PART 4: UNDERSTANDING YOUR CAMERAS CONTROLS

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WHAT DO ALL THESE CONTROLS DO ON MY NEW CAMERA?

SO, HERE WE ARE NOW, PART 4 IN THE SERIES OF HOW TO GO FROM A BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHER TO A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER.  AND YOU HAVE JUST BOUGHT THE CAMERA, LEARNED ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT LIGHT IS IN PHOTOGRAPHY, AND NOW YOU HAVE PULLED THE CAMERA OUT OF YOUR BOX, YOUR NEW DSLR, AND YOU HAVE ALL THESE CONTROLS IN FRONT OF YOU.  

DURING THIS EPISODE, I PLAN ON GOING OVER THE DETAILS OF THE CAMERA CONTROLS, BUT NEXT TIME, I WILL GO OVER WHAT THEY DO, AND WHY YOU USE THOSE CONTROLS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.  SO, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE FIRST:

CAMERA CONTROL

ALL CAMERAS ARE DIFFERENT, BUT MOST OF THE CAMERAS ON THE MARKET HAVE THE ABOVE CONTROL IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER.  IT MAY NOT BE A DIAL LIKE YOU SEE PICTURED ABOVE, IT MAY BE THE NEW DIGITAL READOUT AND YOU HAVE TO TURN A DIAL TO GET TO THE DESIRED EFFECT.  BUT THE IDEA IS THE SAME.  LET’S GO OVER THE ABOVE CONTROLS AND WHAT THEY MEAN:

  • AUTOMATIC MODE:  THIS IS PROBABLY THE PLACE YOU SHOOT THE MOST AS A NEW PHOTOGRAPHER.  THE CAMERA JUST USES A COMPUTER OF SORT AND PICKS THE BEST SETTINGS BASED ON THE LIGHT AND DARK IT SEES IN THE VIEWFINDER AND GIVES YOU THE BEST EXPOSURE.  IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FOCUS (USUALLY).
  • PORTRAIT MODE:  TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THE ICON ON THE DIAL.  IT IS TELLING YOU THAT THIS IS APPROXIMATELY WHAT THE HEAD SIZE SHOULD IN YOUR VIEWFINDER IF YOU ARE TAKING PORTRAITS.  PORTRAIT 1 I MENTION THAT BECAUSE PORTRAITS ARE OF HEAD SHOTS, NOT THE COMPLETE BODY SHOTS.  COMPLETE BODY SHOTS STILL WORK FAIRLY WELL, BUT THE ICON SHOWS IT TO BE HEAD SHOTS, AND THAT IS IT’S BEST WAY TO SHOOT WITH THIS.
  • MACRO MODE: OR CLOSE-UP MODE:  THIS IS DESIGNED, IF YOU HAVE A CLOSE-UP LENS, TO DO CLOSE-UP PHOTOGRAPHY.  FB_IMG_1441174837823-1501649209229-1503028978317 IF YOU ARE TRYING TO DO A CLOSE-UP PHOTO, WITHOUT A CLOSE-UP LENS, THIS WILL PROBABLY NOT WORK AS WELL AS YOU WOULD HOPE, SO KEEP THAT IN MIND, THAT IT IS MEANT TO BE USED WITH SPECIAL LENSES.
  • LANDSCAPE MODE:  DESIGNED TO DO JUST THAT:  TAKE PHOTOS OF LANDSCAPES OR SCENERY PHOTOS.  CAN YOU TAKE PHOTOS OF PORTRAITS ON LANDSCAPE PHOTOS?  IT WON’T TURN OUT WELL. TRAVEL 11 JUST REMEMBER THAT THIS DIAL IS DESIGNED TO GIVE YOU THE OPTIMUM PICTURE CLARITY FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTO YOU ARE TAKING.
  • SPORTS MODE:  DESIGNED FOR YOU TO TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR KIDS OR SOMEONE WHEN THEY ARE RUNNING FAST, MOVING FAST, THE DRIVER IS DRIVING FAST, AND IT WILL STOP ACTION. SPORTS PHOTO IT TRULY IS DESIGNED TO STOP ACTION AND GIVE YOU AMAZING PHOTOS OF PEOPLE IN ACTION.
  • NIGHT PORTRAIT:  EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS, TAKING PORTRAITS AT NIGHT TIME.  IN MOST CASES, IF YOUR CAMERA HAS BUILT-IN FLASH, IT MAY POP UP TO MAKE IT ALL WORK OUT. NIGHT PORTRAIT IF YOU WANT IT TO USE NATURAL LIGHT, YOU MAY NEED TO USE A TRIPOD.   NIGHT PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY IS NICE, BUT THOSE PRECAUTIONS NEED TO BE WATCHED OUT FOR.

