A DSLR digital camera can be confusing at times, but it’s not in any way difficult to learn its rules and functions. I started properly experimenting with photography around two years ago during a summer of extensive travels and in that time I have picked up a few basics of digital photography that I thought of sharing.
ISO, Aperture and shutter speed:
Or as I like to call it…the holy trinity of digital photography, but joking aside knowing the function of these three can make your life a whole lot easier. Below I have attached a very useful image which you can follow in order to understand better what I’m about to explain. It’s very easy to understand as it’s a literal visual translation of what each feature of the camera does.
ISO is basically the Cameras sensitivity to light which I tend to ideally keep at 100 ISO and maximum 400 ISO as I like my images to be crisp. Increasing the ISO, because perhaps you are shooting in poor light conditions without a tripod, will increase what is called “Noise” which makes your photographs hazy and gain a “Granulated” aesthetic as well as making your image darker. Aperture controls what you want in focus in relation to how much light you want to enter the camera and is measured in F-Stops, hence why the numbers have an F before them. Let’s assume that you would like to take a portrait with a blurry background, in that case you would need to lower you aperture from around F8 down to F1, as you can see from the image below. On the other hand as I said before aperture controls how much light enters your digital camera, so if you are shooting in good lighting conditions, but would like your image to look “darker” you can control this by playing with the aperture settings, just don’t forget that it also puts the background out of focus or in focus with the foreground. Last but not least is the shutter speed, while the aperture controls how much light enters the camera, the shutter speed controls for how long. If you are taking a photo of an object in motion then you will need to set it on a high shutter speed, example 1/500, like the two above, shutter speed will also change how dark or light your image is. Basically the higher the shutter speed, the more time is allowed for the light to enter the cameras, hence making your image light, while the lower the shutter speed the complete opposite occurs. As it is stated at the very end of the image, ISO, aperture and shutter speed can be used in a combination to achieve a wide range of effect. As I have mentioned before, I’m a visual learner so if this didn’t help to makes things a bit more clear, please check out the YouTube video titled, “Photography Tutorial: ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed” that I have attached below the image.
Yprum, 2015 (image Online). Effects of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO On Images. [Digital Image].
Photography Tutorial: ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed:
The light meter, which in DSLR’s is in built, is going to be your best friend as it lets you know if your image is underexposed or overexposed. Below is an image of how the light meter usually looks, of course this can slightly change in appearance according to the make and model of you DSLR. What this meter indicates, is in simple terms how “dark” or “light” your image will look. If you decide to underexpose like I usually do, your photo will start to get darker, while if you over expose, your photo will become lighter. The exposure can be changed by playing around with the ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
Kunal Malhotra, 2015 (image Online). Untitled. [Digital Image].
Photoshop and Lightroom:
Like most, I learned how to edit my photographs on Photoshop and still do, but for editing digital photographs there is an even more powerful software and that is Lightroom . You are still going to need Photoshop to fix certain mistakes as Lightroom only allows you to crop and realign. What makes Lightroom so great is the various options and tools you can use to edit you image aesthetically to the last detail. For example if you have a preference for black and white photography, Lightroom gives a huge list of various ready-made options to choose from, which allows you to further build upon by using the other tools, such as how white you want your white areas and how black you want your black areas. Give it a shot! You can also try it for free by downloading the free trial.
I seriously suggest buying a tripod, especially if, like me, you tend to have shaky hands, as using a tripod will drastically decrease the chance of getting blurry images and instead getting that crystal clear photo. In my opinion, unless you want to venture into street photography, owning a tripod is a must as it can give many more possibilities, such as shooting at a steady angle, shooting from various heights, shooting with timers, getting a sharp image in low light settings, achieving crisp images of objects in motion and many more.
Two Batteries, Two SD cards:
I learned this lesson recently; I basically had an important shoot which was around 6 hours long, and as I was not aware of how much shooting RAW (a type of format) quickly drains you battery, I had to terminate the shoot early. The minute I got home I order another battery, to save myself from embarrassment. The same goes for the SD card, you’ll be surprised how many times you’ll forget to put the SD card back in your camera after uploading your images to your computer only to realise it the moment you turn your camera on in the street.
Invest in a Camera bag:
A camera bag is essential, as it will allow you to carry extra lenses, batteries, SD cards and even you battery charger all together wherever you go….oh and don’t forget a cloth to clean you lens with ;).