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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Camera Tips, Camera Settings, And How To Make The Most of It

This is my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9

Do you mainly use the auto option on your digital camera or do you also play with your camera settings? One of the most requested and asked questions my readers have asked me is how do I take such nice pictures and if I could do a tutorial. I apologize for the overdue post but here it is, finally. It's going to be a bit technical and lengthy but I'm gonna try to keep it simple as possible. I am not a professional photographer and these are not professional tips but they are things I have used personally to optimize the use of my camera and improve the quality of my pictures.

Digital camera nowadays come packed with a lot of options. They are not just point and shoot no more. To get the most use out of your camera, the first thing you need to do is get familiar with what it can do and how to use it. As much as I know how we all hate going through the user manual handbook, the truth is you will benefit a lot from reading it.

I am currently using a Canon Rebel T3i, which is a DSLR camera but prior to that, I've always used the typical digital cam. The benefit about using a DSLR camera are more setting options, sharper and better image quality, and ability to interchange lenses.
Regardless of whether you are using a DSLR or a digital camera, in order to produce quality photos, the key thing you should know is how to use it. Anyone can take really nice pictures if they know how to utilize the tools and settings that comes with their camera.

Shooting Mode
  • The shooting modes may slightly vary from one brand to another or from one camera to another. 
  • Some of the typical shooting modes are Auto, Scene Selection (portrait, night scene, landscape, macro, etc), and Program.
  • I typically prefer so shoot in Program mode because it allows you to customize certain settings. 
  • My second choice would be Macro mode and you would choose this mode if you are shooting at close range. It will allow your camera to focus on your subject and create a crisper and sharper image. On most camera, this mode has a flower icon. 

  • ISO is your camera sensitivity to light. Typically you wan to use a smaller ISO if you are taking pictures in bright lighting and increase your ISO when you are in low light. 
  • ISO also controls the Shudder Speed of your camera. The higher the ISO the faster your shudder speed will be. The faster your shudder speed, the less blurry your picture will be. I prefer to use a faster shudder speed for capturing something that is moving.
  • The trade off with using a higher ISO is more "noise" or grainy effect on your pictures. As a result, there will be a loss in quality and sharpness.

Camera Exposure Value
  • This setting will help you control the brightness or darkness of your picture. For instance, if you are taking pictures in bright light or your subject is bright, you'd want a smaller EV and if you are taking pictures in low light or your subject is dark, you may want to increase your EV.

Using The Flash
  • When using the flash, you have to consider the distance between your camera and the subject and adjust the EV and ISO accordingly. If your picture comes out too bright, you'll have to reduce either one or both the ISO and EV. 
  • Tip: when taking pictures outside on a bright sunny day, try it with your flash. You would think that you don't need flash under those condition but I've tried it with flash and sometimes, it turns out so much better. 

Image Size
  • May not be that important but something you should consider if you are often cropping your pictures. There will be a loss in quality and sharpness if you are taking pictures with a smaller size image and then cropping it later. If you know you will eventually crop your pictures, I would suggest you use a larger image size.
So to sum it all, if you know and understand how to manipulate the ISO and EV according to the type of lighting around your subject, you can optimize the outcome of your pictures. Most digital cameras have ISO and EV settings. I cannot recall the last time I saw one that didn't.
My advice is practice! Once you are familiar with how to effectively adjust these settings, you will get the most out of your pictures. I use the EV and ISO a lot (even with my DSLR camera)! They are the next best thing aside from perfect lighting because you can actually control them from your camera.

On a side note, if you missed out or didn't get a change to view my previous post about "Photo Lighting" you can check it out here.

Was this post helpful or not? Were you already using these settings or you weren't even aware that they exist? If you have been using them, how did they work out for you?

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  1. Great post. I have the same camera. Where is the macro setting on it since obviously there no pic of a flower?

    1. That was the first thing I tried to look in the camera, lol. I found out that the macro is automatic in this model. When you focus on something and press midway through the shutter and then all the way, it will auto focus first and shoot in macro mode. If you do not want that, then you will have to turn off the auto focus.

  2. This post is really helpful. I always set my camera on Auto Mode because I am too lazy to tweak the settings. I will definitely keep this in mind the next time I take pictures of my makeup look! Thank you!


    1. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and you will never go back to auto mode, lol.

  3. Great post. Really helpful. Thanks Ms. Pang! :)


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