- Beginner Photography Tip: Advanced Camera Controls That Will Take Your Photos to the Next Level
- Why You Need to Shoot in Program Mode
I read an article the other day about a photographer that left all his incredibly expensive camera gear in his car - in plain sight - and seemed surprised when someone broke in and took off with all his stuff.
It seems that even the most veteran and experienced of photographers can have a brain lapse and make a critical mistake!
With that in mind, I thought I'd outline a few things that might be obvious not to do with your camera, yet still seem to happen all too often...
Don't Leave Your Gear in Your Car
In addition to the danger of it being stolen, another great reason not to leave your camera gear in the car is that it can get too hot or too cold.
The electronics inside your camera are incredibly delicate, and depending on the season, they can freeze or fry.
The image sensor, in particular, is extremely sensitive, so leaving your camera in your car exposes it to increased danger of suffering from extreme temperatures.
It's not just the sensor that can suffer, either. You might find that after a hot afternoon in the car that your LCD and other electronics don't work too.
So, if you'll be away from the car for awhile, take your gear with you, or better yet, if you won't be using your gear, just leave it at home!
Don't Shoot One-Handed
Shooting one-handed is only inviting photography disaster.
Without a stable base, your camera is susceptible to camera shake. Camera shake occurs from the minute movements of your body as you hold the camera, and those movements are only amplified with you shoot with just one hand.
Heck, even shooting with two hands can still result in camera shake!
But, it's not always possible to have a tripod handy, so if you have to shoot handheld, at least give yourself a better chance of a sharp photo.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and angle one foot outward to increase stability.
Tuck your elbows into your chest, too, to help prevent your arms from moving as much as possible.
Then, get a firm grip with your right hand on the camera grip and place your left hand under the camera body as shown above.
This optimizes stability for the camera and will get you a sharper photo.
Don't Leave it in Auto Mode
If you're just learning how to take photos, shooting in auto mode is fine.
But if you have any appreciable time behind the lens, it's time to get out of full auto.
You can even ease your way into it, too.
Try shooting in aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode first.
These semi-automatic modes allow you to take control of some aspects of the camera settings while still getting help from the camera.
In aperture priority mode, you get to choose the aperture, and the camera selects a shutter speed to match.
That means you not only have more control over the exposure of the image, but you also get more control over the depth of field, like blurring the background of a portrait as seen above.
Likewise, in shutter priority mode, you get to pick the shutter speed, and the camera selects an aperture to match.
Again, this gives you more control over the exposure, but it also helps you control how movement appears in the image.
In both cases, you also get to choose the ISO setting, which allows you to control the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light.
Another mode to try is program mode.
Think of program mode as ISO priority mode, because it places the most importance on ISO.
So, you get to choose the ISO, and the camera selects an aperture and a shutter speed to match.
The neat thing, though, is that you can override the selections the camera makes in program mode.
That means it gives you even more control over how the image looks than aperture priority and shutter priority modes.
Program mode is also a great way to introduce yourself to taking full control over the exposure settings, which is great practice for eventually working in manual mode.
Though manual mode might sound scary, with practice, making changes to aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and other camera settings become second nature.
That's especially true if you take baby steps to get out of full auto mode.
Check out Program Mode in the video above by Easy Camera Lessons.
Bonus Tip: Don't Turn Your Camera On and Off
Though it might seem strange, constantly turning your camera on and off will kill the battery much faster than if you simply let it go to sleep.
That's because each time you cycle from off to on, the LCD, the sensor cleaner, and other electronics suck power out of the battery.
Instead, just let your camera go to sleep, and if you need to shoot again in quick order, simply wake it up.
You can determine how long your camera stays on, too, ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Check your camera's owner's manual for specific instructions regarding how to change that setting.