Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Are you new to digital photography? Is it your first time to use a DSLR camera?
Unlike a point-and-shoot, a digital SLR camera requires more than just 1 to 3 steps. If you really want to maximize its capabilities, you need to adjust its settings and play around with them.
Scared you would break your camera when you press this button and that? Start understanding basic camera settings and you should be good to go.
A digital camera has several shooting modes – automatic, semi-automatic, fully manual, portrait, macro, landscape, sports, night, and movie.
Think of them as pre-set buttons where all the settings have already been set on your behalf. Considering that different situations call for different exposure requirements, having these modes to choose from makes it easier on your part to take photos in different environments and scenes.
What you should know, however, is that using pre-set modes doesn’t always guarantee the perfect quality image. Taking a portrait shot, for example, is easier with a portrait mode. But you might need to trigger a flash when you’re taking a photo into the sun to brighten up your subject’s face.
These modes are perfect for beginners, however. But make an effort to learn more as you go along, so you can use manual mode and get the best exposure requirement for every shot in different environments.
This refers to a lens’ opening that is measured in f-stops, such as f/8, f/5.6, f/4, f/2.8, f/2, and f/1.4. In this range, f/8 is the smallest opening, while the f/1.4 is the biggest. Aperture also takes into account the amount of light that gets through the lens.
Adjusting the aperture will affect your shot’s depth of field (DOF), or that amount of the shot you’re taking that is in focus. A large DOF keeps most of your image in focus, while small or shallow DOF keeps only part of an image in focus, leaving the rest fuzzy.
In digital photography, this refers to your camera’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO the less sensitive it is, and the higher it is the more sensitive your camera is to light.
100 is the normal ISO. In darker situations, a higher ISO setting is used and the opposite in brighter settings.
Take note, however, that some cameras can’t handle higher ISO settings and may leave your photos grainy.
This refers to the amount of time that a shutter is open and your image sensor captures the image you want to shoot. It is measured in seconds and is generally set at 1/60 of a second. But it can go pretty high since the speed usually doubles with each setting.
Shutter speed, along with ISO and aperture, is part of the exposure triangle, or the 3 main settings you need to adjust to get the best photo.
In addition, you should learn about Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB), White Balance, and Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes. Start with these settings and you will be on your way to making the most of your DSLR camera.