12 Things You Need to Know Before Clicking the Picture (DSLR)
So you have bought a DSLR, and after unpacking, you have come across several dials and buttons. Intimidated by all the controls, you set the dial to auto’ mode and begin your journey on photography. If you are a beginner, this setting will be fine for some time.
But a time will come when you will be eager to learn about the creative controls that have inspired you to buy the device in the first place.
So, how to click the best picture?
Here in this guide, you will be able to take full control of your camera and learn different ways of capturing beautiful images for your photography. You will learn some essential steps that every photographer must know before starting.
How do you take perfect picture clicks?
Well, a practical understanding of your camera will help you to become more confident, and you will be able to take impressive clicks. Here are the following things you need to keep in mind before clicking the picture with your DSLR.
1. Keep your camera steady
The first and foremost thing you need to take care of while capturing a beautiful picture is to keep the camera steady.
If you want your phots to be sharper, you must hold the camera properly so that it doesn’t shake. For avoiding shake, tuck your elbows in, breath out, and create support for yourself by using a wall.
When photographing handheld, remember that the shutter speed must be faster than the focal length to avoid any blurry image. For example, 1/100s at a focal length of 100mm will be perfect. However, the image stabilization of your camera will allow you to use a much slower shutter speed than that.
You may even consider using a tripod when you will need a slow shutter speed that cannot be shot handheld.
2. Make a clear center for capturing
Another important aspect of photography is the positioning of various elements that are in the frame and finding the specific object that seems to be more interesting. Hence, to capture a beautiful frame, your shot must omit unwanted noise or distractions.
Always remember that someone who will see those pictures might not wonder much about anything which isn’t included in the frame.
For example, you are about to take a picture of a child running in a soccer field. You must only capture the shot of the running child and avoid the entire area or someone playing on it.
3.Have a proper understanding of the dynamic range
The dynamic range allows you to differentiate between extreme light and dark simultaneously. Human eyes have a high dynamic range that helps seeing clearly a very dark object against a bright background. On the other hand, cameras have a poor dynamic range.
So it is nearly impossible for your camera to take pictures that you see because your camera doesn’t see better than you. An example might help to sort things out.
While taking a photo of a person on a beach, you will come across a dynamic range. When you click a normal picture, the sea will be nicely exposed, but the person will remain in darkness.
As said earlier, your camera cannot see both the extremes at the same time, so you have to make a few adjustments, such as lightening the darker areas. You can make use of a fill flash or a reflector, which will direct more light on the subject. Now try another shot in which you put the focus on the person, and you will get a clear image.
4. You need to learn about the shooting modes
You will find the shooting modes on the dial of your camera labeled with A, S, P, M’ (or Av, Tv, P, M’ in some models). When you select a shooting mode, it will how your camera will behave when you press the shutter button. For example, if you choose’ Auto,’ your camera will automatically decide about the exposure, shutter speed, and aperture.
Let’s get into the details of these shooting modes and learn how they work.
Aperture Priority (denoted by A or Av)
When this mode is selected, you can set the aperture while your camera will choose the shutter speed automatically. The aperture typically represents the opening size of the lens, and it determines how much light should be passed through it when you press the shutter button.
More light will pass through a larger aperture. The aperture is displayed as an f’ number, like f/2.8, f/4.0, f/8.0, etc. and it denotes focal length over the diameter of the opening. Hence, a wider opening will have a smaller f’ (e.g., f/2.0), and a narrow opening will have a larger f’ (e.g., f/20).
Understanding aperture is crucial in photography because it relates directly to the field-depth. If the aperture is smaller (e.g., f/18), the camera will capture a larger distance that will be in focus, right from the background to the foreground.
On the other hand, when you use a large aperture (e.g., f/4.5), the camera will capture only the object with a sharp focus leaving the background blurry. You may use this setting when shooting for portrait photography. You can have complete control over the depth of field by using the aperture priority.
Shutter Priority (denoted by S or Tv)
In this shooting mode, you will settle the shutter speed while your camera will automatically adjust the aperture. The shutter speed is measured in a fractional part of a second, and it is the time that the shutter needs to remain open when you take photos.
The more time the shutter remains open, the more light will pass through the sensor. You have to select a slow shutter speed when you want to capture a fast-moving object, such as a vehicle on the road, a flying bird, or an athlete running on a track. When you need to blur out a moving object, you have to make use of long shutter speed.
