You got a new camera for Christmas but you don’t know how it works.
This is not unusual since today’s digital cameras are more like computers than film cameras ever were. The good news is that today’s digital cameras are very smart and will usually create a great image as long as we do a couple basic things to help.
The first thing to master is keeping the camera as steady as possible while taking a photo. If you can minimize any camera movement the images will be sharper and more in focus. The very best way to do this is to use a tripod with every photo you take.
This of course requires a great deal of dedication, to be willing to take a tripod with you everywhere you go. Not to mention the extra weight and hassle that goes along with a tripod. So needless to say there aren’t many of us that are willing to do this. A second option is to use a monopod, or essentially one third of a tripod.
Monopods are less bulk, less weight and still do a fine job of steadying your camera. They are more compact, thus easier to transport, not to mention less expensive as well. If you are the outdoor type and enjoy taking your camera with you on hikes through the country side it can also double as a hiking stick. Another way to steady your camera is to take advantage of your surroundings. Look for something to lean against or set your camera on such as a tree, light pole, guard rail or even a bench. Anything to help steady you will steady your camera as well.
When hand holding your camera be sure support the camera with one hand and use the other to operate the controls. Bring your elbows in close to your body to create a support for the camera. Use the optical viewfinder if your camera has one. This too will bring the camera in close to your body making it easier to use and to keep steady.
The second thing to take full advantage of is the 2 stage shutter button. Light pressure activates the cameras systems allowing it to focus on the subject and meter the light.
If light pressure is maintained this will allow you the freedom to reframe your composition without changing the exposure or the focus. It will also take the picture the moment you press it down completely, eliminating annoying shutter lag. It will take a little practice to get used to the right amount of pressure to make it all work, but once you do you will find it a joy to use.
Remember, our cameras are probably smarter than we are when it comes to f/stops and shutter speeds and that gives us the freedom to put our efforts into our subjects and composition. In other words allowing us to be the very best photographers we can be.
Enjoy the new camera and don’t be afraid of it. Think of it as a good friend that likes to be used!
Till next time. Steve