Photography Series #1

camera-basics.jpg

So you just got a new fancy camera, awesome! Now how to use it? You know to get great pictures you need to be using a good camera, a little point and shoot, or your phone will only get you so far, so now we are on the right track.

In this series I'm going to go through what some of the things on a DSLR camera means, the settings, and how to use them to get awesome picutures. I have a Nikon D3200, which I'll be using for reference, but the concepts are the same across the board for all brands.

So first, what does DSLR mean?

Digital Single Lens Reflex

A single reflex lens is the mechanism that allows the photographer to look through the view finder and see exactly what the lens sees. The mechanism uses a mirror to bounce the image from the lens to the view finder. Unlike a point and shoot where you have a view finder on top that just looks strait through the camera, not through the lens. In the old days of film, the film strip would sit just behind the mirror so when you took a picture the mirror would swing shut closing off the view finder and exposing the film. That's why you got that momentary blackness with the click sound. Since moving into the digital age we don't need to expose film but the image sensors are still behind that mirror so that what the lens sees, and what we see is captured.

SLR

Alright so now that we know how the camera is working, we can get to the good stuff. That little nob, usually on the top of the camera, has got some icons on it, what do they do? What they all mean? 
These are different modes you can put your camera in, like if you are shooting at soccer game you'd probably go for sport mode. Each one has got all the settings for that specific occasion or subject already programed in and set up for the best exposure.

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It's a lot of fun to try out all the different modes, and see which one you like the best for what you typically photograph. I usually go for the 'auto no flash' because I like natural lighting. The 'close up' is a lot of fun too, I love seeing things in extreme close up almost to the point that they don't look real!

So before you go out and start shooting away, there are a couple setting you should check out in the menu screen.
After you've hit the menu button you should be able to choose from 4 or 5 different categories,  under 'Shooting Menu' I like to keep my Image Quality as NORMAL, and Image Size as SMALL. The photos I take usually end up getting sized for web anyways so I like to keep the files as small as possible, plus if you know you are going to be shooting something thats going to be printed and blown up huge you can always go in and change it. The next thing to take a look at is in the 'Setup Menu', make sure that the 'Info Display' is turned ON. This means that you will be able to see what mode you are in on the screen, it should also tell you what settings your aperture, shutter speed and ISO are at (but more on those later). And last in the 'Playback Menu' you will want the 'Image Review' setting to be ON, that way you can take a peek at the picture you just took to make sure everything is looking good.

So thats all for today, I hope this is helpful. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks coming soon!