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April 5, 2011

Top Tips I Learned at a Digital Photography Class

This past weekend, I attended a four hour Digital Photography Class that was held at our local junior college.  I was expecting a class of around 20 people or so, but no, close to 50 people were in attendance.  I guess I'm not the only one who has a 'big' camera and needs to learn how to properly use it.

The four hours flew by!  I've had my camera for about 5 years.  I've self taught myself as best I could, but there are questions, there are always questions, aren't there?!

The instructor went over every part of a digital camera and I was able to take the things I found important and learn about them.  I am glad I waited until I was familiar with my camera before taking this class because I was able to get to the area of the camera she was speaking about without trying to figure out how to get there first.   

Here are some of the top tips that I found very useful:

You may remember a previous post of mine, "My arms aren't long enough", referring to my eyesight and how I now need reading glasses.  When I take close up shots, I usually have the camera on auto focus because I don't want my photos to come out blurry if I'm not wearing my reading glasses.

But on manual focus....there's a problem.

Well, who knew what a 'diopter' was for?!  Certainly not I. 

It's the little, tiny dial right next to your view finder that......okay, sit down, this is huge!......You Can Adjust To Your Own Eyesight!!  What?! 

Just like reading glasses built in!  How did I not know this?

Another tip, the 'auto focus area modes,' you can change them to 'single area focus'.  This is another biggie for me.  I now have only the center mode turned on for auto focus.  So all I need to do is point that center mode on what I want to focus on and not worry about the other modes auto focusing at the same time.  The center mode is doing the job.

Many times I'll hold my shutter down half way to auto focus on a subject and while still holding down the shutter half way, re-frame my photo so my focused object is not in the center of the frame and when I'm ready, press the shutter the rest of the way down to snap the photo.  So having only one mode 'on' is going to make my life much easier when taking photos.

Flash:  turn off when indoors {which I like to do already} and turn it on outdoors, on a sunny day, if you're dealing with shadows and high contrast.  If you're taking a portrait photo outside and your subjects face is dark, turn the flash on and it become bright for your shot.

White Balance.  My camera has it, as do most digital cameras.  Do I use it, no but I will now.  For instance if taking a photo of a sunset, turn your WB on 'cloudy' and it will 'warm' up your photo, leaving a brighter sunset pic. 

WB has many different settings to use, depending on the lighting you're shooting in.  Use this feature and do less with your photo editing program.  It saves time.  Just don't forget to adjust it when in a different setting.

Continuous Shooting or 'Sports Mode':  Definitely want to use this mode for action shots.  This will allow you to shoot pics continuously with one press and hold down of the shutter, without blurring.

Your manual is your best friend, if you've lost yours, you can probably download it online.

Now I can't wait for the next level class!

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