Let Your New DSLR Teach You Photography

Canon Rebel EOS XSi DSLR Camera


So up until now, you’ve only used point and shoot cameras.  One day, you decided to break down and buy a new DSLR carmera because you got a good price or you just want a more professioal camera.  Whatever the reason, you have a good bit of learning to do now.

All of the new DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras have all types of settings you can use to take your photos.  There are special modes for special photos like landscape, portraits, sunny days, cloudy days, sports and others.  These are called presets that set up your camera for the type of photo you are wanting to take.  But you are learning nothing by using them.

It’s okay to start out using them on your new DSLR.  Once you do, you will want to start to use more advanced modes.  A lot of people I know just use the Total automatic settings which is good to start out with but you must improve your photographic knowledge if you want to really have a hobby or business with photography.

There are tons of books on the subject of photography but reading is boring.  Doing is fun.  So how do you learn photography just from your camera?  Your new DSLR can teach you.  Those totally automatic modes can teach you about photography.  But how?

Every photo you take in an automatic mode uses the same principles and photography fundimentals that you need to use and know to be a good photographer.   You need to know what f-stop or aperature, shutter speed, ISO and other settings do on your camera and why you need to set them and also why.  Your camera can show you what it does to take a good photo.

Every photo your new DSLR takes in any automatic mode still sets the aperature, shutter speed, ISO and all of the other settings needed to take a photo,… and it tells you what it did.  Every photo has what aperature, shutter speed and ISO was used when it took the photo.  You can use this information to see what it did and figure why it did what it did.  Your camera will tell you that it used for the aperature setting.  Look and see what it set it to and why.  Was it dark outside or inside?  Was it sunny?  Was the sun in the back of the photo?  Figure out what the conditions were and then look to see what it set  the aperature to.

Do the same for shutter speed.  Do the same for ISO.  Was it dark? was it really light out?  What did the camera set the ISO to.

A couple of quick definitions is all you need to start learning what settings to use to take any photo and why once your new DSLR camera shows you what it did.

ISO = light sensitivity.  100 for daylight, 200 for shade, 400 for indoors (unless really good light) 800 for darker room and higher than 800 for really dark rooms or scenes.  Not that the higher the ISO, the more digital noise that is in the photo so use the lowest ISO possible for the light conditions.

Aperature = The opening of the iris of your camera (how much open it is).  Just like you eye, your camera has an iris that can close down or open up to let in more light or reduce the amount of light coming into your eye.  Your camera does the same thing with the aperature.  Knowing how to set this will take some work.  View photo settings in automatic mode to see what the camera uses.

Shutter Speed = Your camera opens a window and closes it to take a picture.  The longer it is open, the longer the “exposure” to light.  If the shutter is open for a longer time and something moves during that time, you get a blurry photo.  There is a trade off in that if you are doing sports, things move quickly.  You can only have the shutter open a fraction of a second or you will get a blurry image.  Problem is, a quick shutter speed cuts down on the exposure and you will have to have a lot more light to get a decent photo.  You need bright lights or as much as possible.  Equate this to your eyelids.  Keep your eyes closed then open them quickly and close them again.  How much did you see?

With these basic photography terms, you can look to see what your camera is setting in automatic mode and take notes as to why it chose what it did.  Tkake note of the lighting conditions, amount of light,etc. to see why your camera chose what it did.

There are also focus and zoom but these are pretty much slef explainatory.  Aperature, ISO and shutter speed isn’t that self explainitory.  Play around with different lighting conditions and moving action to let your new DSLR teach you.

If you need a better understanding of the basic concepts of ISO, aperature and shutter speed, more than I can provide here, check out this book then let your camera teach you the rest…

Click the book above
to s
ee a preview.

For a great entry level DSLR camera, click the camera below.

Let me know what you think by commenting below.

One thought on “Let Your New DSLR Teach You Photography

  1. Just a note – To see the information your camera used to take the photo, view the EXIF information on the photo. Use the display button to view the photos you have taken or on a pc, right click and view the advanced properties. These will tell you the settings the camera used.

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