When I started taking photos years ago it was a HUGE disaster. I had photos with my finger over the lens, overexposed photos, underexposed photos, photos cropped incorrectly, and not knowing when to use a flash and when not to, and when I used the flash it would be over or underexposed. Funny thing, sometimes I was clueless as to when the camera should be landscape and when it should be portrait. Thank God for digital media. With digital media you can make lots of mistakes and not be concerned that your expenses are rising as with film. So there are some things that I have learned over the years.
- Manual Setting: When taking photos, if your camera allows manual exposure settings use them. This will teach you the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. You will be able to take a photo and judge that a photo is over or under exposed and know exactly what to do. Most find it easy to use the S, A or P settings on the camera. S – Shutter priority is when you set the shutter and the camera based on the quantity of light controls the aperture (f/4, f/5.6, f/8 etc). Aperture priority is when you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed once again based on the quantity of light coming through the lens (1/60, 1/125, 1/500, 1/640 etc.). Last but not least, we have the P – Priority mode – here the camera takes over entirely– it creates the best aperture and shutter speed combination based on the quantity of light. Shutter, aperture and priority settings offer you no control to the quantity of light coming through the lens – - – - – -using the manual setting gives you control over both shutter speed and aperture – both speed and opening.
- ISO – (ISO relates to film speed, even thought you possibly have a digital camera it relates to how sensitive the image sensor is to light). Learn how ISO relates to the quality of your images and how to manipulate the ISO depending on how much light is available. A quick rule of thumb that works for me, when outside in full sun or even overcast I tend to use a lower ISO like 100 up to ISO 400. When indoors with good light I might start at ISO 400 and work my way to 1600 if I have that need.
- Read your manual. I never thought I would be saying this but I am. Know where to find info in your manual. This year I was taking photographs for a non-paying friend (which should not matter but in this case it did). While taking the photos and checking the display I realized that some of the photos were missing. I have never had that happen before so I panicked a bit but overcompensated by taking more photos. Two days later after consulting my favorite photo store–Pro Photo and my manual–I realized that all media cards are not created equal. On page 371 I found the media cards that I had just purchased on Ebay had NOT been tested or approved for use in my camera. Two days later I photographed a group of 150 people (paying customers) with tested and approved media cards.
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