Monday, 13 February 2012

How to take better photographs...DSLR modes!

Did you have fun practicing your iPhone photography skills over the cold weekend? Are you happy with the results? Don't forget you can share your photos on our facebook page, I'd love to see your creations!

Today I'm going to talk about using your DSLR (Digital Single Lens Refelex) camera. As always the camera I'll be using and talking about will be the Canon 400D.

The dial at the top of your camera has several settings on it. The middle setting is a green box, above this there are letters, below this there are pictures. Today we're going to talk about the green box and pictures.

FULL AUTO - Green square
This is the 'point and shoot' mode, where the camera will choose all the settings for you that will produce a clear focused picture of what's in the photo frame. More often than not, this mode engages the built in flash... and produces an over exposed picture.
This mode is great for those who are outside taking photos on holiday. Not really very good for capturing those special moments with your little one. I don't have any examples to show you pictures taken in this mode because, generally, I don't like the pictures it produces. Sorry! Get off full auto mode if you are using it and have some fun with the other settings.

PORTRAIT - Lady's profile
The portrait mode blurs the background slightly and makes the subject focused. It will also make the flash tones and hair look softer than the Full Auto mode (says the instruction manual). I find generally that the camera relies on the in built flash with this mode as well, but it is very useful for concentrating the focus on the subject rather than the background.

I had to remove red eye &
remove shadows from the background
>>notice how this mode focused on the things
closest to the camera - her hands! I had focused
on her face but this mode knew better!! SIGH

LANDSCAPE - Mountains
This puts everything that it can into focus! Sometimes useful for night shots as it lets in more light than full auto mode (not exactly technically true but for purposes of this blog post it'll do). Greens and blues are more vivid in this mode than in Full Auto.

Landscape mode keeps in focus &
makes greens and blues better
- Good for snow shots!

CLOSE UPS - Flower
This is the naughtiest of all the modes. Yes it tells the digital camera that you are taking a photo with a short focus point - however how close you can get to an object and take an infocus photograph depends a lot upon your lens not your camera. So If you are trying to take a shot of a butterfly on a leaf and you can't depress the shutter button and take the photo - you are probably too close for the lens (even tho' it looks OK in the viewfinder).

Normal lens close up
[Small digression - On the side of your lens are some numbers... EFS 18-55mm, [flower picture]0.28m/0.9ft. The 18 - 55mm is the size of your lens, the 0.28m/0.9ft is the smallest distance the camera can focus at. So if you are closer than 28cm to the thing you are taking a photo of then the camera will not take the picture! On my macro lens (which I have for close ups and artistic blurry shots is 20cm or 0.6ft - which is not bad for a non professional lens). I'll cover lenses after applications for modifying your photos...there's lots to this photography habit of mine!]

My macro lens -
DangerBaby's hand at 1 day old!

SPORTS - Man running
Probably the most useful automatic mode for taking photos of children with. This tells the camera to set everything for taking photos of moving objects - shutter speeds, aperture settings and focus points are all optimised for a quick photo. Not good in poor light conditions as your photo will come out quite dark.
Lots of light, baby moving, sports mode engaged!

NIGHT PORTRAITS - Black square with person and star
This tries to take a photograph in low light conditions and is best used with a tripod. It always uses the in built flash, and more often than not produces a slightly blurry picture. Personally this is my least favourite mode, and I'd use Full Auto instead of this mode.
My little one's not impressed at
'home time'! This was late afternoon - not night
but the mode engages the built in flash and the background
becomes lost in shadows
DISABLING FLASH - Cross through the lightning blot
This is the best auto mode there is. It cancels out the use of the in built flash and keeps as much of the image as possible in focus. Perfect for use when flash isn't allowed, and it doesn't mess about with the colour of the photograph like Full Auto does.

No flash and no colours messed about with
A lovely summer shot!

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