Okay, you guys. This is it! Lesson one of our new series: Photography For Hubbies. If you missed the backstory, you can visit our last blog post for why we started this series and more about us!
Photo by Hope Taylor Photography
Today we are going to talk about the basics of a camera. We’ll be using a Nikon D750, so if you’re following along with a Canon, a few things may be just a little different! First, Eli is going to list the things he doesn’t already know about using a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) while basically staring at it and playing around with it for a few minutes. I will be typing as he lists everything (quote on quote) and hoping he doesn’t mess anything up while doing so! 🙂
- I DON’T know what the wheelie thing does.
- I definitely don’t know what this stuff does.. (another wheelie thing)..
- I don’t know what the different modes are on the other wheelie thing.
- I don’t know what ISO means.
- M-manual, A-aperture, P-program, S-sport??
- I don’t know what the numbers mean.
- I don’t know how to control shutter
Remember, every photographer started out not knowing these things either! Eli and I just reviewed the entire back of the camera. We went over what the controls meant, how to adjust aperture, shutter, ISO, and how to shoot in manual. One important thing he has to get used to is ALWAYS ALWAYS shooting in manual. You need full control of your camera in every lighting situation, so we are starting hardcore and he’s not allowed to change that “wheelie thing” to anything else! 🙂 I taught myself how to use a DSLR a while ago, but I was using the other settings like Auto, Program, Shutter, and mostly Aperture, which was controlling the camera in ways I didn’t want. When I switched to Manual, it was so hard to get used to! That’s why I want Eli to begin learning on Manual to get used to it while practicing! We won’t get into shooting techniques while playing around with the settings like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO just yet. We will review that in another lesson. For now let’s hear what Eli learned about the camera!
Photo by Hope Taylor Photography
Hey y’all, I’m back! This time it feels a whole lot more serious, but I am the type of person who loves to learn about anything just for the sake of it… I must say, Remy is a pretty good teacher and so far I am super impressed with how much knowledge she has about this camera. Given that we have a fair amount of free time, I think it is great that we are breaking these lessons up in to small sections and learning things piece by piece. Just understanding the camera itself will be half the battle! With that said, I will do my best to relay what I now know about the Nikon D750 that I had no clue about earlier in this post:
1.) Apparently the first “wheelie” thing that I was referring to on the front right side of the camera near the shutter button is the aperture adjustment. I now know that the wider the aperture (lower the number) the more light that gets let in, making for a brighter picture, and vice versa. I also learned that a lower aperture makes the background more blurry, and focuses on the subject more. A smaller aperture will bring all the elements in the frame into focus with a sharper background and will loose light to create a darker image.
2.) The other wheelie-ma-bobber on the upper right corner of the camera adjusts what I now know of as “shutter speed”. The shutter speed decides how quickly or slowly the lens opens and closes to capture a shot. The higher the shutter speed number, the faster the lens will open and close, giving you a sharp, clear photograph. This can also cause for a darker image with a higher number. A lower shutter speed number will result in a photo that is brighter, but is also subject to blurriness because of how long it takes for the shutter to open and close. So if you want to capture more motion in a shot to view it almost in a slow motion form, you can do a slower shutter speed. If you want to capture a fast moving object that catches every move in a crisp and quick way, you want a faster shutter speed.
3.) The other OTHER whirligig on the top left of the camera is called the mode dial and is used to change what mode your camera is in. To keep things more or less simple, Remy told me that we would basically keep the camera in M or Manual, so that we can be in control at all times (now I see why she loves photography)<— jokes. Also the wheel below this one allows you to choose which mode to use for when you press down on the shutter release button for a burst of photos, or just one, or in quiet mode, etc. For our sessions, we will keep that wheel on CH (continuous high) so that we can capture multiple photos as quick as possible when spontaneous moments arise. (I always remember that because loving Remy is like a continuous high itself) awwwwww.
4.) ISO basically refers to the light sensitivity of your camera. Adjusting the ISO fixes the lighting in your photo. Setting your ISO depends on the lighting situation you’re in whether you’re inside or outside. The higher the number, the brighter the image will become. It’s perfect for situations like an indoor wedding where you need to bump it up a lot to get brighter images. You should also adjust your ISO after you have figured out what your general aperture and shutter speed will be for the shoot.
5.) I kind of described this in #3 but basically each mode allows you to adjust a certain part of the cameras settings, while compensating for the ones that you didn’t adjust; except for manual which requires you to do all the adjusting your self (do I have toooo). Oh and the S stands for Shutter, not Sport 😉
6.) The “numbers” in the top right display of the camera are pretty important. They essentially tell you everything about your camera’s setting. The top left number tells you your shutter speed and the top right number with the “f” before it tells you your aperture. The number on the bottom tells you your ISO and the number in brackets tells you how many photos you have left on your memory card. These numbers seemed so overwhelming before but now that I have my hands on the camera, it doesn’t feel as daunting. Also, most of these things are displayed on the bottom edge when you look through the viewfinder too, which seems super convenient. Another thing I learned was the exposure meter on the display screen and inside the viewfinder. This tells you if your settings are too bright or too dark while shooting. You will see it moving when fixing your settings.
7.) Well obviously by now I understand a bit of what shutter speed means and how it affects the quality of the photo, but most importantly, I now understand how to make adjustments when it is needed during a session. It is important to understand what your aperture will be set at for the session and toggle your shutter speed based upon that. Depending on what you’re shooting and the lighting, you may have to mess around with the shutter dial until you get the quality and lighting that you are looking for. I learned that Remy likes to keep her photos on the slightly brighter side so I am learning how to adjust each component to equal out to the correct amount of brightness, focus and clarity.
All I can say is, sheesh, this is going to be a journey. I am slightly overwhelmed at all there is to learn about the camera before I can even move on to actually taking cool pictures, but I am also so excited to absorb all of this information and build upon it in the coming blog posts. I couldn’t imagine a better mentor than my lovely fiancé! Can’t wait to tell y’all what I’ve learned next week!
Eli as my assistant last weekend. He’s just the best.
What do you guys think?! I think he did pretty dang good for our first lesson. Next Thursday we’ll be getting really into the settings of the camera while shooting in Manual mode. Eli will begin practicing changing the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO while I throw some challenges his way! 🙂 We’ll see his first images as a new photographer! It’s important to practice changing those settings in every lighting situation in order to get the images/style you want while working quickly! As a natural light photographer, nailing your in-camera settings is vital. Once Eli starts getting the hang of the camera, we’ll be moving on to the real fun stuff!! 🙂
If you have any specific questions about my camera or settings, etc., just comment or send me a message and we will answer questions on the blog next week for everyone to see! Thanks for following along!