.

Aperture (f-stop) is similar to your iris. When you're in bright light, your iris becomes smaller, and when you're in low light, it becomes bigger (to let more light in). You can manipulate the lens to do the same thing.

3) Shutter Speed: This is how fast your lens or shutter opens and closes when you take a picture.

This is measured as a fraction of one second. A slow shutter speed is 1/3 of a second. A fast shutter speed is 1/2000 of a second. Why is this important? The slower the shutter speed, the more light you let in and vice-versa.

How you use all three together will determine how your picture turns out. 

For example, on a sunny day, if I am taking some senior pictures I'll probably want to use a lower ISO because there is already a ton of light. I'll also want to use a smaller f-stop to get a nice blurry background behind my subject, and my shutter speed should be somewhat fast, around 1/250 of a second or faster.

I recommend playing with your camera to figure out how all three of these pieces work together.

You definitely want to be able to master this "exposure triangle" so that your images turn out properly exposed. I use the cheat sheet below to help me when I'm feeling a little rusty.

 

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