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first steps in taking a picture!

First steps in taking a picture / camera handling        

Make sure that you have read the manual of your camera very carefully and marked/flagged the important points/pages needed to be referred again        

Attach the lens to the camera body as instructed in the manual        

HOLDING THE CAMERA- make sure you are holding the camera in the most stable position so as to add minimum vibration from your side.Hold the camera steady. Rest the camera lens on the palm of your left hand while holding the grip of the camera as shown. Always keep the strap around the neck, keeping the camera high enough not to touch the belt buckle. Hold the camera vertically as well  wherever required.

FOCUSING -Set the AF/M switch to AF on both camera and the lens. Certain cameras may not have a switch but option of choosing Auto and manual focus in the camera menu. Make sure not to manually rotate the focusing dial on the lens if the camera/lens is set on autofocus. However in some lenses you may do so as instructed in the lens/camera manual.     


To focus lightly press the shutter release button. It needs a little practice to press it halfway and not all the way down. Once the focus is achieved you may hear a beep sound unless you have kept it off through the camera menu. Learn to focus at the most important area of the subject generally the eyes and then without lifting the finger from the shutter release button recompose the shot the way you want it to be.        

Remember, every lens has a specific minimum focusing distance less than which it cannot focus. so do not move too close to the subject where it is not possible for your lens to focus. while you see through the viewfinder, make sure that you are looking at the sharply focus subject.                  

SHOOTING MODE-Set the camera on aperture priority. Av or A mode. Do not confuse the A with the Auto mode. Depending upon the kind of depth of field you are planning for your photograph select the aperture accordingly. Open up for less DOF and close down for more DOF. However keep an eye on the shutter speed as you change the aperture and it should not fall under 1/60th of sec. In case it so happens, move the aperture in a manner so that you get a higher shutter speed. Otherwise change the ISO to a higher number but doing so leads to quality loss. If you are shooting a still life, tripod may be used. Tripod and image stabilising system is for camera shake and not for the subject movement.        

FOCAL LENGTH -Focal length dial on the lens lets you change the framing of the subject. Moving towards the lower number lets you see a wider angle of view whereas moving towards a higher number lets you see narrow and further away view. Also changes the perspective and depth of field. example- 200mm lets you see a narrow view compared to 20mm. Its important to keep the perspective right. Move back to include more in your frame rather than changing to a wider angle of view/small focal length.       

# Do not switch off the camera while the card is being written to / light is on        

# Make sure that you are inserting the CF/ SD card the right way in.        

# To begin with venture out shooting in  good natural light instead of shooting indoors and in low light. This will boost your confidence and help you understand lighting and camera functions better.        

# Once you get the hang of your camera also  explore various metering modes and exposure compensation features on your camera.        

# Do use a  UV filter and appropriate lens hood.          

# Concentrate on your composition as well as you learn the features of the camera.         

# Do check out the Depth of field preview button in good natural light for a better understanding. As you close down the aperture, view gets darker but clearer.

In nutshell-

Hold the camera right- insert the memory card right way in -set the ISO at the lowest number- Focus the subject-make sure that you are not closer than the minimum focusing distance of the lens- choose the aperture based on the depth of field required- choose the focal length based on the perspective required- Look at the shutter speed corresponding to the set aperture- Open up the aperture if the shutter speed is below 1/60th sec or increase the ISO- If you are shooting on a tripod and there is no subject movement you may shoot at a slower shutter speed - If subject is moving use a shutter speed corresponding to the speed of the subject-

Typical mistakes the beginners make-

Keep taking all shots horizontally.

Move in too close to the subject ignoring the fact that the lens does not focus less than the minimum focusing distance.

let the shutter speed drop less than 1/60th sec

If the shutter speed drops below, manually just increase the shutter speed without taking into consideration the aperture. this leads to under exposure.

Do not keep an eye on the distracting backgrounds.

keep the IS/VR off when the camera is on the tripod.

Do not use the exposure compensation buttons

keep shooting at a higher ISO even when the lighting conditions are favorable.

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