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Whether you’re using a simple point-and-shoot to take everyday pictures or you’ve just got your first DSLR, getting to completely know all there is about your camera and the equipment that comes with it may seem a bit intimidating. That said, knowing how to use each setting and when is crucial for making those professional-looking, breath-taking shots. Fortunately, here are some tips that will help you up your photography game to a new level and make sure you’re taking amazing photos.
Go through the manual
A lot of people actually never read the manuals, but they can tell you a lot about your camera’s strengths and weaknesses. Finding out all there is about your camera, including what all the buttons do and what every option means is what separates the amateurs from those with a more serious approach to photography. The manual contains everything, ranging from presets information to disabling the sound which notifies you every time something’s in focus. You don’t need to know it by heart, but make sure you’ve at least read it once and you’d be surprised what you might learn about your particular camera model.
Let go of the auto mode
Using your camera on automatic mode can not only make you lazy by doing everything for you, but it also prevents you from actually learning how to use your camera. Try switching to a different mode, such as shutter priority and aperture priority or you can go full manual. This puts you in direct control over the process of making photographs, but you’ll have to learn what each dial or button does. This allows you to make the proper settings before each shot, guaranteeing you’ll make an excellent photo each time you shoot.
Enable taking raw pictures
Most people don’t actually need to shoot in RAW format. JPEGs are the norm these days and most of the time they get the work done. However, RAW is an uncompressed format, unlike JPEG. What this means is that you have more freedom to play around with different aspects of the picture in post-processing. You can also enable the camera to take both formats at the same time, so you can share the JPEGS with your friends while having RAW files to work on later. Just make sure you get a big enough memory card, as RAW files tend to take a lot of storage space.
Get your hands on a good prime lens
These days, most DSLRs come equipped with a medium zoom lens out of the box. This is called a kit lens and it comes bundled with the camera. It’s useful in most situations, such as outdoor photography, however, it does behave rather poorly in a low light situation. This is where prime lenses come into play. They shoot at a fixed focal length, as opposed to kit lenses which shoot at a number of different lengths. They also use fast shutter speeds in conditions with low light and give you a narrower depth of field, allowing you to make better quality pictures then you would with a regular zoom.
Don’t use the on-camera flash
The main issue with an on-camera flash is that it’s sitting right next to the lens. And it shoots light parallel to the lens, which leads to awkward, almost shadowless images. Either invest in a flash that attaches to your camera or try increasing the ISO. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or else you’ll end up noise, which is a fancy term for grainy photos. Play around with different lighting conditions until you’ve figured out the exact ISO setting for any situation. If you’re unsure what type of flash you should get, you can always check for gear and digital cameras online, or at your local camera store.
Just because you have a relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot camera and not the latest model worth several hundreds of dollars does not mean that you can’t shoot amazing photos. Even if you do own a top of the line DSLR with all the necessary equipment money can offer that does not make you a professional photographer. Get to know your camera and the equipment that comes with it. And shoot a lot of pictures in as many different situations to get first-hand practical experience on which setting works the best.