Therefore, you need to worry more about the shutter speed for the desired photograph while your camera will make the appropriate aperture setting for giving a correct exposure. Both these shooting modes are semi-automatic, and they give you creative control to capture amazing photos.
Program mode (denoted by P)
Program mode is somewhere between the full manual control mode and the aperture/shutter priority mode. In this mode, you can set anyone from aperture or shutter, and the camera will control the exposure by adjusting accordingly. That means, if you change the shutter speed, the aperture will change automatically, and vice versa.
Manual mode (denoted by M)
The term itself is self-explanatory, where you will be given full authority to control exposure and setting. There will be an exposure indicator that will help you to find if the image is over/underexposed, and you will be left to change the aperture or shutter speed to achieve a great picture.
5.Understanding ISO sensitivity
ISO is the measurement of how sensitive your camera’s sensor will be towards the light. It is represented from ISO 100 (for low sensitivity) to ISO 6400 (for high sensitivity) and sometimes even beyond. When you are shooting outside on a bright sunny day, there will be available light for the sensor to achieve correct exposure.
So you can set a low ISO such as ISO 200, and your images will be of the highest quality. While shooting under a low light such as a museum, there won’t be enough light for the camera sensor. Then you need a higher ISO such as ISO 3200. It will increase the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor, and you will get a great picture.
6.Have some knowledge about the exposure triangle
The three parts that are involved in the camera’s exposure are ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. It’s pretty evident that the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all have an impact on each other. When you open the aperture, you need to use a low ISO or speed up the shutter.
If you change the ISO, the aperture, and the shutter speed have to be adjusted for getting the right exposure. For better photography, you will need to master the three parts. After that, you can capture every scenery with much accuracy just as you see them with your eyes.
7. Consider your light sources while capturing images
Remember that while clicking pictures, you are actually capturing light. So you must know more about the light source and understand their interaction with your camera. To make a proper understanding, let’s imagine you are shooting, and the sun is slightly ahead of you but tilted on one side.
Now, while shooting, you will not see the sun through the viewfinder, but when you move the front side of the camera, you will find that direct sunlight is hitting the lens. As the sunlight gets on the surface of the lens, a few rays will scatter into the lens, which will land ultimately on the camera sensor.
The result will be a washed-out effect that isn’t visible when looked through the viewfinder, but it will ruin the image. Keep in mind that that light can do many things with your camera.
8. White balance can impact your photo quality
While balance will affect the overall output of the color tone of your images. Various light sources, such as fluorescent sticks, light bulbs, or the sun, emit light consisting of different wavelengths, and so they have different colors. These are called color temperature. Take your camera and find options like Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Incandescent, etc.
You can use the white balance for using creativity in your photos. You can add coolness or warmth to your images with the help of appropriate color temperature. Suppose, a Shade’ or a Cloudy’ white balance setting applied on bright daylight when shooting will make your pictures look warmer.
9.Capturing photos in raw format
These days many cameras will provide you an option where you can save your captured image in raw format. A raw format is an unprocessed image comprising of the uncompressed data in comparison to the jpeg file format. The benefits of shooting pictures in raw format are that they have a dynamic range and more color.
During post-processing, the raw file format will help you more because you will have more data for working on it. Due to a large amount of data contained in raw formats, these files will be larger in size compared to ordinary jpeg file formats. So make sure you are capturing the images on the raw format when shooting.
10. Using the histogram may improve your shooting
You can take the help of the histogram to evaluate the exposure of an image to be captured. The histogram will help you to find the exact number of pixels in each shade of gray and represented by a graphical interface. You will need them to check the exposure and make the necessary adjustments.
You can tell whether a photo has a good exposure if it contains fine details in the darkest as well as the brightest regions in your photos. A histogram allows you to find any shadow or highlight that has been occurred in your image. That means, they will take notice of areas having a completely white or black background and lacking any detail.
11.Controlling noises in your captured images
The grainy or muddy look in your images may arise out of certain factors. Noise will prevail sometime, no matter how carefully you took your pictures. Shooting with long exposures, or at high ISO, or careless editing can all result in noise building, among other reasons.
Noise will be visible and can creep into your image. But there are different ways of reducing noise, and it can be done in the post-processing sessions to improve your picture quality.
12. Check your camera before shooting
Before getting on a photoshoot, check your camera setting because you had a perfect shooting with the previous setting, and you want to keep it the same way. Also, make sure if the camera sensor is clean, and if not, clean the camera before using it.
So that was all about some of the important things you need to keep in mind before capturing a perfect image. Photography is a creative art, and you can master them only by practicing.