Understanding How To Use Your Camera in 5 Paragraphs or Less!
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
You got a new camera! Sweet! You're running around shooting photos of everything you see and they look SO much better than your phone photos ever do! But, now you wanna take that to the next level. While shooting in auto mode works, it doesn't give you all the control to take the photos you want to take. In this post, you'll have the oversimplified way to use your camera in manual mode and get the photos you've always dreamed of!
This, for me, confused and frustrated me to no end when getting to use my camera for the first time. Aperture is the opening of your lens that allows the image to get into the camera. It is represented by "f/" and on your camera it probably looks like "2.8;3.5;5.6;8.0." The smaller the number, the brighter your image will be. The smaller number is also what gives that cool blurry background affect you see in so many pictures; while a higher number brings more things into focus. My advice when first starting to use manual mode on your camera is to keep this number as low as possible. While
2. Shutter Speed
After you have your aperture as low as you can get it, it's time we worry about shutter speed. Shutter speed affects how quickly the shutter opens and closes which in turn affects how bright the photo is. It is measured in seconds and often represented by "1/ number ." When faster than one second it will look like "1/100, 1/ 1250, 1/4000" and when slower than one second it will simply be numbers like ".5, 5, 30." It also affects how still your picture is. If you use a slower shutter speed your photo may come out blurry. So think: fast subject, fast shutter. A good shutter speed for fast sports would be 1/640 or higher.
OK, I lied, this may have been the most confusing thing about using a camera for the first time. The "way-too-simple" version of explanation is that ISO is "fake brightness." ISO tends to start at "100" and goes up from there. Always keep this number as low as possible; when this number gets too high it adds grain, or "noise," to your photo.
That's it! You can now use your DSLR or mirrorless camera like a PRO. (1) Set your aperture and (2) the shutter speed you need and (3) then adjust the ISO as needed to get the brightness you need to take a good photo! It's also wise to use the "live view" mode so you can see the brightness of your photo as you change your settings. The key to using manual mode is PRACTICE, so get out there and practice!