Still shooting in Auto? This is the video for you!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about taking your camera off auto and learning how to change all the different settings your camera has to offer, you’ll love this step-by-step guide to learning how to use your camera to its full potential, with interactive assignments to get you out there to get some hands on practice after every topic.
In just 40 minutes you'll learn How To:
Course Sections Include:
So let's grab your Camera and User Guide that came with it and start using your camera to it's full potential!!
There are three settings you’ll need to learn about to control the light getting into your camera:
Each of these has a different effect on your picture, and we’ll go over the pros and cons of letting in more light with each one.
Your shutter speed refers to how long the shutter is left open to let in light when you capture your picture.
Longer shutter is open = more light, more blur
Remember: When you’re shooting indoors with low lighting, make sure you have your shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion to keep out unwanted motion blur.
Now let’s get out there and put this into practice! For this first assignment we’re going to switch your camera to Manual mode, which is usually indicated with an M on your camera dial. We’ll go into more detail about the different camera modes in a minute, but for now we’re going to practice taking pictures of a moving subject at different shutter speeds. Now you’ll notice the picture getting brighter and darker at different shutter speeds, but don’t worry about the exposure just yet.
So go ahead and turn on the water on your kitchen faucet or find some other moving subject, and take a few different pictures at slower and faster shutter speeds.
Remember shutter is only one of the three settings that changes how much light you’re getting in your picture. The second way to control the light getting into your camera is with the aperture.
Your camera’s aperture, (measured in f-stops) is the term for how wide the opening of your lens is.
In the same way your shutter speed affects the motion blur of your picture, changing your f-stop affects your depth of field. Your depth of field can best be understood as different distances from your camera, and how much of them you want in focus.
Higher f-stops should be used when you’re shooting things like family portraits because people are standing or sitting at different focal lengths and you want to have them all in focus.
But if you’re going for that creamy, blurred background look that’s popular in modern photography you’ll want to use a lower f-stop. This blurred background is referred to as bokeh, and is accomplished by having an f-stop around 2.8 or lower so that only a small point in your depth of field is in focus.
Your next assignment is to assemble a few household objects and practice changing your f-stop to get more or less of them in focus. Get one picture with all of the objects in focus and one with only one of them in focus. We’ll talk about getting a perfect focus in a minute, so for now don’t worry about where your camera is focusing. So go ahead get familiar with changing that depth of field!
The third component you’ll use to change your exposure is ISO. This basically determines how sensitive the camera is to the light you’re letting in.
While raising your ISO higher gives you a brighter image (most useful indoors), the downside is that it creates more grain or noise in an image.
When outdoors in broad daylight, you can generally keep your ISO as low as possible for your exposure. As a rule of thumb, you can usually leave it at ISO 100 whenever you’re shooting in broad daylight.
So let’s recap the three components to controlling your exposure:
Any of these three can be used to let in more or less light, so remember how each setting is affecting your picture and when to use them to your advantage.
Let’s talk about the different modes your camera has and how much control you’ll actually have over your picture in each mode.
You’ll find that shooting in these modes is pretty restrictive and can cause several problems in low-lighting conditions.
The only mode in which you can have full control over your picture is Manual Mode.
Manual Mode - Usually indicated on your camera’s dial with the letter M. You can change your f-stop, shutter and ISO to any number you want. Allows you to setup your exposure once for one setting so you can keep a consistent exposure.
Shooting in full manual may seem daunting at first but after a while it will become second nature. The best way to learn full Manual is to get out there and practice, practice, practice.
Your next assignment is to grab your camera and take a picture in Manual mode where you adjust the f-stop, shutter, and ISO for the best exposure possible. Take a picture both inside and outside.
Now that you’re familiar with controlling your f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO in manual mode, let’s talk about white balance.
White balance affects the color cast in your picture.
Your camera's white balance settings correspond to the type of light you’re shooting in, for example:
There is also an option for Auto white balance, but it’s similar to shooting in auto mode in that different colors in the room can throw off its measurement, so you can end up with several different white balances from a shoot.
If none of the settings are looking quite right, you can create a custom white balance that’s specific to the setting you’re shooting in by taking a picture of something white that fills up the entire frame. It may be useful to bring a white card along with your gear for this purpose.
Your next assignment is to grab your camera and practice taking the same picture with different white balances. Then take a picture of a white card and take the same picture with a custom white balance based on that card.
Now, after everything we’ve learned, if your exposure or white balance isn’t perfect, you can easily adjust nearly everything about your picture with editing software if you shoot in RAW.