OK, LET’S LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DIAL:

 

  • PROGRAM MODE:  VERY SIMILAR TO AUTOMATIC MODE, BUT, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, MOST CAMERA MANUFACTURES, USE AN “AI” SYSTEM OF SOME KIND IN THIS TO DETERMINE EXACTLY WHAT TYPE OF PHOTO THAT YOU ARE TAKING.  IT STILL IS SIMILAR TO AUTOMATIC, BUT, JUST MORE SOPHISTICATED, AND WILL PICK THE BEST SHUTTER SPEED AND APERTURE FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTO THAT YOU APPEAR TO BE TAKING.
  • Tv MODE: OR SHUTTER PRIORITY MODE:  NOW WE ARE GETTING INTO YOU KNOWING WHY YOU WOULD PICK CERTAIN SHUTTER SPEED SETTINGS ON YOUR CAMERA.  IN THIS MODE, YOU WOULD PICK THE ACTUAL SHUTTER SPEED SETTING, ANYWHERE FROM 1/2000 OF A SECOND TO THE “B” SETTING.  THE APERTURE IN YOUR CAMERA WILL ADJUST AUTOMATICALLY ACCORDING TO WHAT SHUTTER SPEED YOU SET. SHUTTER SPEED NOW THERE IS A LIMIT THAT THE APERTURE CAN GO, DEPENDING ON THE LIGHT AVAILABLE AND THE LENS APERTURE LIMITATIONS.  SO, THIS WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO UNDERSTAND, AND WE WILL COVER THE REASON FOR SHUTTER SPEEDS AND APERTURES IN OUR NEXT LESSON OR EPISODE.
  • Av OR APERTURE PRIORITY:  THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE SHUTTER SPEED SETTING, AND FOR THE MORE ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER WHO UNDERSTANDS WHAT AND WHY YOU WOULD PICK CERTAIN APERTURES ON YOUR CAMERA OR LENSES. APERTURE EXAMPLES BUT WE WILL ALSO GO OVER IN GREAT DETAIL WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SET THE APERTURE AT CERTAIN SETTINGS IN OUR NEXT EPISODE OR LESSON.  ALSO REALIZE THAT AS YOU SET THE APERTURE, THAT THE SHUTTER SPEED WILL ADJUST AUTOMATICALLY TO WHAT APERTURE YOU SET TO GET THE PROPER EXPOSURE.
  • MANUAL EXPOSURE:  AND THIS IS WHERE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY INSTRUCTOR WANTS YOU TO SHOOT ALL THE TIME WHEN YOU GO TO COLLEGE.  HE OR SHE WANTS YOU TO TOTALLY UNDERSTAND HOW TO SET YOUR OWN SHUTTER SPEEDS, AND APERTURE SETTINGS, AND DO EVERYTHING MANUALLY.  THIS IS WHERE YOU WOULD SET IT.  ONCE AGAIN, PART 5 WILL GO INTO GREAT DETAIL OF HOW TO USE YOUR CAMERA IN MANUAL MODE, OR HOW TO TOTALLY UNDERSTAND SHUTTER SPEEDS, AND APERTURE SETTINGS SO YOU CAN USE THIS CAMERA TO IT’S MAXIMUM POTENTIAL.
  • AUTO DEPTH OF FIELD:  NOT SOMETHING YOU WILL SEE IN EVERY CAMERA, BUT, THIS PHOTO SHOWS THAT.  AND IT MEANS THAT IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY PICK THE BEST APERTURE FOR WHAT TYPE OF PHOTO YOU ARE TAKING.  PERSONALLY, ONCE YOU HAVE LEARNED HOW TO USE YOUR CAMERA MANUALLY, I DON’T THINK YOU WOULD USE THAT MODE VERY MUCH.
  • FLASH OFF:  AND THAT IS FOR WHEN YOU WANT TO DO EXPOSURES AT NIGHT TIME AND TO TRY TO KEEP YOUR BUILT-IN FLASH FROM POPPING UP AUTOMATICALLY.  SOMETIMES YOU JUST WANT TO HAVE YOUR PHOTOS TURN OUT WITHOUT THE FLASH.  THE PICTURES MAY SEEM MORE NATURAL WITHOUT THE FLASH, AND THAT IS WHERE YOU WOULD TURN IT OFF.

