Do You Want to Understand Your Frustrating Camera and Take Great Photos Today?

Logo

Watch this free video to...

  • End the frustration by adjusting just a few simple controls on your camera...
  • Make photography much easier, and look more professional too...
  • Remove all the complication & guesswork from using your camera...

Where should I send your video?

Your privacy is safe I will never share your information.

Do you want to understand your camera and take great photos today?

Yes Please

Cameras are complicated.

I remember when I bought my first DSLR, I was frustrated that I couldn’t just capture what I saw through my viewfinder.

It took a ton of trial and error, but I kept at it, and when I finally managed to work everything out, I started being able to capture some pretty spectacular images.

In this post, I want to share with you everything I’ve learned, so that you can learn from my mistakes, instead of learning from your own.

If you’re interested in learning how to understand your camera in just 10 minutes, click here to sign up for my free video training.

leaderboard

Lets get started…

Exposure

Learning how exposure works will help you to take control of your camera, and take better photos.

Aperture, shutter speed, ISO. They combine to create an exposure.

But as you’ll soon learn, they all affect more than just the exposure, such as depth of field, motion blur, and digital noise.

Once you understand how each work, then you can start diving into manual mode, and really taking that control back from your camera.

Aperture

Exposure happens in three steps, starting at the aperture, which is the hole inside the lens which the light passes through.

It’s similar to the pupil of your eye. The wider it is, the more light it allows in, and the narrower it is, the less light it allows in.

Simple? Not quite.

As the aperture widens, the f/number gets lower, and it allows more light into the camera.

Great for low light, but you have to be aware that it’s going to make the depth of field very shallow, which is bad when taking landscapes.

So there’s a bit of give and take, and I go into full detail about that in this post. Exposure will be much easier if you can memorise the f/stop scale.

The scale is as follows: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22.

Shutter Speed

Once the light has passed through the aperture of the lens, it then reaches the shutter, where you will decide how much of that light you would like into the camera.

Ordinarily, you only want a very small fraction of a second (for example 1/250), as you will want to prevent motion blur from appearing in your photos.

There are different shutter speed for different situations, anything from really fast (1/4000) for sports photography to really slow (30 seconds) for night photography.

It all depends on what you’re shooting and how much light you have available to you.

ISO

Once the light has passed through the aperture and been filtered by the shutter speed, it will then reach the sensor, where we decide upon the ISO.

As you turn the ISO number up, you increase the exposure, but at the same time, the image quality goes down. There will be more digital noise, or grain.

So you have to decide how you want to prioritise the exposure.

For example, I would reduce the image quality if it meant that I could prevent motion blur from appearing in my photo, as there’s no possible way to fix that in post (yet, at least).

Exposure Summary

Once you’ve understood aperture, shutter speed and ISO, it’s time to learn how each factor of exposure works together.

In this post you will learn about the ‘stop’ based system for measuring exposure.

But more importantly; how to prioritise the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for the best photo, every time.

Urban-Exploration-December-2012-134g-vintage12

Understanding Your Camera

Metering Modes

Rather awkwardly for beginners, exposure isn’t as simple as learning about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You also have to learn about how your camera looks at light.

Metering modes are there for telling your camera how you want it to look at a scene.

The photo below was taken on spot metering mode, but if you were to take the same photo using evaluative mode, you would likely end up with a completely different exposure.

This is also covered in my free video training.

Understanding this may just be the key to understanding why your photos are coming out underexposed.

Histograms

The histogram shows you a mathematic review of an exposure after you’ve taken it.

It essentially tells you how evenly exposed a photo is.

LCD screens aren’t very good at telling you this information because their effects are largely based on the ambient lighting conditions you’re in and the brightness of the screen itself.

That’s why this is such a powerful tool to utilise.

Shooting Modes

Full-Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Prioirty, Manual Mode… how do you know which one you should use?

There’s also a lot of misconceptions about which mode you should be using, for when, as well as a lot of bias towards people not using manual mode. When you understand what exactly each mode does, then it becomes a lot clearer which one you should be using.

This is also covered in my free video training.

Depth of Field

When you’re shooting in low light, you invariably have to widen your aperture to allow enough light into the lens, but this has one rather major side effect – shallow depth of field.

This can be used very creatively (often to excess), but it’s not all good. There are many situations, such as landscapes, where you’ll want to have a narrower aperture so that the whole scene is in focus.

This tutorial will walk you though everything you need to know about choosing the right aperture (and therefore depth of field) for the right situation.

White Balance

White balance is something I wish I’d learnt more about much sooner than I did, because I look back on some photos now and wonder what I was thinking.

The white balance changes the colour cast of the entire photo, and is responsible for the warmth of a photo.

It controls the colour cast, which can change your photo from looking blue to looking orange, from cold to warm.

