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Tips and tricks for you to become the ultimate DSLR pro

Just because you bought a DSLR doesn’t mean that you’ll capture amazing photos from day one.

, ET Bureau|
May 06, 2017, 02.48 PM IST
Like with many disciplines, photography requires constant learning.
Like with many disciplines, photography requires constant learning.

Aperture controls the amount of light the lens lets in and the depth of field in an image — this determines how bright the image will be and how much of the area behind/in front of the subject will be blurred. Aperture is counted in f-stops on any camera — denoted as f2.8, f3.5, f8, f16 and so on. A lower f number means a wider aperture which in turn means a shallow depth of field. This highlights the subject and is ideal for portraits. A higher f number or narrow aperture keeps everything in in-focus. This works great for landscape photographs.

ISO Level
ISO refers to light sensitivity; higher the ISO, higher the sensitivity and vice versa. The values are counted in numbers and it starts as low as 50 going as high as several lakhs. If you are shooting at a low ISO, your camera is less sensitive to available light so you shoot in low ISO when there’s lot of light available. Lower ISOs mean better quality images overall, so there is always a trade-off. A higher ISO level makes the camera more sensitive to available light and therefore is ideal for use in low light environments. At higher ISO levels, cameras tend to add a lot of grain in the image. This will be one of the primary differences between cheap and expensive DSLRs: with more expensive ones, you will be able to push the ISO up to 800, 1600, 3200 and more to still get good, noisefree results.

White Balance
White balance is the adjustment of individual colours to make the image look more natural and closer to original. Few bother about white balance since most cameras offer excellent automatic white balance. However, if you feel that the colours on your photos not the same as the actual image, you may need to manually set the white balance depending on the kind of light you are using. White balance settings will adjust the camera’s colour temperature range for cloudy light, indoor fluorescent light, sunny, tungsten light and so on. You can also try manual modes in different scenarios for interesting results.

Shutter Speed
The shutter speed is the amount of time that the sensor is exposed to light. Like aperture, it lets you control the amount of light that will reach the sensor but it also has other effects. A fast shutter speed, like 1/100, 1/250 going up to 1/4000 and above lets you freeze moving objects. A slow shutter like half a second, 1 second or even a few seconds keeps the sensor exposed to a lot of light. This is ideal for capturing images in low light environments. It can also show objects in motion by blurring the moving parts. Do keep in mind that you will need to use a tripod to stabilize the camera when you use slow shutter speeds.


Avoid Using The Built-in Flash
The built-in camera flash is used by a lot of beginners when shooting in low light. It typically tends to give the photos a flat feel, makes the eyes look red in low light and even tends to overexpose things that are too near the flash. Instead, you should invest in an external flash. This lets you control the angle of light so that it acts as a soft fill light rather than a hard front light. You can even add a diffuser, control the intensity of the flash that comes out as well as bounce the flash off other surfaces for interesting effects.

When in Doubt, Use a Tripod
Many beginners make the mistake of trying to hold the camera in a maximum of scenarios. While bright, day photos can be done handheld, most other situations will give you better results with a tripod. Invest in a good tripod to use with your camera. There are different types of tripods available — some are basic with height adjustment, others let you control the pan and tilt for different angles and offer extras like a spirit level (to check that the horizon is level).

Better Composition
Most photographers tend to start with the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds requires you to imagine that the frame is divided into 9 equal parts using evenly placed vertical and horizontal lines. The points at which the lines intersect in the frame are the ideal points at which you should place your subject. This adds depth to your photos and makes the subject stand out. Only when you learn to use the rule of thirds is when you can learn how to break it.

Post Processing
Apart from learning the basics, post processing is something that every photographer must learn to get the best results. However, keep in mind that if you shoot in jpeg, you can only apply a limited amount of post processing. If you shoot in RAW, post processing will allow you to tinker with almost every aspect of an image including exposure and white balance after the fact. There are several software available for post processing such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Dxo Optics and Corel Paintshop that you can try.

Also Read

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Ricoh Pentax KP review: It's all about the dials in this DSLR

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