MOST businesses are busy during the holiday season, but in my case I’m getting more business after the holidays. This is the time when newly purchased cameras are in the hands of a first timer. They try it out and explore the different settings with one objective—to make the first shot.
After all the tinkering and testing, they check the box for other accessories that come with it. Maybe and just maybe, they skim the camera’s manual. I know the feeling. I do the same. Sometimes excitement comes to us so much that we don’t look at the manual anymore. Oftentimes, these booklets are read only when trouble comes.
I think that manufacturers should do a better job in making the manuals more interesting. This is the same scenario in workshops. Attendees expect to be able to produce stunning photos in just a few steps. One must understand that learning photography requires a ton of interest and practice.
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Familiarize yourself with the buttons. Most newbies are afraid that they might press something that would change the settings of their camera and they fear they can’t bring the default settings back. Getting familiar with the buttons will give a bit of confidence, knowing its functionality and purpose. Note that some settings are accessed by pressing multiple buttons at the same time.
2. Use program mode instead of auto mode. Have you seen somebody counting down and right after he says “smile” the pop-up flash opens up and fires? Yep, that’s in auto mode. Program mode lets you control the flash and the ISO of your camera. The shutter speed and aperture are automatically selected to fit the lighting condition, but you can still override it with your dial.
3. Aperture, Shutter and ISO. If there are three things you must understand in photography, it’s the exposure triangle. Try to understand how depth of field or blurring the background can be controlled by aperture and how motion is controlled by shutter speed. Find out how ISO can help you in low light conditions.
After understanding the three settings, explore the use of aperture priority, shutter priority. When using these semi-automatic modes, you can still override the settings using exposure compensation function.
4. Get a 50mm. This is one of the best and the cheapest lenses you can get. This lens will let you explore the effects of blurring the background normally used for portraits. It will also train you to see in a fixed angle of view, since this normally comes without a zoom.
5. Shoot as much as you can. There is no better teacher in photography than experiencing it yourself. Allocate time each week when you can go out and try out your camera in different settings. Find a shooting partner or a club where you can learn more and be with people who speak the same photographic lingo.
I would like to encourage newbies to join the upcoming Sinulog Photo Contest. This is a good event for you to practice your newfound skills. Who knows, your photo might end up a winner. You can register at the Sinulog Foundation office in Abellana or drop by SM 3rd level where previous winning photos are displayed.
Happy New Year and keep on shooting, everyone!
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