If you were lucky enough to receive a new DSLR camera as a gift recently, just purchased your first DSLR, or just purchased an upgrade from your old DSLR you might be wondering… “Now what do I do?”
If you’ve owned a DSLR before, heck even an SLR film camera, then these tips might not be new. If you’ve only used your DSLR on the big green AUTO setting, then trying out something new could help you take better photos.
1) Get Some Glass
Most people seem to think that a newer and “better” DSLR is going to go a long way to better photos… but at the same time they only have cheap “kit” lenses with limited range and lower performance. You can keep your DSLR body for a long time if you get yourself some good lenses! A high quality lens will overcome some shortcomings of the camera and they will be what you KEEP when you decide to upgrade your camera again, so why not invest in some quality glass? Never underestimate the difference that a GOOD lens will make, people tend to overlook just how important lenses are.
How about a nice wide, padded shoulder strap so you don’t get sore carrying your camera for a long time? Maybe experiment with filters, a lens hood or a battery grip? And make sure you have a good padded camera bag to carry it all.
3)Mode Dials Are Not The Enemy
Yes most of us keep our DSLR in AUTO mode most of the time and that’s fine, but why not take a chance and see what those other modes are for? Some cameras are crazy and have dozens of pre-programmed scene modes like kids, fireworks, underwater and more. Some of these are great, some you will never use.
Check out the P,S,A and M modes and see what you can see! For example, S (Tv for Canon) is Shutter Priority: you set the exposure time and the camera does the rest. A (Av for Canon) is Aperture Priority where you set the aperture to achieve a shallow depth-of-field or everything in focus, and the camera does the rest. M for Manual … pretty self explanatory. =) Easy right?
3)Your flash sucks
Ok so your camera has a built-in pop-up flash. Every time you use it, everybody has red-eye, the picture is over exposed, the white balance is off, you tried to use it through a window (really?) or at a baseball game (REALLY??) Ugh, just try not to use it.
If you really want or need to use the built-in flash, get a cheap flash-diffuser or something that will bounce it up and not directly at the subject. Trust me on this one.
4)RAW Isn’t Just For Steak
If your DSLR is capable of shooting in RAW format (and I’m pretty dang sure they all are) then please try and use it instead of JPG.
JPG image format compresses the image which means that the software decides what part of the image information to throw away so the file takes up less space. Why throw away part of all your pictures? Furthermore if you edit and save, edit and save, edit and save the same file you lose quality every single time you save because the image is compressed every time you save it!
If you can, shoot a picture that is saved in RAW and JPG at the same time. Download them to your computer and compare them side-by-side. I guarantee you that the RAW image will look so much better than the JPG that you won’t want to shoot anything but RAW ever again.
Have a Canon Powershot point-and-shoot camera? Did you know that many of them are capable of shooting in RAW format like a big bad DSLR? It’s true and I’ll write an article about it in the near future.
What is your best tip or trick to using a DSLR that others can use? Let us know!Darntoothysam