ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Technology»
  • Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets»
  • Portable Electronics»
  • Digital Cameras

How to use a Digital SLR Camera

Updated on November 7, 2012

Stepping up from using a compact point-and-shoot (P&S) camera to a Digital SLR (D-SLR) camera is a great move! With a D-SLR you'll have greater control over camera settings than with a compact camera. The learning curve is there, but you’ll be OK if you take things in strides.

The first thing that may pop out to you is how sophisticated and relatively large a D-SLR is, not to mention all those buttons. Sure, a D-SLR will have way more buttons than what a P&S would have, but the truth is that you don’t necessarily have to know how to use all these buttons and settings to start taking good shots. The combinations of D-SLR settings are in the hundreds. In fact, there are professional photographers who are either unaware or who don’t use particular features or settings, and they still take some of the most amazing photos. You don’t need to know everything about your camera to start taking great photos -- the aim as a new D-SLR user and amateur photographer should be to master the basics.

Setting the foundation

Getting comfortable with your camera is essential as well as understanding primary concepts about exposure (involving shutter speed and aperture), focus and framing. With that being said, one highly recommended thing to do -- which is also highly ignored -- is to pick up and read the D-SLR manual. No need to read everything, especially all at once, but at least turn or scroll (in the case of an e-manual) to sections about camera care and handling. There you will find instructions and precautions of how to properly hold your camera and lens, attaching and detaching a lens, how to protect your camera equipment and how best to store it when you’re not using them.

The photographer -- surveying the scene.
The photographer -- surveying the scene. | Source

Start taking photos!

Regardless of whatever brand D-SLR (whether Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony among others that) you use, there are certain features that are universal. Just out the box you can simply switch your dial to [Full Automatic] and start shooting. But if you only stick with that setting, then you’re not taking advantage of the extent of your D-SLR. You’ll basically be operating your camera as a regular compact camera, even though you’ll definitely produce high quality images. Nonetheless, as a new user, shoot in full auto and get comfortable with your camera. If you’re not so much for reading manuals – as most folk are – then you can start out by watching an introductory video for your specific model camera. Blue Crane, Lynda among others produce great tutorial videos for various D-SLR models. Besides, you can always head over to e-how and YouTube to view enlightening videos. It all depends on your style of learning, but the fact is that there is a wealth of material out there, even for free, to help you start your path into digital SLR photography.

Basic and Creative D-SLR Settings

You may have seen some of the following settings on a compact camera, and if you are already accustomed to using some of them, then you are already ahead on the game.

Settings to try out as a new user, along with [Full Automatic], can be classed within the BASIC ZONE include:

Flash off mode – similar to Full Auto, but it prevents your flash from firing.

Portrait mode – a preset for capturing appealing skin tones and a shallow depth of field from a wide as possible aperture for blurred backgrounds.

Landscape – is almost opposite to portrait mode, as the camera sets the aperture to be as narrow as possible to have a wide range of your subject in focus. Virtually none of your subject will be blurred in this mode.

Close-up (macro) mode – is great for taking photographs of small objects and creatures.

Sports mode – suited for moving subjects and fast paced scenes. Freeze the motion of your subject in this mode.

Night portrait mode – great mode for low light conditions in which your flash will be utilized.

Movie mode – is for making high definition videos with your D-SLR in this mode. There are a number of other sub-settings that can be adjusted to suit your video preference. Some D-SLR models may not have this mode, but it is being added to virtually all entry level D-SLRs.

There is another set of camera settings that are classed within the CREATIVE ZONE that include: Creative Auto - Program AE (Auto-Exposure), Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Auto depth of field and Manual. Try out these settings too, but know that to make the most out of these especially Manual, you’ll need some background understanding.

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." ~ Imogen Cunningham

Unleash your creativity

Books and multimedia all have their place to help you on your path of D-SLR photography, but nothing – absolutely nothing – can take the place of getting out there and taking photos. In fact, it's a great idea to go on photography adventures with fellow photographers. Use the techniques you’ve learnt, take many photos and of course – have fun! Nothing is wrong with taking bad photos. Actually many photographers confess to that fact. Unleash your creativity and don’t be bogged down with too much technical stuff. Use what you know and create!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)