CAMERA CONTROL 2

MORE OF THE NEWER CAMERAS WILL HAVE THIS KIND OF DISPLAY NOW, INSTEAD OF THE DIAL.  BUT IT ALL COMES OUT THE SAME.

OTHER CONTROLS YOU MAY HAVE:

  • AUTOFOCUS ON AND OFF:  THERE ARE TIMES, WHEN YOUR LENS JUST HAS A HARD TIME FOCUSING, AND YOU WILL FIND THAT YOU CAN TURN IT OFF AND JUST FOCUS IT YOURSELF.  LOOK FOR THAT CONTROL CLOSE TO YOUR LENS OR ON YOUR LENS.
  • ISO SETTING:  THIS IS A CONTROL THAT YOU SET FOR THE AMOUNT OF LIGHT TO HIT THE SENSOR IN YOUR CAMERA.  THE HIGHER THE NUMBER, THE MORE SENSITIVE YOUR CAMERA IS TO LOW LIGHT.  HOWEVER, THE HIGHER THE NUMBER, THE MORE GRAINIER YOUR PHOTOS, TOO.  SO, YOU WILL NEED TO LEARN IT’S GOOD POINTS AND BAD POINTS OF CHANGING THE ISO SETTING.  WE WILL COVER THAT ALSO IN PART 5.
  • SELF TIMER MODE:  THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO RUN AROUND AND GET IN YOUR OWN PICTURE. SELF TIMER  USUALLY THE SETTING IS FOR 10 SECONDS.  SOME CAMERAS HAVE A 2 SECOND SETTING AS WELL, AND THAT IS FOR THOSE WHO ARE USING IT FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP TRIPOD WORK.  USING IT IN THE 2 SECOND MODE, ON A TRIPOD ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR A REMOTE CONTROL.
  • WHITE BALANCE:  MOST CAMERAS SET THE WHITE BALANCE AUTOMATICALLY, BUT, THE MORE SOPHISTICATED CAMERAS MAY HAVE A WHITE BALANCE SETTING ON THEIR CAMERAS.   THIS WOULD BE USED FOR SETTING THE CAMERA UP TO MAKE SURE IT UNDERSTANDS WHAT IS WHITE WITH THE EXISTING LIGHT THAT YOU HAVE.  AND THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE USED WHEN YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING.  ALWAYS DIFFICULT WHEN YOU GET INVOLVED WITH DIFFERENT LIGHTING TYPES IN BUILDINGS THAT MAY HAVE FLUORESCENT, AND TUNGSTEN, AND OTHER STRANGE LIGHT BULBS ALL HAVING DIFFERENT COLOR TEMPERATURES INVOLVED.  IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLES WITH THE COLOR OF YOUR SUBJECTS COMING OUT WITH GOOD COLOR, THEN THIS IS  CONTROL YOU MAY NEED TO BE INVOLVED WITH.

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SO, BE EXCITED FOR PART 5 COMING UP IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, BECAUSE WE WILL GET INVOLVED IN GREAT DETAIL THE REASON FOR LEARNING ALL THE THINGS ABOUT YOUR CAMERA’S DIFFERENT MODES, AND WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH IT.  THEN PHOTOGRAPHY WILL REALLY BECOME FUN.

 

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