The Ultimate Guide to Learning how to use Your first DSLR

Digital Photography School by Elliot Hook

If you’ve bought yourself a DSLR and, after unpacking it from the box, you are intimidated by the number of buttons and dials, and by the thickness of the manual, it can be very tempting to put the manual down, flick it onto ‘Auto’ and start shooting. Whilst that is fine for some, it may not be long until you crave the creative control that inspired you to purchase a DSLR in the first place, but where do you begin?

If you consider yourself a beginner who is unsure of how to make the most of your camera, this post is designed for you. It’s intended to be a brief, a one-stop shop to help you take your camera off auto, and take control of your DSLR. It isn’t intended to be a replacement for your camera manual, so will not explain every last setting in great depth, but will cover enough of the basics to get you in control of your camera, and give you the key topics to go back to your manual to read.

The topics covered in this post are:

1. Shooting modes
- aperture priority
- shutter priority
- program
- manual
2. ISO
3. Completion of the ‘exposure triangle’
4. Metering
- exposure compensation (+/-)
5. Focussing
- focussing modes (AF-S/AF-C)
- focus points
6. File size/types
- raw vs jpeg
7. White balance

Which should be more than enough to get you on your way. So let’s begin… read more...

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