Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting to Know Your Camera

Yesterday, I told you how I hope to improve my photography by using the book Digital Workbook for Dummies.

Today I'll update you on my progress through the book. If you're also interested in improving as an amateur photographer, leave a comment so we can help each other through the learning process. There's just nothing as exciting as the blind leading the blind helping each other learn new things.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the book contains step-by-step tasks for dummies like me to learn how to get that DSLR off the auto setting and use it the way it was intended. Chapter 1 is about learning your way around your camera and becoming familiar with its basic settings. I've had my Canon EOS Rebel T3    for several months now, so to a certain extent I'm familiar with the settings. That doesn't mean I'm comfortable using them, so let's work our way through the chapter.

The first exercise helps you set your image size and quality. DSLR cameras give you the option of shooting in RAW or JPEG or both. There are several things to consider when choosing  your format. Eventually you'll need to have your picture in JPEG, so it would seem to make sense to just shoot them that way in the first place. If you shoot in RAW, you will have to use software to convert the pictures before uploading them to Facebook or your favorite photo sharing site such as Flickr. Also, JPEG files take up less room on your camera's memory card.

So why would you want to shoot in RAW? Mainly because shooting in RAW gives you more flexibility in processing your photos in your editing software. I like to shoot in RAW because I still can't trust myself to get my white balance and my exposure right. These are really easy to correct in the Photoshop software when using the RAW format.

The other setting in this exercise is the image size. The image size you choose depends on the use you intend for the photo. Using a smaller image size gives you room for more pictures on your memory card, but limits the ways you can use the photos. Exercise 1.1 helps you decide what size you should choose. My decision is to shoot large files in RAW format. I also carry extra memory cards. This gives me the ultimate in flexibility in processing and using my files.

What size and quality settings do you use? Why?
 Other posts in this series:
Amateur Photography Blogging
Focal Length
Changing Lenses