Getting Started with a DSLR Camera


After buying a new fancy DSLR camera, you probably wonder what to do with it. It has a lot of fancy buttons with so many possibilities, but who wants to take the time to read those large manuals. It is so much more fun to just start taking pictures.

Getting Started with Auto

Being smart, you have decided to do a little research as well. I bet you found that most photography sites recommend ignoring Auto and starting directly with Manual. On manual you need to understand ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and how they all work together. You also need to be able to focus quickly in order to get the picture you want. If this is your first real time using a DSLR, then starting on manual can be very discouraging.

To avoid extreme disappointment, I recommend starting in Auto for the first week or two of using your new DSLR camera. This will give you time to get to know your camera. Learn how it feels to hold it, push the button, and moves. Also, take the time to research ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and how to make them work together. Start learning about composition and how to make a picture turn out the way you want.

Getting Started with Manual

Do not stay using Auto. When you start, commit that you will only use Full Auto for a week, or max two in order to have fun and give yourself time to learn the basic functions on the camera. After that time period, start using manual.

If your camera has the ability, you can slowly transition to full manual. Most DSLR cameras have the option to do manual for just one of the three, ISO, shutter speed, or aperture. For example if you choose ISO, this means the camera will judge and choose shutter speed and aperture, but you decide the number for ISO.

Let me repeat, do not stay in this spot. After a period of exploration, commit to start using full manual. Full manual allows you to shape the picture how you want. It gives you free rein to use your creativity.

Getting Started with Photo Editing

I also recommend finding and using a version of photoshop. Photo editing is usually associated with silly unlikely pictures found all over the internet. While true, photo editing can do a lot more than make impossibly seeming photos. Photo editing enhances and refines the wonderful photos you have taken. It can make color pop, or crop to a specific section, so all that what you want shows. With a little learning you can do all the amazing things seen on the internet using photo editing.

Popular choices for photo editing tools are Adobe Photoshop, which costs money, and GIMP, which is free. Personally I use GIMP. I have found that using GIMP allows me to edit my photos quickly and easily. It also give me the ability to make my photos look the best they can.

Remember the excitement of first getting your DSLR camera. Well don’t let that excitement fade to disappointment if you have trouble starting with manual. Start for a short time in auto and do research on ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Then switch to full manual, in steps if desired, and watch amazing pictures form. Enhance your wonderful pictures by using a photo editing tool. Before long you will be turning out magnificent photos.

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