My Life as a Photographer’s Daughter – And How That Helps You Taking Better Shots

It seems that everyone owns a digital SLR camera nowadays. Which is great, because there is so much more possible with a good camera than a simple point-and-shoot or camera phone. But I also hear the same people say that they find their camera’s quite complicated and that they use the ‘auto’ setting almost all the time. What a shame!

Luckily, the people that I know owning a SLR are also serious about learning more about their cameras and photography in general. With so many Social Media sites around, who doesn’t want to share some amazing self-shot photos?

Learning the basics

I’ve always been interested in photography and we always had a lot of camera’s lying around the house. Not only because my dad used them for his work, but he also loves to collect them. Sometimes I would go with my dad to some of his photo shoots. No, I didn’t get to see any super models, as he was an archaeologist (now retired) and therefore mostly shot excavations and artefacts, but it was cool nonetheless. My dad used to teach me about exposure, lighting, types of lenses and what not and we had dozens of books full of formulas and tips of creating the perfect shot. So I guess with me having this blog now, it’s is a good moment to pass on all the knowledge to the next person. And that’s you!

Different Camera Modes

Before you start shooting away, there are some basic things you need to understand about photography. Yeah, the technical stuff isn’t the most exciting, but let me keep it short and painless by starting with the different camera modes. There are different levels of ‘freedom’ in shooting photos, it’s all about how much you want to camera decide for you and how much input you want to give yourself.

  • Auto Mode (usually a green camera icon or green rectangle)

You don’t have any control over the camera, it will take the most average settings for the scene you’re shooting.

  • Pre-set modes such as: Portrait (head icon), Macro (flower icon), Landscape (mountain icon), Sports (runner icon) and Night (head with star icon)

These modes can steer you in the right direction if you don’t want to do any manual work.

  • Semi-automatic modes such as Aperture priority‘ (‘A’ or ‘AV’), Shutter Speed priority (‘S’ or ‘TV’) and Program mode (‘P’).

You have some input and the camera will select matching settings for it. Later we’ll go into what they all do exactly.

  • Manual Mode

The only mode in which you are totally free to change all settings. It is flexible, but you have to know a little about what you’re doing to make the shot come out right. I’ll show you how in next episodes of this series.

Ok, so this week I’m keeping it real simple as I’ve been talking about myself too much and don’t want this post to get too long. But getting to know the settings on your camera is a really important part of photography, so it’s a good place to start. Have a look at your own camera this week and look up any settings that you don’t understand yet. Take test photos with the different settings and see how it changes your photograph. Next time, I will be talking a bit more about what is needed to expose a picture right and how aperture, ISO and shutter speed help you do that.

Do you own an (digital) SLR? Did you feel scared using it for the first time?

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