A DSLR camera should be used beyond the comforts of its auto and scene modes. If you don’t learn to maximize all its amazing features, then all you really have is a rather expensive point and shoot camera. But taking the leap from auto to manual isn’t easy and requires a lot of practice.
Here are a few techniques that can help you with the transition:
- Switch priority modes. There are two modes that can ease you toward going fully manual. These modes let you prioritize either Aperture or Shutter and are otherwise known as the semi-manual or semi-auto modes. Using the Aperture mode (indicated by either the symbol “A” or “Av”) gives you control over the amount of light allowed to enter the camera by controlling the size of the lens’ opening. The Shutter mode (indicated by either “S” or “Tv”), on the other hand, lets you control how much time the shutter remains open to allow light to get in.
- Use the autofocus feature. Looking through your lens, you will see a number of focus points. It’s important that you situate your subject along one of these points to get a sharp and clear image. There are two autofocus modes to choose from: one-shot and continuous. One shot is ideal for still subjects while continuous is used for moving elements.
- Work your ISO. The ISO is the third pillar of photography along with shutter and aperture. Simply speaking, it is the camera’s level of sensitivity to available light. By choosing a higher ISO, you get a higher sensitivity that’s perfect for indoor and low-light situations. Only a low ISO is needed for bright light scenes.
- Adjust the exposure. If you leave it up to the camera alone, you won’t get the best photos possible. It’s programmed to automatically darken any bright scene by averaging the tones out to 18% gray which alters the natural brightness seen by the naked eye. This can easily be resolved by playing with the amount of exposure used to achieve the kind of effect you wish to capture.
- Apply white balance. Various light sources cause a certain unnatural cast over the images taken. You can eliminate this problem by using different white balance settings available in your camera. You’ll be surprised at how each option can work wonders on your photos.
- Get a good tripod. DSLR cameras are in no way light and convenient to carry. They are as heavy as the duties they are capable of. To make sure that none of your techniques go to waste by ruining what could have been a good photo with a shaky hand, you should invest in a trusty tripod that could provide your camera with state support.
With a bit of effort coupled with creativity and practice, you will be able to utilize your camera’s full potential. One other important tip I can leave you with is to practice under any and all conditions so you can fully explore the many functionalities that are at your disposal.