Photography Guide Part 2: How to set up your camera

Learning how to set up your camera to get the best of your shots is key. Here is our guide with handy hints to ensure changing those settings work best for you.

19th May 2017
Getty

Learning to adjust the settings on your camera can take a little time, especially if you like to shoot lots of different subjects. To make things easier, here are four tips that will save you time so you can take more photographs inside of preparing for them.

The power of Av (or A) - It’s fun to play with the aperture size, ISO and shutter speed and see how they work together – and this is the way to improve the technical side of your photography.

However, there is an important short-cut that allows you to keep control of your image but also avoid spending crucial seconds or even minutes fiddling with settings. It’s time to make use of Av – aperture priority.

On the dial on the top or back of your camera, turn the knob to set it to Av. This means that whenever you change the aperture setting, your camera will select the best shutter speed to achieve correct exposure. So you only need to concentrate on setting the aperture, which makes the whole process of capturing a great image much simpler. If an image comes out too bright or too dark, you can adjust it with exposure compensation.

Exposure compensation - When you use Av and you’re taking an image that has strongly contrasting light levels within it, the camera may not correctly expose the image. For example, if you try to shoot a dark landscape and a pale sky, the whole image may appear too dark. To compensate for this, you need to adjust the exposure settings. Exposure compensation is found on most digital cameras, often indicated with a plus/minus sign and a sliding scale, usually ranging from -2.0 on the left to +2.0 on the right. Move this to + for a brighter image and – for a darker one.

Auto focus - You camera will probably allow you to focus manually – but why bother? The sensors are so good these days, you’ll be better off allowing the camera to automatically focus. This usually works as you half press the ‘take photo’ button.

Auto white balance (AWB) - Light has different colours and intensities at different times of the day or in artificial lighting. White balance compensates for this. However, let your camera do this automatically (the setting is AWB – auto white balance). A lot of professionals do the same!

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