Hello, again! If you haven't already, you can read class one: an overview first.
Just a reminder that I am in no way, shape or form an expert. I'm simply sharing tips and tricks I've learned both on my own and through a photography class I've taken.
I'm using a Canon T3i, so all of my tips will correlate directly to Canon cameras - if you are using a Nikon or another model, the tips will still apply, but may not be laid out exactly the same as I'm listing. Lets just jump right in, shall we?
When you look at your camera's digital screen, you are essentially looking at a computer screen. All digital cameras, point-and-shoot included, have internal computers. Which leads us right into my first point:
1. Never Discard Any Data
You have a couple of different save modes to choose from: JPEG and RAW. Most amateur photographers (that I know, at least) shoot in JPEG for a couple of reasons: 1) they don't know any better; and 2) you can fit more photos onto a memory card.
You should always be shooting in RAW. Here are a few reasons why:
- in RAW, color temperature is changeable
- in JPEG, you HAVE to get the white balance correct manually
- in RAW there is no lost data - it's all there, you just have to have the software to recover it
- in JPEG data gets lost, details become non-existent and that's why photos turn fuzzy
DSLR's have a helpful way of focusing. Get into the habit of pressing your shutter down halfway and look through the eye-hole. On Canon DSLR's when you look through the eye-hole, on the lower right hand corner of that screen there will be a green dot. Blinking means not focused, and solid means focused.
Now, look on your lens. You should see something that looks like AF | MF.
AF = Auto Focus: camera will automatically choose what to focus on depending on current setting
MF = Manual Focus: you have creative freedom to choose what you focus on
Another tool in focusing is your AF point selection, which looks something like this:
Clicking this tool allows you to choose automatic, or to scroll around and choose which angle/position you would like to focus on. If you change it... just remember to change it back when you're finished. ;)
The following picture was taken from my Canon T3i Manual - however, for you Nikon users, most of the pictures on the mode dial are fairly universal and look [somewhat] similar.
Most of the photography I do is in the Program (P) mode. I find that I have more creative control, and it's the setting that I prefer. Of course, that doesn't mean that Program should be your favorite mode... but don't knock it til ya try it.
Here's what the settings mean:
Flower: macro setting
great for up close and detailed
Human (lady?) head: portrait setting
great for portraits as it opens up aperture to let light in
Running man: sports mode
freezes the motion
for scenes that are far away
(if the photo comes out blurry, the scene may be past the optimal distance of your lens)
Tv: time/shutter priority
how fast/slow your shutter is open before capturing the picture
depending on the speed you set, you may want to use a tripod to prevent blurriness
Av: aperture light control
higher Av number brings in more light, lower Av closes out more light
you, the photographer, are in control of all settings: lens, aperture, iso, etc.
camera takes care of shutter and aperture (best for macro photos with lens set on MF)
There is also Auto and Auto no flash (line through the Harry Potter lightning bolt).
You lose creative control on these settings, but for just around town, with your lens set on AF,
these are not a bad fall-back options at all while you get more comfortable with other settings.
Tip: always carry your manual with you and if you are questioning which setting is right for your situation, look it up! Of course, when in doubt, shoot Program; it's a helpful setting as shutter and aperture are controlled for you, but all settings are changeable.
With all of this in mind, remember that each camera is different, and the better you get at understanding these terms, what they mean, and how to implement them, the more you are going to grow as a photographer. With these basic terms and outlines, my recommendation until next week is to get out there and practice. Go have some fun!