Hi!! I have been receiving a lot of questions lately about DSLR cameras and how “the heck do I use it correctly and take better photos”. So I decided I would post a few tutorials. Hopefully by the end of the series you will not only be a more familiar with your camera, but also feel confident taking your camera off “auto” :).
First, let’s talk about the exposure triangle. Don’t freak out if you don’t know what that is. It is basically how the different aspects of exposure work together. What is exposure you ask? “Exposure is the total amount of light allowed to fall on the photographic medium (photographic film or image sensor) during the process of taking a photograph.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_(photography).
The exposure triangle consists of; ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. All digital cameras have a sensor and by adjusting one of these you can make your image brighter or darker by letting in more or less light.
Here is a summary of each aspect of the exposure triangle:
Images taken with a low aperture let in MORE light, lower apertures are good for low light situations). This is also where you get “shallow depth of field” which means less of your image is in focus you are getting a blurry background. The higher the aperture more of your image is in focus and you are letting less light in (helpful in sunny situations).
This determines the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. The lower your ISO the lower the amount of light your camera will use. If you are taking pictures outside on a really sunny day, you would set your ISO to 100. The higher you set your ISO, the greater the amount light your camera will use. If you are indoors without a lot of light, you would need to set your ISO at 800 or higher. Keep in mind the higher the ISO the grainier your image will look when printed.
This represents the amount of time the shutter remains open when taking an image. A higher shutter speed with “freeze” action and a lower shutter speed will show movement. Another aspect to consider is the higher the shutter speed the less light your camera will use and the lower the shutter speed the more light your camera will use.
Let me leave you with diagram showing some basic features of a DSLR camera. I use the Canon 5D Mark II. If you use another kind of camera, that is absolutely fine, they all have the same features. Some of the diagram might seem basic or your already know what the buttons are called and where they are located. If you don’t, I would recommend taking a look at your manual and get familiar with where the different buttons on your camera can be found.
I hope you find this summary of information helpful. I plan on going into more detail and give photographic examples of each area of the exposure triangle.
Next, I will go over the different Camera Modes, specifically Aperture Priority Mode (AV for Canon users). Shooting in Aperture priority allows you to decide what aperture you want then the camera selects the shutter speed.
If there is something specific you would like to know, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are more of a hands-on visual learner I am available for individual and group classes.