Auto white balance doesn’t tend to do a particularly good job, particularly with tungsten light, so the sooner you learn how to control it yourself, the more accurate your photos will look.

This is also covered in my free video training.

Focal Length

Have you ever wondered what the ‘mm’ on your lens actually means?

Or why people use longer focal lengths for portraits?

It’s all discussed in this tutorial, as the focal length affects more than just the ‘zoom’, it also influences the perspective too.

I cover which focal length you would want to use in different situations, as well as their possible side effects. It’s really a worthwhile read and one of my favourite tutorials to date.

Crop Factor

A lot of you may not realise it, but unless you spend about $2000 on your camera, then you’re more than likely going to be shooting on a crop sensor.

What the means is that your sensor is much smaller than professional SLR cameras, and that essentially crops the image.

This has a range of affects on your photos, as it’ll create a narrower viewing angle, and will influence your choice of lens purchases in the future.

Polarizing Filters

Polarizing filters only allow light into the lens from a certain direction.

This results in the removal of glare and reflections from non-metallic objects such as water and glass, and haze from the sky, which makes for more naturally saturated colours.

Not only does this look great, but it cannot be replicated in post production, which is why it’s so important to understand.

How to Take Professionally Sharp Images

In this tutorial I will walk you through the 10 step process of taking professionally sharp photos.

It covers everything from choosing the right aperture and shutter speed, to shooting in RAW.

It’s pretty easy to make just a couple small mistakes, which will result in less sharp images, and that’s why we cover all 10, in order of importance.

Keira Worthing-Edit-Edit

The Nifty Fifty

What can I say about the nifty fifty? What’s not to love? For those of you that don’t know, when I talk about the nifty fifty, I’m talking about the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens that can be picked up very cheap for most digital SLRs.

It’s a great introduction to buying better quality lenses, and an excellent way of getting to grips with aperture.

The article linked is a review and a guide, and I wrote it because I recommend this lens as the first upgrade that every beginner photographer should make. It’s easy to use, and for the price, will yield some excellent results.

Composition

It’s important to understand exposure, but if you can’t get to grips with basic composition, then you’ll struggle to take really good photos.

I’m not saying that you have to follow every compositional rule, but it helps to learn these rules so they can help guide you to take better photos.

Rule of Thirds

This is probably the first compositional rule that any photographer comes across, and that’s for a very good reason – it’s simple and it works.

The basic premise is that you divide your camera’s frame up into thirds and plant key objects in these lines, and the composition will work better.

This often works really well and if you’ve not learnt much about photography yet – it’s a great way of dramatically improving your photos and making them more interesting.

Visual Weight

Visual weight is different to size or weight as we know it, it’s all about what we’re drawn to when we look at a photo.

When you understand visual weight, you’ll start to understand how people look at photos, and how you can position certain elements in a frame to direct the viewers attention to where you want them to look.

It’s no so much a tool, or a rule, as it is an understanding.

Triangles

Triangles are in almost everything we see, in one way or another, it’s just a case of distinguishing them and knowing what to do with them.

They make great compositional tools as they’re easy to make, manipulate, and are remarkably common.

They are also a great way of combining different compositional techniques such as lines and paths and using them to create a more interesting part of a photograph.

And you can even use them to make a photo feel stable or unstable.

Eye-Lines

If you take photos of people, then you take photos with eye lines, so it’s important to understand the affect that they have over how we view photos.

Eye-lines have the ability to focus our attention on a particular part of the photo, as well as producing tension and other photographic elements.

Although they’re not physical lines, they can be used as such to produce different elements, such as triangles and vertical lines.

Balance

Balance in a photo has a big affect on how we feel when we look at the photo, as an unbalanced photo can make us feel uneasy, where as a balanced photo, will make us feel more relaxed.

It really doesn’t matter whether you choose to make the photo balanced or unbalanced, but you should understand why you’ve chosen one or the other, and the affect that will have on your photo.

Again, it’s one of those situations where the more you know, the easier it will be to produce the desired effect.


So that’s a brief introduction to photography for beginners.

Of course, there’s tons more you can learn about photography, and I would encourage you to go and explore for yourself in my tutorial archive.

In the meantime though, if you’re looking to get started with some free premium training for photographers, then check out this video.

A Beginner’s Guide To Photography

Thank you for reading...

CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera.

It's my training video that will walk you how to use your camera's functions in just 10 minutes - for free!

I also offer video courses and ebooks covering the following subjects:

You could be just a few days away from finally understanding how to use your camera to take great photos!

Thanks again for reading my post!

Josh

I'm a self taught photographer from Brighton, England. I take a lot of photos and enjoy teaching my methods to anyone willing to learn- this is my blog, check out my video training & Google.

Related Posts