So you got new dslr for the holidays? Now what? Now, you take small steps in getting comfortable with this new piece of technology. Here are our five tips on getting started.
1. Register Your Gear
This is just a great habit to get in to with your gear. Write down your serial numbers on your camera and lens and keep it in a safe place. Also, there will be registration paper work to fill out and send back to the manufacturer – do this. The purpose of this is in case there are any technical issues you may be covered under warranty. Also, if your equipment gets lost or stolen, you have a record of it.
2. Skim the Manual First
I am not suggesting you devour the whole camera manual, even for professional photographers it’s a lot to comprehend and absorb. Take your time and read and understand the parts that make sense to you. Once you get more comfortable with your camera, you’ll start to ask questions and will be able to refer to your manual for the answer.
3. Explore the Limitations
How high does the iso go on your camera? Start with the lowest iso and go to the highest and view the results in camera. You can do this with the speed and the f-stop as well. Photograph at each step so you can visually see what your camera is capable of handling. Also, make sure to take a look at what happens to the histogram on the back of your camera. It’s interesting to see how light registers through these variables.
4. Get Off Auto Mode
Scary thought isn’t it? It will take a lot of years to be able to walk into a room or scene and know what iso, fstop and shutterspeed will give you the best results. In the meantime, you can start with Aperture or Shutter priority. This let’s you control one of the variables. When comfortable with this, feel free to play with Manual Mode. When I first started in digital dslr I would often put it on aperture priority – read how the camera would see it and then plug those numbers into Manual Mode. Depending on my vision, I would then move the aperture or speed to lighten or darken the image in manual mode. Once you have a starting point, it’s easy to move around in Manual Mode.
5. Practice, Practice and then Practice Some More
You’re not going to become a pro overnight. It’s not an iphone. Plus, you wanted more than something on the back of your phone. You wanted more control. So with that said, challenge yourself. Give yourself something you can attain -maybe a monthly photo challenge to begin. Give yourself technical challenges before creative ones. Remember this is your first DSLR you need to know the rules before creatively and on purpose breaking them. If you get stuck on anything, I suggest combing through YouTube videos. There is such a plethora of valuable knowledge in this database. Plus, if you are like me, you learn better being shown what to do rather than reading a manual with no color or beautiful imagery.