- White Balance Explained for Beginner Photographers
- 10 Beginner Photography Tips and Camera Settings You Need to Know
I know what you're thinking...
Photography is all about taking your time, checking the corners of the frame, perfecting the lighting, and so forth.
And while I won't argue that those are important steps that require a slow, steady approach, there are plenty of others that require you to work fast.
In the video above by Photos in Color, Ed Gregory offers an overview of some essential photography tasks that you should be able to do lighting-fast.
Don't think these are things that just the pros should be able to do under 10 seconds, either...
Even if you're an amateur, every item mentioned in the video is important to master - and quickly!
Here's a quick run-down of some of the most important tasks.
Change a Battery Fast
You don't want to miss an important shot because your battery died, so practicing swapping out a dead battery for a fresh one is one of the first things you should do as a photographer.
When shooting, keep a fully charged battery in your pocket to facilitate a quick swap.
This is especially important if you're shooting video (which drains the battery faster) and if you're a Sony shooter (sorry, Sony's typically have terrible battery life!).
Swap Out the Lens
Not only is it important to be able to swap out a lens in 10 seconds or less so you don't miss a shot, but it's also important to do it quickly to prevent dust and dirt from getting inside your camera.
To facilitate a quick swap, have your next lens ready to go with the rear cap unscrewed (but not removed).
Then, remove the lens from your camera and place it glass-down on a table. Take the rear cap from the second lens and place it on the first.
Next, grab your new lens and mount it to your camera body, and you're done!
Editor's Tip: When swapping out lenses, keep your camera body pointed downward, that way dust in the air can't fall into the opening while there's no lens attached. Need a new lens? Save money and buy pre-owned glass. Find out how here.
Set the White Balance
Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have a white balance button that make setting the white balance much easier.
You can use it to set the white balance for the conditions in which you're shooting, like sunny, shade, and so forth.
You can often use the white balance button to set the white balance according to the Kelvin value, too.
The hardest part is actually learning about white balance and how to use it to improve your photos...
But as far as setting the white balance goes, practice using the white balance button so you can make quick adjustments when you shoot.
In many situations, the autofocus feature will work wonders for your photos.
But when autofocus fails, you need to know how to take control and focus the lens yourself - and fast.
Looking at your lens, you'll see a small switch on the side that's labeled AF-MF. Switch that to MF, and that gives you control over how the lens focuses.
Then it's just a matter of learning how to use the lens's focus ring to nail the focus of the shot.
Again, learning how to switch to manual focus is the easy part. Learning how to manually focus is what will require some practice.
Editor's Tip: Manual focus is especially handy when you're photographing the moon, the stars, and other celestial bodies. Get outfitted with all the astrophotography gear you need to take breathtaking photos of the night sky by clicking here.
Change the Shooting Mode
If you're still shooting in full auto mode, this step is going to be the most important for you.
Full auto is a great learning tool, but to begin to expand your skills and understanding of photography, you'll need to begin working toward shooting in manual mode.
Manual mode can be scary at first, but, again, with practice, you'll become much more comfortable.
Rather than diving right into manual mode, you can learn how to change the shooting mode to something like program mode, aperture priority mode, or shutter priority mode.
Each of these three modes is semi-automatic, so you control some settings and the camera retains control of others. In other words, it's a little less pressure because you aren't responsible for everything as you are in manual mode.
In program mode, you control the ISO and the camera controls the aperture and shutter speed. This is advantageous in low-light situations when you need to increase the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light.
As a bonus, in program mode, you can override the aperture and shutter speed the camera selects, which makes it a little more flexible than aperture or shutter priority.
In aperture priority mode, you control the aperture and the ISO, but the camera controls the shutter speed. This is helpful for portraits, when you want to blur the background with a large aperture opening.
In shutter priority mode, you control the shutter speed and ISO and the camera controls the aperture. This is a good setting to use when you want control over how movement is indicated in the shot, like using a fast shutter speed to freeze movement (as shown above) or a slow shutter speed to blur movement.
Check the Video for More Tips
This is just a smattering of the tasks you should be able to handle in 10 seconds or less...
For the complete list, be sure to check out the video at the beginning of this article.
Remember, the key isn't just to know how to make these changes and switches - it's to learn how to use them to create better photos.