Many of you who might have bought a DSLR might be quite intimidated by the various dials and the buttons present on it and the thick manual.
It is very tempting to just put the manual down and click on the Auto and begin to shoot. However, those who crave to get some creative control over their photographs might like to look through these easy steps to take great pictures.
You will find the shooting modes, such as Auto, AV, P, M and others, but each one makes the camera behave differently. For instance, if you select the Auto mode, you cannot control the aperture or the shutter speed or the exposure, as the camera does all this for you, whereas AV, P, M and others give you more control.
Various manufacturers might use different abbreviations, but the functions are similar. If you select AV or A, you are actually selecting aperture priority, which is a semi automatic mode. You can set the aperture and the camera will select the shutter speed. When the aperture is larger, more light is allowed to pass through and it is usually indicated by f/2.0; f/2.8 and so on. When the number is smaller, the aperture is bigger and more light enters the camera. Controlling aperture is very important, as it influences the depth of field or the area of the picture in focus.
By selecting this mode, you again go into the semi automatic mode, but here you can set the shutter speed and the camera looks after the aperture. When you keep it open for a longer time, more amount of light passes through the sensor. For fast moving objects, it would be better to have a short speed, for instance, while shooting some sports action or wildlife and for blurring a moving object, say a waterfall, you can use a longer shutter speed.
This is also not a complete manual control, but you can set the shutter speed or the aperture speed, whereas the camera will adjust the exposure and this mode offers greater freedom to the photographer.
You can have complete control over the exposure, the aperture and the shutter speed. It is better to first begin with the aperture and shutter controls and then slowly move on to the manual mode, while trying to learn how to use your DSLR camera creatively.
It is measured from 100, which is a low sensitivity to 6400, which is high sensitivity. When the sensitivity is low, more light is needed to get a specific exposure, whereas at a high ISO sensitivity, less amount of light is needed for the same exposure. You can use a low ISO sensitivity, such as 100 or 200 in case of shooting on a bright sunny day when a lot of light is available for the sensor. However, if you are shooting in low light conditions or dark interiors, you need to select a high ISO of about 3200 to increase the sensitivity and increasing the light available for the exposed image. However, this will have the effect of increasing the fine grains on the image and reduce the quality of the image.
The Autofocus Single is best used for stationary subjects, buildings, landscapes and so on. The shutter is half pressed and when the focus is obtained and you can click on it. The Autofocus continuous is used for moving objects, like sports and for wildlife. The latest DSLRs offer more than 50 focus points, but it is better to decide what to focus on and make a selection rather than rely on the automatic focus point, by placing the correct focus point on the subject.
The above is just a brief overview making it easier to learn the steps to jump from the Auto to a manual mode and take greater control over your photos.