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Tips for Beginners

We have another wedding this weekend which I am so excited for and I am totally aware that there will be plenty of friends and family that want great pictures from the event as well. And I’ve noticed that DSLR’s are becoming increasingly popular, they are like the new gadget that everyone wants, like the latest phone or iPad. Which is great! I love that people are taking in an interest in something creative. And today I want to help these guests and other budding photogs the basic camera settings.

These fun toys are so much better when you know how to really work them! First off, (taking a page out of my Dad’s book) please please PLEASE read the manual to first learn your way around the new gizmo. I mean hey, you deserve to get your money’s worth.  And while you are reading that pesky manual, be sure to have the camera right next to it so you can figure out where all the buttons and various menu/settings are.

I owned an old-school film camera way before my digital, which I enjoyed starting out with, but it was really hard to understand the different settings when you have to wait to get the film processed and don’t remember your aperture and shutter speed. It is so great to be able to see how these numbers alter an image and see it in the blink of an eye, so take advantage of it!  If you don’t have your camera handy at the moment you can also practice it here:

The three main settings you should learn are your ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

ISO stands for International Standards Organization. Basically, this organization set up multiple standards, the most well known being the system for measuring film sensitivity, and now digital. I was always taught to keep it at 400, because this is generaly good for brightly lit and darker scenery. If the scene is extremely bright or sunny you can bring it down to 200 or 100. And likewise, with dim subjects you want to increase the ISO. However, doing so may create digital noise, which looks ike distracting grain in the image.

Aperture! One of my favorites. Part of the reason I decided to write this blog post today is because my mom recently asked me “So, how did you make it all like blurry in the background?” haha and I am only teasing her, but I know this is something a lot of people don’t know about. I will spare you the technical details, but the smaller the aperture number the smaller depth of field and less area that is in focus (such as an f 1.8), while a larger number has more in focus. Playing around with this you will also see how it affects the brightness of the image. I love having my lens that gives me a 1.8 because I typically prefer to see just the subject and ignore the background.

Lastly, the most simple of the settings is the shutter speed. This affects how fast the picture will be taken. So the faster the shutter speed the more stop motion and less light getting in. Similarly, the slower shutter speed the more blur and more light.

So pleasssseee take your camera off of Auto and dare to put at on aperture or shutter priority (which will hopefully lead to manual) and happy shooting!!

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