Did you get a fancy, new DSLR camera for Christmas? Is it still setting in the box because you have no idea how to use it? Well, then this blog post is just for you! I have had several friends ask me questions about their DSLR cameras, so I thought I would offer up a few tips to help anyone else out there who is in the same boat.
First, there are a few basic differences between a DSLR and a point and shoot camera. With a DSLR, you can change lenses, shoot manually, shoot with faster shutter speeds and produce higher resolution images. The tips I’m going to share work for all brands of DSLR cameras. Ready? Here we go!
Tip #1: Don’t shoot in Auto mode. You will never learn how your camera works and what all it can do. Shooting in Auto let’s the camera make all of the decisions and sometimes that doesn’t produce the best quality photo. I recommend starting in either A (aperture priority) or S (shutter priority). This gives you control over that particular aspect and the camera adjusts the other one. You will learn how changing either of these effects your photos.
Tip #2: Don’t use your flash. I repeat, DO NOT use your flash! Tape it down if you have to. The bright flash will produce harsh lighting on your subjects. By shooting in manual mode, you can change the settings and control how much light your camera allows in. Make sure and read the ISO section of you handbook for more information.
Tip #3: Take your camera with you everywhere and take photos of everything! Practice really does make perfect. The more you use your camera, the more comfortable you will become with it. As you become more comfortable, you will learn what settings work best for different situations. You could buy a cute camera strap like this to keep your camera around your neck in style.
Tip #4: Forget the kit lens that most likely came with your camera and purchase the “nifty-fifty” lens. It is one of the cheapest lenses that you can buy (price, not quality) and is very versatile. It is available for both Nikon and Canon.
Tip #5: Stock up on memory cards. I recommend purchasing several smaller cards (4 GB or 8 GB) instead of one larger one. Memory cards can become corrupt and you don’t want to be stuck without a back up. After every photo outing, download your photos to your computer. Once you’ve backed up your computer to an external hard drive (that’s a whole other post!), then you can delete the photos from your memory card. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in memory card reader, then you’re going to want to purchase one of these also.
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you don’t own a DSLR camera yet, but have been looking for one, I recommend either this one or this one. Don’t purchase the kit lens, just get the camera body and then get your nifty-fifty lens.