Beginner Tips With a Digital Camera

Learning the Modes in Your Camera:

1. Landscape Mode – In this mode, both the foreground and background of your photo will be clear.

2. Nightime Mode – In this mode, the camera will use all available light in a scene.  you must keep the camera absolutely still is this mode.

3. Portrait Mode – In this mode, your subject will be in sharp focus instead of the background.

4. Beach/Snow Modes – In this mode, your camera will keep the true colors regardless of the lighting.

5. Sports/Action Mode – In this mode, you can catch the fast action without blurring.

6. Macro Mode – In this mode, you can get good focus when shooting close up.

Beginner Tips for Better Pictures

taking-better-pictures-with-dslrKeep your camera with you at all times.  You never know when you’ll see that million dollar shot!

When you’re going to take a picture, take one, and then, move in closer to attempt to get a better one.

If the subject of your attention may disappear, like a butterfly, or a dog, shoot a quick picture, then you can attempt closer or different features.

If you can’t bring you camera along, make sure you write down anything you see that you would like to come back later and take the picture.

Practice taking quick pictures.  You often need to be fast to get the shot.

Take care to create the best image. Make an effort to keep the photo balanced:

  • keep the camera level
  • crop out elements you are not interested in
  • position the subject in the frame where you believe it belongs, do not just simply accept it where it is.
  • All lines should lead to the main subject of the image.

Don’t overlook the mundane things around you.  Look at your surroundings for unusual lighting or a wildflower in the backyard.  Sometimes the simple subject makes the best shot.

Be selective.  Take pictures of things that really interest you.  Be sure to keep anything that would distract out of the picture.

Practice shooting with different apertures and compare your results to learn how depth of field affects your photos.  You will find that a smaller depth of field will focus all attention on your subject and the background will be a little fuzzy.  You will find that a larger depth of field will make the entire image clear and focused.

Enjoy the learning experience.  Look at everything with photographer’s eyes.

Play with your shutter speed.  Use a slow shutter speed to make a pretty picture of a babbling stream.  Use a fast shutter speed to capture objects in motion.  A fast shutter speed with a long lens can capture expressions on the face of a person riding a bicycle in the distance. Catching the right moment in fast-paced action can take a lot of practice.  Just keep practicing.

Take photos regularly.  The more you take, the more you’ll learn.

Pay attention to what kind of light you are working with.  Practice with different lighting to get the kind of photo you are working for.

Sometimes your image will look better if the subject is left or right of center.  Play with images like this to find the positions that appeal to you the most.

Lighting is very important.  Use a flash indoors.  Remember that a flash is useless beyond a certain distance. A camera flash will travel no more than 15 feet.

To avoid red-eyes, have your subject look slightly away from the camera.  Some cameras have a red-eye reduction feature, which is usually sufficient.

If your camera will take a filter, you might want to consider purchasing a polarizer.  A polarizer will make the skies deeper, the clouds whiter and the colors brighter and other beautiful effects.

Beware of taking pictures in direct sunlight.  If the sun is at your back, the subject may be forced to squint, and your shadow may interfere with the image.

Bright sunlight at mid-day may cast shadows on your subjects face.

If you face the sun, you may have a lot of glare; also the sun will be behind your subject, which may darken the features of your subject.

Position yourself so the sun is at your left or right.

If you purchase one accessory, purchase a tripod. This will eliminate camera shake and help you get beautiful evening shots.  These require slower shutter speeds and your image will be ruined if your camera shakes.

Taking Night Pictures:

  • Use a tripod.
  • Switch your digital camera to night mode for the best exposure.
  • Turn off the flash.
  • The best time to get the picture is just before the sun sets or just as the moon is rising.
  • Make sure the tripod is level.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!  The most fun you’ll have is learning through experience.

Master one feature of your camera at a time. Compare results and see what you like and don’t like about each feature.  You’ll learn the best way to use each feature this way.

Frame your subject in some manner, in a swing, or surrounded by a rose trellis to focus attention on the subject.

To avoid glare, make sure your camera is not pointing at reflective surfaces.

Digital cameras can be slow.  If you’re waiting for a particular moment, keep the shutter released pressed half way and the camera will react faster when the moment arrives.

When taking close up pictures:

  • Check your camera’s range.
  • If your camera has a macro mode, turn it on.
  • Turn off the flash.  Close ups are usually overexposed when flash is used.
  • If you have to use the flash, cover the flash with something to diffuse the light.
  • It is better to use a tripod.  At close range, small movements are more apparent.

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