SLR Photography Basics

Slr photography Basics

Hi, my names Amy. I am a photography teacher. In this article I’m going to share with you the 10 most valuable tips on the slr photography basics that you need to know to get started in taking stunning photos.

Learning slr photography basics doesn’t take very long. In fact it can take you a short afternoon. However, putting that knowledge into practice to get the great photos you want takes time and experience. How long this takes depends on you and the time you have to invest in your photography.

Slr photography basics – tip 1

When you first begin learning slr photography basics you quickly find out that an slr camera is very different to a point and shoot digital camera. In a nutshell you have more control and more scope to create beautiful digital photos. You can control how much light comes onto the sensor quite easily, and, how much light is shut out. These things are the first thing to know when starting to learn the slr photography basics. Making the distinguishing difference between what is an slr camera and what is not, is just the first step.

Slr photography basics – tip 2

The second step to learning slr photography basics is understanding how light works inside a camera. Once the light from around you enters your lens then hits the sensor, diminishes quite significantly. This is why, when you take a photo, there is less light in the photo than there is in your environment.

Slr photography basics – tip 3

The third stage to learning your slr photography basics is to become familiar with how your camera frames your objects. Often, you will notice that when you position your camera to photograph something, it never appears quite the same. When you look through the eye piece, then look at the live view feature on the back of your camera, you’ll quickly notice that the two “images” are different in size. Usually the edges will be “cut off”. This is simply because there is a difference between what your lens sees and what can fit onto your sensor. Always compensate for this when you are taking photos with your slr.

Slr photography basics – tip 4

Digital photography is not like film photography. I still use black and white film, and occasionally colour, but 99% of the time I use a professional digital slr camera. The major difference between film and digital photography is how the information is processed inside the camera. Film interprets small particles of light to form the image onto a small black strip with chemicals embedded into it. Digital works in a similar process. Instead of a film strip, the particles of light are processed onto a sensor that interprets the light, with the absence of chemicals.

Slr photography basics – tip 5

Use the manual setting. With any slr photography basics instruction the manual setting becomes the most important. Why is this, especially when you have AP and SP? Simply put, digital photos turn out better when you have as much control of the camera as humanly possible. Photography is all about light and art coming together to form a beautiful image. And the only way to really control the light is to use the manual setting.

Slr photography basics – tip 6

When you start your slr photography basics learning curve, you’ll notice that the camera has many different buttons on the back. One of these buttons is called ISO. I won’t go into the boring details of what that stands for, but basically it increases or decreases the cameras sensitivity to light. When you have used the manual setting all you can and can’t go any further with it, then your iso is your last resort. In very dark lighting situations an increase in ISO can make your images look grainy. This grain, in digital terms, is called noise. The key to great digital photography in dim light is to find the balance between getting as much light into the sensor as possible and not having too much noise.

Sometimes a unit called a light meter can be held at the scene and can give you a more accurate reading. These light meters are hand held and have various lengths at which they detect the light. They will give you a reading based on the best setting for your camera can be. In some cases you may not have to increase your iso by that much.

Slr photography basics – tip 7

Any starting point for learning your slr photography basics is to know when to shoot. There are many times when photographers sit in eager anticipation at the edge of a forest for a sighting of a rare bird, or at a game of football for the score from their team. Such great photos where these things are capture depend heavily on your ability to pre-empt that single great moment. This comes from knowing the behaviour and habits of your bird or football team very well. A good starting point for your slr photography basics learning is to be able to shoot at the most crucial moments, and that means being fast on that shutter button!

slr photography basics – tip 8

Discover the slr photography basics is so much fun, especially when you buy your first slr camera. Knowing what camera to buy is going to be one of your initial challenges. How do you know what camera to buy? The first thing to do is get very clear about what you need. And, what sort of photography do you want to do? That’s the beauty about slr cameras. They have the capability to add interchangeable lenses for a variety of photographic subjects. You can have the flexibility to photograph many different things with many different lenses.

slr photography basics – tip 9

As you head further into slr photography basics you’ll discover that your lighting is the most important thing. After all, no lighting means no image. A big part of knowing how slr photography works is to become familiar with using your flash effectively. As a point and shoot camera user, you’ve probably only seen the flash pop up when it’s a little dark. Well, with slr photography, not only does the flash work on auto, but manual too. You can even buy a flash unit, swivel it to the ceiling to create some ambient light. Not only can you have control over the lighting that your flash expels, but you can also use a flash remotely to fire only after a certain amount of time, or when you program it to.  You can see now that slr photography basics requires an understanding of what’s possible with lighting.

slr photography basics – tip 10

Working well with how things are placed in your photo becomes paramount to creating artistic images. This is called your composition. It really just means how things are placed in relation to each other within the frame. So for example if take a photo of a bird and put it in the center of the photo I might lose some space around the bird. This space may have given the photo a more interesting edge.

A method of working out what works as far as where things should be placed is called your rule of thirds. Imagine a grid of two lines running parallel across your photo, and two lines running parallel vertically on your photo. The rule of thirds dictates that your subjects (points of interest) should be placed exactly on the points where these lines meet. When you begin learning your slr photography basics, this is a good place to start. When you become a more experienced photographer, you quickly learn that rules can sometimes be broken.

Leaning slr photography basics is a wonderfully fun and interesting pursuit. I encourage you to learn as much as you can and always have a wonderful time with any photography that you do. Photography is meant to be fun.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (9)

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  1. Julian says:

    Thanks for your excellent article Amy, I really enjoy your photography tips.

  2. Chris Pearce says:

    I read this article when I was stuck at Heathrow- your site gave me tons of reading and helped me get through the severe bordom due to the storm. Thanks so much Amy, much appreciated.

  3. Quentin says:

    Amy I really like this peice.

  4. Jane says:

    I am a beginner in photography and really love this website. I love your ebooks too! Thanks so much Amy. I am a big fan!

  5. David Tan says:

    Thanks Amy, I really, really appreciate this excellent article. It covers so muchg photography tips that I really want to know.

  6. Carrie says:

    Amy, what camera should I buy? A nikon or a canon?

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