A RAW file stores much more of the picture’s information than a JPG file, which allows you to dramatically change the picture even after it’s been captured. When you’re camera shoots in JPG, on the other hand, it will compress the image before it even gets written to the card, making it much more difficult to make changes after it’s been captured.
The only downside is that RAW files are much larger, so you will need bigger memory cards if you’re shooting in RAW.
Using a RAW editing program like Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom, you’ll be able to change several things after the picture is taken:
These changes can also be applied to a whole batch of images at once to save tons of time in your editing. Assignment: Find out where you change from JPG to RAW on your specific camera model.
Getting to Know Your Lens
There is a huge selection of lenses out there from several different manufacturers, but let’s go over the basic terminology you’ll see to classify them.
Millimeters - the distance your lens can zoom in
The other number you’ll see to describe a lens is an f-stop number. What that means is that’s the lowest f-stop that lens can have, meaning the widest the lens can open.
Some lenses will have an f-stop range, for example a 28 – 35 mm lens that has an f-stop limit of 3.5 – 5.6. That means the lowest the f-stop can go is 3.5 at the smallest millimeter, but as soon as you zoom in, the lowest f-stop you can have is 5.6.
The last thing you might see describing a lens is whether or not it has image stabilization. Image stabilizers help keep out camera shake when you’re using a slow shutter or zooming in a far distance. The only downside is that a lens with image stabilization will usually cost around 30-60% more than the same lens without it and some lenses just don’t offer it.
Flash allows you to generate more light when there’s not enough light to get the proper exposure.
There are two types of on-camera flash. Your camera might have come with a built in flash system and for some cameras you can purchase an additional mounted flash system.
Benefits of a mounted flash:
If you’re shooting indoors with really high ceilings, your flash will have to travel a much further distance to reach the reflective surface. When the bounce flash isn’t getting scattered by the ceiling, a diffuser can do the job.
For more natural and professional looking pictures in low-lighting it’s best to use your aperture, shutter and ISO to maximize the light getting into your camera so you can use your flash as a backup source of light to be used sparingly.
Assignment: Now that we’ve learned about the best practices for using flash, your next assignment is to consult your user guide about changing the output of your flash, and take a few pictures with different levels of flash.
The best outdoor lighting you can get during the day is when it’s overcast because the light is being softened and diffused by the cloud cover.
If you’re shooting outside in harsh sunlight, your best options are:
The best time of day to have the sun directly on your subject’s face is a just before sunset because the light is being softened and diffused by the atmosphere. Another great way to capture a sunlit face is from the side.
Shooting at sunset also gives you the opportunity to capture silhouettes. This is done by facing your camera toward the setting sun and lowering your exposure until your subjects are black but the sky is still bright.
Your next assignment is to go outside and take a few pictures in different lighting. Try and get some in the sunlight and some in the shade.
If you’re shooting inside, find the nearest windows and have your subjects face them. Natural window light makes for beautiful pictures.
To maximize your lighting indoors, open up the blinds, turn on the lights, and use your camera to its full potential.
Using these simple techniques for indoor lighting will make the biggest difference in whether or not your pictures look like they were taken with a professional camera or not. By using your shutter, aperture and ISO to maximize the light in the room, you’ll be able to capture more of the ambiance and less on-camera flash.
Your next assignment is to practice shooting with indoor lighting. Try to use your shutter, f-stop and ISO to their full potential to have minimal flash.
Composition is essentially deciding what to put in the frame of your picture, and where each object will be within the frame.
Picture composition really is an art that you’ll continue to improve with practice.
Now that you know all the elements of getting a good picture, your last assignment is to put everything you’ve learned into play. Grab your camera and get creative with your angles, subject, and lighting to get the perfect composition.
Now that you know the basics of getting a good picture, let’s talk about some additional camera equipment that you might want for your digital SLR.
Now that you’re familiar with all the gear and know how to capture a good picture in any lighting situation, get out there and put it all into practice!
If you become a pro with your new SLR, and are interested in learning how to make a career in photography, check out our guide to Starting a Photography Business at www.PhotographerOvernight.com. We go over everything from registering your business and getting a professional website, to getting more clients and making a steady income doing something you love.
We wish you the best in your photography endeavors! If you liked this video, come see more training videos at www.PhotographerOvernight.com.
I've been a wedding photographer for six years and love helping people understand how to get the most from their new digital SLR cameras or take it a step further with a successful career in photography!
With a YouTube following of over 113,000 subscribers and 6 MILLION video views, people have really loved my easy-to-understand teaching style, and I think you will too! I've saved the very best lessons for this Udemy course to get people taking amazing pictures without the difficult learning curve.
So whether you're just learning how to take better pictures with your camera or want to turn your passion into a thriving business, I have the perfect courses to take you there!