Gone are the days when you could take photos on your phone and use them for your blog posts. If you are familiar with the blogging world today, chances are that you’ve come across fellow bloggers using professional photography for their content. People invest in high quality camera equipment to shoot photos for their blogs and businesses, so it’s more important than ever to have gorgeous pictures.
That said, everyone with a DSLR is not a photographer. There is a lot more to photography than just using a high quality camera. You can do a lot better if you learn to use your camera in the right way. So if you’ve invested in a DSLR or plan to invest in one, here is a beginner’s guide to help you get started:
Learn the capabilities + settings of your camera
We’re used to skipping the manual for a few run-of-the-mill devices, like a cell phone or a regular point and shoot camera. But when it comes to a DSLR camera, there are several settings, buttons and modes that you need to know about. So the first step would be to read you manual – cover to cover. Acquaint yourself with all the settings, controls, features and capabilities of your camera. Some of them may seriously surprise you! Plus, each DSLR camera is a little different, so it’s important to understand which functions your camera includes.
Shooting Modes (Auto + Manual)
If you use only the auto mode of your DSLR, you are better off using a point and shoot. There is a reason you invested in a DSLR — to have more control over your photographs. This happens best in manual mode. Now, you can definitely take good photos in auto mode — no denying that (see the comparison below) — but we want awesome photos and that is more realistic via the manual mode.
I recommend starting off with the Av (aperture priority) and Tv (shutter priority) modes and slowly graduating to the manual mode to make the transition easier. Manual mode is intimidating at first because you need to figure out the exposure by yourself. This means that you need to deal with setting values for the aperture, shutter speed and ISO — it’s a lot to take in, right? But trust me, this will make all the difference in your photos. This also leads me to my next point about exposure…
A DSLR alone cannot make a difference in your photos — you need to understand to the basics of photography. Lighting is the key element that makes or breaks a photo. Once you learn the fundamentals of exposure/lighting, you will see a huge difference in your photos whether you are using a DSLR or an iPhone camera.
In a DSLR, you have full control to play around with the values of aperture, shutter speed and ISO, which together impact the exposure of a photo. Dig deep into learning about each of these aspects and how they affect your photo.
Raw vs JPEG Images
You might have heard about shooting in Raw format before, but what exactly is it? Let’s see. When you shoot in the usual JPEG format (that we all love), the camera automatically processes the data to create an image file. So we have less control over the photo while editing it. However, when you shoot in raw format, the camera doesn’t process the data, and instead the raw data is preserved until you transfer your files to the computer. Since a computer has greater processing power than a camera, it gives you a lot more flexibility and control to process the data and produce high quality photos. Bottom line: You have more to work with in the Raw format, which can lead to better looking photos.
You can see the difference in the photo below, the colors look so much more vibrant and defined in the Raw format when compared to the JPEG format!
Practice + Learn
The best way to learn using a DSLR is to just practice…a LOT! As you practice shooting in different modes and settings, observe the effects of settings on photos. For example, shoot with a low aperture and high shutter speed, observe how your photo turns out. Next time when you shoot at a high aperture and low ISO, compare the photo with a previous one — observe the changes between the photos and try to figure out the reasons for the differences. It will take some practice and time before you get comfortable with your camera. However, the most important thing is to have fun and learn as much as you can! Its all about practice, soon you will be clicking amazing shots with your DSLR!
What are your biggest challenges while using a DSLR camera?
p.s. You might like this post: 5 backdrop ideas for blog photography (under $30!)