Understanding my DSLR is one thing that has been on my to-do list for the longest time. It’s one of those things that I would love to accomplish but it takes time, practice and patience. I bought my first DSLR a few years ago and I’ve used it tons although admittedly, it is in automatic mode.
There is nothing wrong with using your DSLR in automatic mode, but you don’t get all the benefits of a DSLR compared to when you are using it in manual mode. I’ve tried time and time again to use my camera in manual mode but the pictures never turned out like I wanted them to. Trying to understand what IO, Shutter Speed, and Exposure meant was over my head – so I thought. I recently took a free photography class at Best Buy. This class broke down the basics of using a DSLR and was exactly what we needed. The specialists in the photography section were extremely helpful. Everybody in the class brought their own DSLR so they can ask any questions they had about their camera and could get first hand experience with it. Best Buy had specialists for every single camera brand so no questions went unanswered. Owning a DSLR was not a requirement to attend this free photography class. Anybody can sign up, if you do not have a DSLR, Best Buy will allow you to borrow one of theirs for the class. It’s a great way to learn about a specific camera before committing to buy one.
During the class, there was a short presentation that went over the basics of the camera. We learned about what makes a good picture, how to focus on the subject, and different angles to use while capturing a picture. After the short presentation, we were able to use our cameras to shoot different props that were set up for the photography class.
The Best Buy team members helped us figure out which settings were needed depending on what exactly we were trying to capture.
Tips for taking Close-Up photos:
- Zoom in on the subject to see things you wouldn’t normally see my glancing quickly.
- Try various angles to shoot objects from different perspectives – get on the floor, kneel, or stand on a chair to get different angles.
- Bounce light off a reflective card such as foam core or white tag board. You can purchase a white board at the Dollar Store to use for practice.
Tips for taking Low-Light photos:
- Turn off the flash to capture what your eye is seeing.
- Use the widest aperture possible to get a faster shutter speed.
- Push the shutter gently and smoothly and you’ll be more likely to get a blur-free photo.
- Turn on image stabilization, if available to help at low shutter speeds.
Tips for taking Action photos:
- Use a high shutter speed or put your camera on Sports mode (the icon that looks like a man running)
- Use continuous focus if your camera has it.
- Try panning. Follow the subject while shooting at a slow shutter speed. This blurs the background and keeps your subject mostly sharp.
Tips for taking Portrait photos:
- Put people off center in the picture.
- Bring the person close to you and use a wide-angle lens to include their environment in the background.
- Have the person turn their body slightly away from you.
- Try to avoid distracting backgrounds.
If you’re wanting to learn more about your camera, a specific camera or get the chance to work with a different brand and lenses, check out the Free photography class offered at select Best Buy stores. There is no catches or gimmicks to attending, just a free class! These classes are usually offered once a month on a Saturday morning before the store even opens so it’s nice and quiet without many distractions. It’s a great way to learn and expand your knowledge, just in time for the holidays!