Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting Re-acquainted With Your Camera

I have recently came across Improve Photography's: 22 Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Photography Forever blog/post and loved it! It's very first action on the list is "Learn every function your camera is capable of performing"

Great tip! I am no professional when it comes to photography and over the last few years I have gone from having limited knowledge of my SLR camera to pretty much mainly using the automatic setting or the pre-set modes. So Improve Photography's post has inspired me to get re-acquainted with my camera and learn all it's functions. I hope you will learn along with me.

My camera is a Cannon ESO 400D. Your camera may be different to mine but the main ideas should be similar.

In this post I will touch on your pre-set modes because it is good to have a thorough knowledge of these before we move on to more technical stuff :-) So we are talking about from the fully automatic setting and down. In the basic modes, most functions are set automatically and cannot be changed to prevent spoiling shots.


Fully Automatic- In this mode, all of the automatic focus points will operate which allows the camera to easily and automatically focus on your subject making the picture clear. To activate the automatic focus just hold the shutter button half way down, then fully down to take the picture.

Portrait Mode- Blurs the background to make the human subject stand out. It also makes the flesh tones and hair look softer then in the Fully Automatic mode. The further the distance between the human and the background the more the background will look blurred. The subject will stand out better in front of a plain, dark background. If you have a zoom lens use the telephoto end. If you hold the shutter button down, you can shoot continuously to capture different facial expressions or poses.

Landscape Mode- This mode can be used for wide scenery, night scenes and to have everything in focus from near to far. This mode disables the built-in flash and blues and greens also become more vivid and sharp then with the Fully Automatic mode. If you have a zoom lens, use the wide-angle end as it will add breadth to landscapes. As this mode disables the built-in flash it makes it great for night scenes, but you should consider using a tripod to prevent camera shake.

Close-up Mode- When you want to photograph small things up close use this mode and to make small things appear much larger, use a macro lens. Use a simple background to make the flower etc stand out better. Move as close as possible to the subject and if you have a zoom lens use the telephoto end.

Sports Mode- To photograph a moving subject use this mode and use the telephoto end of the zoom (if applicable) so you can shoot from afar. Use the centre Automatic Focus point and press the shutter button halfway, before pressing it all the way down to take the picture. While holding the button down the continuous shooting and automatic focusing will be functioning.

Night Portrait Mode- This mode is best used for shooting someone at night and obtain a natural-looking exposure in the background. Best used with the zoom set to the wide-angle end and a tripod or the self timer. Keep the person within 5 meters from the camera as the flash will activate to obtain a good exposure of the person.

And finally the Flash Off Mode- This is used in places where flash photography is prohibited or candlelight scenes when you want to obtain the candlelight effect. If your subject is a person under low light, they must stay still or they will look blurred in the picture. Under low light the camera is prone to camera shake so you could use a tripod or if you have a zoom lens use the wide-angle end to reduce blur.
Ok, I want to admit that I got confused when I was reading about the telephoto and wide-angle end of the zoom lens so I did some research (good ol Google) and I found this definition:
"A zoom lens has a zoom range within which you can adjust the zoom. When they say end, they are referring to either end of the zoom range - the point after which you can turn the zoom control no further in that direction."
  • Zoomed all the way "in" = telephoto end of the zoom range
  • Zoomed all the way "out" = wide end of the zoom range
Someone also adds: "the intended meaning is at or near the actual end. Like the "deep end of the pool" -- it doesn't mean right up against the edge, but the whole area near the that end."
*Most of my information is coming from my Cannon Instruction Manual. :-)

Any questions: please be aware that I am learning along just like you, so I will do my best to answer any questions if I know the answer or by doing some research.

Do you have any tips or information on the pre-set modes that you would like to share?

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