Picking up a DSLR (or mirrorless) can be daunting, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Nikon, Canon, Sony or any of the other makes. There are some simple tips to make life easier for you to get great photos.
Importantly the biggest challenge for many is simply building enough confidence to take your camera out of Auto mode.
Here are our top five tips to help you build confidence and skill with your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
Nothing helps more than simply practicing, experiment with new settings and make mistakes. Guess what, memory cards are cheap and easy to wipe, batteries can be recharged. No need to ration it like you did in the old film days.
2. Try Shutterspeed or Aperture Mode.
Thats Tv or Av on Canon, S or A on Nikon. These modes allow you an element of control and let the camera help you but you will learn so much by experimenting with these.
NOTE: Don’t let anyone bully you into using only Manual mode telling you this is the “Pro” mode.
Honestly its crap, as a Professional landscape photographer the ONLY time I use Manual mode is in the studio photographing original art under flash.
For the remaining 99.9% of my work I use Aperture (Av/A) mode.
Pro Tip: If anyone starts a sentence like "you're not a proper photography, if you do/unless you do this" then just ignore them.
3. Use a tripod.
A tripod is an essential tool in low light conditions, whenever I shoot a sunrise or sunset, waterfall or in dark conditions I use a tripod. It doesn’t need to be expensive just sturdy. In fact I bought a new tripod the other day to test, almost as good as my $600 carbon fibre tripod for only $55 delivered to my door.
4. Use a low ISO for most photography.
With the exception of Astro photography and indoor events (parties, concerts etc) stick to an ISO between 100-400. Why? Simply if you ever want to print your photos, these will look the best.
5. THERE IS NO BEST CAMERA!!!
Ignore all the conversations, arguments and straight out BS about the “Best Camera”. Simply the best camera is the one you have with you. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Lumix… they are only a tool. Buy the one you can afford that you like.
If you want advice, ask someone you trust, don’t ask Facebook, trust me. When it comes to cameras they all have up and downsides. But in the end they are a tool. 95% of the results come from you not the camera so don’t get hung up in forums or Facebook groups, it is seriously bad for your mental health.
Bonus Tip: Find a supportive group to learn, where you feel included and supported. Honestly the most important part to great photos is confidence. If you want to build your confidence and need help then perhaps one of our workshops or weekend courses for beginners is right for you. Click here to find out more.