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What the F*%k do I do with it?

Don’t throw your camera as much as you want to in the beginning. I promise it gets easier.
— Sami Anna

So you got a DSLR...Now what the F*&% do you do with it?

I remember how overwhelmed I was once I received my first Nikon D3200. It was so complicated and obsured that I kept it in the box for a week. You guys!! YouTube can teach you Fu*&ing everything! I sat on the couch with my camera and played YouTube videos while I played with the buttons. 

Tip#1: Just put it on Auto for a couple of weeks and play with it. Now Auto is a setting that photographers will never use once they figure out Manual Mode. Here is a picture when I used the Auto setting. Canon graciously saved you some embarrassment by calling the Auto button, Creative Auto (CA) and on a Nikon just calls Auto. 

This is a picture when the camera is in auto. It over exposed and F^%$ing ugly.

This is a picture when the camera is in auto. It over exposed and F^%$ing ugly.

When the Camera is in Auto it loves the flash. The camera is equipped with a built-in flash that is rather annoying. It pops up over and over again. When in Auto mode the camera will adjust its shutter and aperture for you and ISO! Key players in creating the perfect picture. I carried my camera everywhere with me; coffee shops, meetings, work, family outings. I just practiced getting comfortable with it. It is pretty big and heavy.

I remember being extremely embarrassed when the flash would go off in public because I knew I looked dumb. The images I never was pleased with but when I first got the camera if I didn't shoot in Auto everything turned out black- I didn't know how to adjust anything. So I stayed in Auto for my personal safe zone.

Aperture setting:

It is the (Av) or (A) setting on your camera! This is all I shot at while I was in Portland. I would say this is when you start figuring out stuff. 
Here is the same photo in Aperture:

This is the same photo as above just shot in aperture f/3.5. This is my work area- nothing too exciting but not alot of blown out and washed out like it was with the Auto setting

This is the same photo as above just shot in aperture f/3.5. This is my work area- nothing too exciting but not alot of blown out and washed out like it was with the Auto setting

The scale is as follows: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22.
 

Image frompixelarge.com

Image frompixelarge.com

 

The smaller the number, the more light is let through the lens and the larger depth of field.
The larger the number the less light and the broader depth of field.

In Aperture you can control most settings except shutter-the camera will chosen  for you.

 Yes, this will mess with your brain considering it is the opposite small=large & large=small. To be honest, people told me that all the time and it just never made sense. I learned by going out and practicing every day.

Shutter setting:

I never used this setting until I started nannying and realized how busy kids are. When on shutter speed you are trying to freeze the moving motion. Here you can also change your ISO and exposure as well, but the camera will choose its aperture for you. I appreciated shutter when I was working with Hudson because I was able to control how much motion I wanted in my picture. While he was swinging at the park I could capture a trail of the movement behind him or freeze him in the air. While in Shutter mode your camera will adjust your aperture and you are in control of adjusting your shutter. This is nice because for a beginner it one less thing you have to adjust and your images turn out good.

Same image than above but this was in Shutter: I was able to control more light. The plant is lit up better than aperrute was able to.

Same image than above but this was in Shutter: I was able to control more light. The plant is lit up better than aperrute was able to.

Image from :shuttermuse.com

Image from :shuttermuse.com

Image From miketurner-photography.co.uk

Image From miketurner-photography.co.uk

 

Manual Mode: This is all I shoot in now. The more I practiced, the more I love manual. It does require some heavy thinking because you have to figure in your head the brightness, movements, background distortion. But I get to create the image from head to toe. I can control everything. I have been working more with tripods, and it helps my images be sharper. In manual mode you control everything! Your images are 100% on you. You adjust shutter, aperture, iso, exposure, focus... EVERYTHING. But here is when your images start looking real good.

CAMERA SHAKE IS REAL!!

If you are in too low of a shutter then you will have camera shake. I remember I got home one day from a shoot, and on my viewfinder, they looked amazing!

DONT TRUST YOUR VIEWFINDER

If you do trust your view finder then get in the habit of zooming in to make sure there is no camera shake around.

Once I uploaded them on a big screen... They were blurry... Sure Lightroom helps fix these images but damn it is a lot of extra work in Lightroom.

An excellent way to develop the sharpness in your images, without a tripod, is to position your shutter speed at the same number as your focal length. If you are working with a 50mm lens, then shoot slower than 1/ 50 of a second. A200mm lens, shoot less than 1/200 of a second. 

The farther away your subject is the longer the focal length you will need. 

The more you zoom in= more image shakes. If you find the correct your shutter by choosing a faster shutter than it should balance out.

Even writing this I am thinking, " Jesus this is a lot to take in for a beginner." I am sorry to say but this will probably go over your head, and you might event throw your camera across the room. 

Just go out and shoot and make little adjustments when in manual. A good place to start out is f2.8-f3.5 and 1/80-1/125. Keep your Iso on 100 or even f*c& leave it in Auto Iso. Also start at zero with your exposure. If you shoot and it is too dark then start by increasing your ISO. How does it look now? Is it brighter? Should be... Still, don't like it? Lower your shutter a bit to 1/60 brighter? Should be... turn up your exposure a couple stops brighter? Should be...
 
What I am trying to express is you just need to play around with it and eventually you learn when and where to apply your settings.
 I DO NOT RECOMMEND MANUAL MODE AT ALL IN THE BEGINNING!
STAY IN APERTURE. It is the most forgiving setting. 

Where can I practice?

Go on a sidewalk and practice cars driving by. Lock your subject in and snap away. Move your camera with the moving subject as you lock on to it. Play with you shutters. Do you want to car to stop completely or do you want to have a trail of blur... 

Practicing in aperture is quite easy any still subject around you will work. Buildings, people, landscapes, etc.

These are just little tips that will help. I do not expect you guys to get it right off the bat. I am a learner that has to go, see and do it for myself. I am telling you that if you are consistent with your practices, it will click. You will wake up one day and go, "Oh I get it."

I can't emphasis practice enough... You may feel like you don't know what your doing but trust me it will get easier and adjusting lights, speeds and Iso will all become second nature!

You guys rock and thanks for hanging out with SAMIANNA for some quick tips on learning the DSLR.

You will wake up one day and everything will just make sense.
— Sami Anna
Sami Costelow