If you’re a beginning photographer, it’s probable that you’ve heard the phrase “start in auto.” DSLR cameras are programmed to select what are thought to be the ideal shooting settings (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) in fully automated mode based on information from the camera’s sensors and what it determines you’re trying to focus on. Generally speaking, the objective is to transition from automatic to entirely manual mode, however this transition need not be abrupt.

Aperture priority mode and shutter priority mode are the two rungs that the majority of DSLR cameras provide to let you ascend to fully manual. Your DSLR’s dial will display A or Av for aperture priority; in this mode, you have control over the aperture while the camera chooses the shutter speed on its own. The photographer now uses one of the most effective photographic tools: Aperture makes the difference between charmingly blurred or unappealingly flat portraits, as well as sharp or fuzzy landscapes. On the other hand, imagine you want to photograph a track meet but are having trouble finding the appropriate settings. On your camera’s dial, shutter priority mode could be labeled as Tv mode or AE (auto exposure). When shooting in shutter priority mode, you control the shutter speed, which would need to be very fast to stop a runner in mid-run, for example. The camera takes care of the rest.

The highest level of shooting freedom is manual mode, but if you’re not quite there, try these two intermediate options.

We photographers appear to be unaware of the limitations of SD cards until we are unexpectedly faced with the effects. While there are times when drastic procedures (typically pricey recovery software) will retrieve those corrupted files, there are also situations when your photos and labor of love are simply lost, the memory cards used in DSLR cameras always have a potential of failing when you need them the most.

In order to avoid this, reformatting a memory card is a wise preventative measure. By doing this, all data on the card is deleted. Cards can be easily reformatted while in your camera, and it is recommended that you do so if any of the following situations arise: the existing files have been safely backed up elsewhere, and you are confident that nothing still on the card is needed; you are about to start a new shoot; your camera is reporting errors for the card, or you have another reason to believe it is not working properly; or you have been using the card for some time without formatting. Feel free to perform this frequently as SD cards can resist hundreds or even thousands of reformatting operations. Just remember to regularly verify the contents of the card in your camera’s preview to be sure no priceless memories are likely to be lost forever.

Pressing the circular shutter button to snap a picture is lesson one in photography 101, correct? It’s possible that some novice DSLR users are unaware that activating helpful focusing aids requires only a half-press of the shutter button. Your make and model will determine what features are built into the camera automatically and what must be configured in the settings, but DSLR cameras from major manufacturers have the ability to lock in the focus when the shutter button is held halfway down. This implies that if you fixate on something—like your puppy, for example—it will stay in focus even if it travels around the frame. When the button is fully depressed, a picture will be taken; when it is released, the focus lock will be released.

Any fluid and unexpected shooting situations, such as those in wildlife and sports, benefit from this feature. The automatic focus would presume you wish to focus on the closer subject if, while watching a basketball game, a different player entered the screen and moved closer to you. If your player was in sharp focus, you could take a picture of them while the player in closer proximity was out of focus. You can take pictures in rapidly changing situations with more depth and interest by using a DSLR’s subject tracking functions, even if your subject isn’t in the center of the frame.

As a photographer, there isn’t much that will wear you out more than scrolling through thousands of photos with slight differences in post-processing. It takes time and effort to sort through the few hazy smudges here and the ill-timed blink there. Most processors, including Lightroom, offer the choice to assign a rating to your photographs during culling (on a scale of one to five stars, in the case of Lightroom and most others). This is useful, for instance, if you have to submit 20 prime photographs for a project and must obtain 20 five-star images, but you also want a group of four-star backups in case extra options are required. You may then sort or filter the photographs based on the ratings, which is a very helpful structure.

You could find that it’s simpler to identify the standout shots during bursts of shooting than the less impressive ones. You can apply ratings immediately in the camera on the majority of DSLRs, so you could take a little break now and again to rate your heck-yeahs and absolutely-nots. It might also be beneficial to show your customer the images while they are still at the shoot and allow them to select their favorites by giving them a five-star rating, depending on your personal preferences and the style of photography you perform.


Okay, so it should go without saying that you cannot scuba dive with an unprotected DSLR, and the majority of us are not going to invest several thousand dollars in the best underwater housing for our cameras. However, it’s still wise to take safeguards for when (but hopefully not if) things go wrong if you engage in even a small bit of risky photography, such as when you’re out on boats, beaches, rock climbing, hiking, or simply just outside.

Check the new straps for reliability and security many times before using them on your camera. Because the area provided by the strap anchor is too small for some cameras, the metal clasp cannot fully close through the opening, making your camera drop-prone. Have lens hoods and polarizers on hand at all times if you shoot outside throughout the day. These items won’t completely shield your lens from serious hits, but they can help shield the glass from light to moderate impacts, scratches, moisture from ocean spray, and sand and blowing debris. Last but not least, a rain cover will assist shield your camera from costly water damage caused by rain, while being a bulky and somewhat inconvenient item to carry. safer to be safe than sorry!


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