Put the camera in RAW mode
Customize your preferred AF mode
Set the back button AF
Create custom shooting modes
If you’re like me, the first thing you do when you get a new camera (or any new toy) is to start to mess around with it. I bypass the owner’s manual, forget about getting things setup correctly, and just start clicking away.
Finding yourself in the enviable position of having a nice, new camera should involve a bit more learning, however. Have a look at three essential things to do the minute you open up the box and lay eyes on your camera for the first time.
Read the Manual
Let’s face it - reading owner’s manuals are boring. And the voluminous size of a camera’s owner’s manual doesn’t inspire one to sit down and have a nice, long read.
Nevertheless, no matter how many cameras you’ve owned, no matter how much experience you have in photography, having a quick read of the owner’s manual can’t do any harm. Regardless of how much research you did before deciding on which make and model to purchase, the chances are that you haven’t yet learned all there is to know about this particular camera. So, bite the bullet, sit down with your new camera, and leaf through the manual at the very least. Doing so might clue you in on a new feature that you otherwise would know nothing about.
Give the Settings a Once-Over
Your new camera will come shipped to you with typical settings already established. Before you take your new toy for a spin, it’s recommended that you go through the various settings and set them to the specifications you like. Granted, there are many settings that you might never use. Then again, there are some that you will use on a daily basis, and if you take the time to calibrate them to your liking, you’ll save a lot of time and frustration down the line.
A few settings to consider:
Though it isn’t all that fun to scroll through menu after menu and customize your settings, the freedom you’ll enjoy afterward when you don’t have to worry about making those adjustments will be worth it!
Take It for a Test Drive
Just like when you’re shopping for a new car, you want to take your new camera out and make sure that everything works as it should. Now that you’ve read the manual, established your settings, and are more familiar with your new device, you can test it out more thoroughly.
On your test drive, use every feature, every button, and explore every menu. The point is to put the camera through its paces and ensure that absolutely every feature and function works as it should. The subject matter you photograph doesn’t really matter here, so long as you can put your camera to the test in typical conditions. Then, inspect the images on your computer when you get home. Check for things like dust on the sensor, flare, hot pixels, and other issues that might indicate a problem with the camera.
There are plenty of other steps to take when you get a new camera, but these three steps will get you off on the right foot, with improved knowledge of your camera that will lead to improved pictures. The more you know how to use it, the more opportunities you will have to take awesome photos!