Digital cameras offer a huge variety of different functions. It takes time to get to know exactly how to use a DSLR, but start with the tips below and you will find the rest follows easily.
1. Manual mode
While it may seem pointless, switching off auto mode will force you to learn how it works – and almost certainly achieve better results in the long run. If anything goes wrong, it will also be easier to spot the problem and sort it out.
2. Basic composition
As a photographer, it is important to have a good understanding of the basic rules of composition, such as the use of lines and the rule of thirds. What this does is encourage you to look at things differently – even when you are not taking a photo! Before long you will find your photos begin to really improve. Once you have these in the bag, why not try to forget them and work on some less obvious shots? Pushing the rule boundaries will keep your photos interesting and different.
Try using an external flash. You will find this proves much more flattering to your subject and images will look less ‘flat’, as natural shadows will not be eliminated.
Change your perspective regularly. Tripod shots are great, but why not use the floor or shoot your subject through a crowd for something a little more fun and fresh?
5. Get nearer
If you feel the need to use a zoom, why not simply move closer instead? Not only will this provide you with a new perspective (see above) but also it will also allow you to pick out the finer details that might otherwise be missed.
6. Think about your background
A messy, cluttered background can be incredibly distracting, no matter how perfect the foreground of a photo. Clean up the shot by moving the camera left or right a few degrees. Consider what the background can add to your shot – and whether it takes away from the subject. Look out for things such as branches, people, or other objects.
When working out your shot, look for something that could be used to provide a frame within a frame, such as a window or a doorway. This can help to add context, depth and interest to your images.
8. White balance
The horrible orangey colour that can sometimes be the result of shooting indoors is a bugbear for many serious photographers. Getting the white balance right is really important and will give your photos a much cleaner, professional look.
9. The histogram
If it is a really bright, sunny day and you are shooting outside, using the histogram will help you to determine your image exposure while on site rather than having to wait until you get home to see it properly. Although it appears complicated, it really isn’t. Having the skill to decipher what it means will improve your photography skills no end.
Learning any skill takes practice, of course. You can’t expect to be good at something without putting in some serious effort first!