Using a DSLR camera for the first time can be pretty overwhelming, making the camera seem like the most complicated thing ever. Most beginners start with the Auto mode for practicing their composition skills. But as everyone knows, if you want to take amazing photos like a professional photographer, you need to start using the Manual mode. We’re going to show you how to maximize your digital camera settings to start shooting like a pro today!
Configuring your Settings in Manual Mode
Once you’ve switched to Manual mode, choose the image format you’d like your images to be saved in. If you don’t intend on post-processing your images, JPEG will suffice. However, RAW format is usually preferred by photographers since the images will retain maximum detail and more color information. There are other types of image formats, but JPEG and RAW are the most commonly used. Whichever format you use will depend on what you are shooting, how much detail and image information you require, and your available memory card storage space. You’re almost ready to shoot! The next step is to adjust your white balance. This allows you to control the color of your images in the present lighting. With the proper white balance setting, anything that is white in an image will appear truly white, while other colors within the image will also appear accurate. Every camera from Beachcamera.com has a number of preset white balance settings. But it also pays to learn how to adjust it to your own custom setting.
The Big 3
Since you’re now in Manual mode, you’ll have to start manually adjusting the three most important camera settings. The aperture, shutter speed, and ISO—to ensure that you get the desired exposure.
This refers to the size of the space or opening of the camera’s lens through which light enters. Adjusting the aperture determines how small or how large this opening will be, which will affect your shot’s exposure. The aperture is measured by numerical values called f-stop values: the smaller the number, the larger the opening—and vice versa.
Your camera’s shutter speed refers to the amount of time that the shutter is open and the camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Fast shutter speeds are normally used to freeze action. Slow shutter speeds are used to create motion blur with moving subjects. The latter is also great for night photography or low-light situations.
The ISO refers to the sensor’s sensitivity to the light that enters the camera’s lens. A higher ISO setting means your sensor is more sensitive to light, allowing you to capture well-exposed images in low-light conditions without needing to use a flash. Conversely, a lower ISO setting means your sensor is less sensitive to light—which is perfectly fine if there is adequate lighting. Professional photographers recommend sticking to a lower ISO setting, or the “Base ISO” setting of your camera, when shooting in well-lit or fair lighting conditions. Higher ISO settings tend to add grain or noise to your images.Together, these three settings determine a photo’s level of exposure. They can all be adjusted on the LCD screen menu of your Canon DSLR from Beachcamera.com or by using shortcut knobs or dials on the camera body.
Remember that there is no magic formula when it comes to Manual settings. You’ll have to tweak them as you go, depending on what you’re shooting and the lighting conditions you’re working with.