Digital Photography Quick Tips

Top tips for using a digital camera

Written by Gail Bjork

Of the many valuable tips for new users of digital cameras, these five are at the top of the list.

Following these five important tips will help you obtain well focused and exposed, blur free images with a digital camera.

Read and refer to the manual

Camera user

It can be tempting to put the camera manual aside, but it contains important information about camera settings and features. Don’t try to take in too much at a time. Read enough to get a grasp on the basic functions of your camera, then refer to the manual as you’re ready to tackle new ones.

Shutter button

Using the shutter release buttonOne of the most common mistakes new digital camera users make is that they fail to press the shutter-release button correctly. It is a two step sequence: press the shutter button half-way to lock focus and exposure, then depress it fully to take the photo.

If the shutter button is used incorrectly, photos will be improperly exposed and focused or blurred due to camera shake. The two-step sequence also helps reduce shutter-lag, the delay the can occur between pressing the button and when a photo is actually taken.

Focus and recompose

Where you point the camera lens just prior to locking focus and exposure can just as important as pressing the shutter button correctly. For some shots when the main subject is off to one side, it may be necessary to lock focus on the subject and then recompose while still holding the shutter button halfway. This technique allows you to get a sharp and well exposed subject, while also taking in other interesting parts of a scene.

Watch out for camera shake

Even the slightest movement while taking a photo can cause blurred images, especially when shutter speeds are slow. To avoid camera movement, hold the camera firmly and press the shutter button smoothly and in proper sequence. Use a tripod or other camera support when taking photos in low light, zooming in with long focal lengths, or in places where flash photography is impractical.

Avoid noise

When increasing the ISO setting on a digital camera, the less light is needed to make an exposure. Higher ISO numbers are useful when taking photos in low light; however, a frequent consequence is that photos become “noisy.”

Image noise appears as randomly-spaced speckles and blotches that reduce photo clarity and detail. To avoid noise when taking photos in poor light, select a low ISO number and use a camera support.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

1 Comment

  • This is a great ‘easy to understand’ site. Now I am reading this, and have had explained to me what noise in a photo is, I feel confident enough to tackle the technical aspects of my photography. Thank you so much!