Getting to Know YOUR Camera – Photo Contributor

Today I am going to share my #1 tip when it comes to photography…
Learn how to use your camera.
Sounds silly, right?

But seriously… 

Do you remember how you felt when you first bought (or were given) your camera?
Do you remember your excitement?
Your big plans to really learn how to use it?
To make the most of this brand new, totally awesome piece of equipment?
Well, many of you probably haven’t yet taken full advantage of your camera.
Or learned what it is really capable of.
For this reason, I recommend reading your camera’s manual.
I know, I know… it’s a daunting task.
Instruction manuals aren’t exactly a captivating read.
But it will be worth it.
I promise.

I’ve had a lot of people come to me asking for tips and telling me how frustrated they are with the images they are taking with their camera. 
They want to know how they “fix” this and how they “fix” that.
They want to know how to take better pictures.

In these cases I almost always find that they don’t really know how to use their camera.  They have not read the manual and they don’t know how to adjust the settings on their camera to do the things they want it to do.
Sitting down with your camera and your manual will go a long way.
Test things out on your camera as you read.
Learn what you and your camera are really capable of.
When reading through your manual here are a few things I would recommend you focus on:
1.  Learn how to switch the mode of your camera (automatic, manual, program, shutter priority, aperture priority, etc.)
2.  Learn how to change your ISO
3.  Learn what the wheels on your camera do… which wheel adjusts your aperture and which adjusts your shutter speed.
4.  Learn how to turn on/off your on-camera flash, if you have one.
5.  Learn how to adjust white balance.
6.  If your camera allows you to adjust your focus points, learn how to do it.
We will go over some of these subjects over time (if we haven’t already) but I recommend that you read your camera manual first as each camera is different.  Learning how your specific camera works in each of these areas will help you better understand everything as we discuss them.

My challenge for you this week: Take your camera off Automatic mode, read your manual, and learn some of the neat things your camera (and you!) can do! 
The more control you have over your camera, the happier you will be with your pictures.

Let me know how it goes!
Visit me at The Dancing Toad blog!
I would love to see pictures or hear stories along your “getting to know your camera” journey.
See you next time!  We’ll be going over different camera settings and what the symbols/letters mean, hopefully you’ll have read in more detail about it in your manual so it’s easier to understand.


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  1. says

    I just got my first DSLR camera for my birthday! I AM SO excited to figure out how to really use it! :) Point well taken though… And just FYI… I read the basic manual first thing! whoot!

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