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Tographer Tuesday: Camera Series-How to use a DSLR Part 1

When it comes to working a camera at first you may get frustrated and just want to switch to shooting in automatic but with practice you will be a pro in no time. We have already talked about the different components in past blogs which you can check out by clicking here. Over the next two weeks we are going to go over how to use each of the functions together to use your camera properly and to take amazing photographs.

First let’s start with your light meter. The object is to have your photograph perfectly exposed so that its not to dark or to light. As you can see here the perfectly exposed photograph is when the light meter reads 0. The reason you start with the light meter is because you change all of the other settings depending on what your light meter is reading.

The next thing to think about is focusing. In your camera set the point of focus to the item or subject area that you want to be in focus.

After looking at the light meter and determining what you want in focus you need to determine what you want the back drop to be or depth of field. If you want the background to be crisp for mile then a higher aperture or f/stop will be needed (10-32). If you are doing family portraits where you need multiple levels of people in focus then you should stick with an aperture of around 5.6. Then if you want the entire background to be blurred (portraits, details, etc.) you need to use a lower f/stop (1.4-2.8)

Once you have all of this figured out then you need to set your shutter speed. Shutter speed not only controls how much light is reaching the sensor or film but it also controls if the subject is blurred or frozen depending on their movement. If the subject is moving fast then you need a higher shutter speed. If the subject or item is not moving you can use a lower shutter speed. Please remember that anything less than your lens you need a tripod or anything below 1/60 of a second. What this means is that if you are shooting with a 200mm lens then your shutter speed should not go below 1/200 of a second.

Lastly, you have to set the ISO. ISO basically is how grainy or even how pixilated the picture will look. The lower the ISO the better. In dark situations you may have to use a higher ISO but if you go to high you may destroy the image all together.

After thinking about all of the items individually you need to set them so that the light meter reads a 0.

Next week we are going to show different example and what the settings are for each.

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