Monday, February 3, 2014

Fancy camera!? Now what? My lessons learned with my DSLR...

When you upgrade from your point an shoot camera to your first DSLR camera, it can be a little intimidating for sure!  There are so many settings.  What do you do with them all!?  Luckily, they all come with an "Auto" mode, right?  But doesn't that defeat the purpose... at least just a little?  When my hubby bought our camera, I wasn't sold on the whole idea.... until I started playing with it.  Now I am addicted!  Now that we have several family and friends upgrading to, I wanted to share a few of my lessons learned along the way.... from a complete amateurs point of view!  Keep in mind, I am no professional :)

Don't be scared of Manual Mode!
I know it seems like a lot of confusing numbers, acronyms, and purposes, but I promise, learning how to shoot in Manual Mode is not all that hard!  Once you stat doing it, it becomes second nature... really!  Here are two guides that I found super helpful:

(1) The blog kevin & amanda has an amazing step by step guide on how to shoot in Manual called, Photography Tutorial: A Quick Guide to Understanding Your DSLR Camera
This guide is so easy to follow and will have you shooting manual in no time!

(2) Totally Rad has this phenomenal {very visual!} guide to help you understand the various manual settings!  Love this as a quick reference guide once you have already learned some of the basics! Get the full size version on their website here:

Look for the Light- Love the Light!
Taking pictures is all about finding the right light... or the right shade, or the right lighted shade!  You want to try and avoid harsh shadows and once your subject is in the shade, the lighting is consistent.  However, you don't want it to be too dark, you want that sunlight to be close by to give you that great natural light (artificial light is no-bueno apparently?!) without having direct light hitting you.  Some examples of my experimentations with different lights...

In the shade:
 In overcast weather...
 In the "Golden Hour"... the last hour before sunset...
 Oops!!  Lighting bummers... notice the harsh lines left by being partially shaded with some direct light!

The Rule of Thirds... Maybe?!
So there is this rule of thirds... it is suppose to help you when composing a picture.  The idea being that you chop the picture into thirds making the focus of your picture at those third marks {which also in effect makes the picture off balance}.  At first I wasn't so sure... but as I started shooting more and looking at more professional shots, I started to like this concept more and more... take a look!
 I kind of like the empty space you get when moving the focus over to that "third" mark, but at the same time my OCD kicks in a little bit wanting to re-center it all!  Yikes!

When you take pictures with you aperture "wide open" you can get this dreamy bokeh effect... meaning lots of blurring before and after your main focus.  It is dreamy and gives your picture that professional feel BUT beware!  If you are shooting with your aperture at f1.8, wide open (for example) it means that it is more likely that what you want to be in focus could very well get blurred into that beautiful bokeh background!  I love shooting with a wide open f, while my hubby just shudders (making it kind of hard to share the camera, lol!).  He wants to make sure everything is sharp and focused which is more difficult to do the more "wide open" you shoot!  Here are some tips from photoble, How to: 7 Quick Tips to Create Bokeh with Your Digital Camera.

Here are some of my attempts on this one, but you may want to refer to some professional shots for this, lol!

Get Inspired!!
The more pictures I take, the more inspiration I want for new styles, compositions, and view points.  I follow many of my favorite professional photographers through facebook for their brilliant eye and ideas.  I am also a self proclaimed Pinterest Junkie!!  I made a board, Memory Making {& Everything Camera!}, so that I can save inspirations, tutorials and all the brilliant ideas I come across!  Get inspired and shoot from there!

Are you an amateur photographer with some great "aha" moments?  I'd love to hear them!

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