If you received a beautiful new camera for Christmas congratulation! Here is the first in a series of posts that you may find helpful in understanding all the modes, functions, and buttons.
- Take time to read the manual! Learn what all the buttons and the menu choices are now and keep the manual with you, I have the manual for my camera in my bag even though I know it really well. There still might be a time when I need to access the information in the field or on photography workshop. No matter what you feel your current level of competency is with your new camera now you should aim to know all the different controls in the same way you know the controls of your car. If you think you are not capable of that then remember your first ever time driving a car and how difficult that felt! How does it feel now? Easy right!
- Set your camera to shoot in RAW instead of jpeg if you have the option. What’s the difference? With a Jpeg file the processor on the camera does all of the work in camera, it “cooks” the file in the camera so that later the options to tweak it or change are very limited. RAW on the other hand means the camera processor does no processing and saves the file to the memory card leaving all of the processing decisions, the creative decisions, to you to decide later so you are the master of your own photography.
- Choose the right colour space. Most camera’s that have a choice give you two options for the colour space: sRGB and Adobe RGB. Which one is best? Well sRGB is a colour space that is designed to be a universal colour space for all computer monitors, web browsers etc. Adobe RGB has a wider colour range or gamut designed to be printed on inkjet printers. So if you think you might print your images then I recommend Adobe RGB. If you are going to publish them on the internet they can be converted to sRGB later.
- Other camera Settings: There are a few settings that I am now in the habit of choosing in the menu straight away. I set my Histogram display to show brightness rather than RGB because when I am judging my exposure I want to know if the image is under, over or correctly exposed. We will look at the histogram in a later post. Setting it to RGB I get three separate histograms for each colour channel which is too much information for my small brain!
- I also enable the highlight alert in the menu which will show me if an area of the image is over exposed by flashing in that area. It’s like instant feedback that allows you to adjust your exposure quickly. When you over expose a digital file you lose all the information in the area that is overexposed and you don’t want to do that!
- Another setting I always change is the Release shutter without card. This can arrive enabled and I always disable it or turn it off. I have seen the tragedy of watching someone shoot an entire dawn session with this enabled and no card in the camera. It’s not a pretty sight later when they try to download their images from the morning shoot.
In the next post we will look at the different shooting modes and other strange camera jargon like HDR, ISO, aperture and more. In the meantime if you have any specific questions then contact me here: