Basic Techniques

Shutter-release button

Written by Gail Bjork

One of the very first things you need to learn as a new digital camera owner is to use the two-step shutter-release button correctly.

Shutter buttonUsing the shutter-release button on a digital camera is quite different than using one on a film camera. The difference is important to understand.

If you don’t press the button in the right sequence, photos will be improperly exposed and focused. Pressing the shutter button down correctly helps prevent camera shake. Even the slightest movement during the record time of a shot can cause blurred images.

Two step process

Using a digital camera shutter release buttonWith a film camera, the shutter button is pressed down in a single step. However, it’s a two step process with a digital camera. When the shutter button is pressed half-way, exposure and focus are locked as long as you hold it in that position.

Controlling focus and exposure

Use the first stage of pressing the shutter button to gain more control over where the camera actually focuses and exposes. Once locked correctly, take the photo. When focus and exposure are achieved, keep holding the button down halfway if you must recompose. Some digital cameras have a setting that lets you lock focus and exposure independently.

Confirming focus and exposure lock

An indicator on the LCD, electronic viewfinder or a light on the camera near an optical viewfinder glows steadily to confirm the lock. Once the camera confirms focus and exposure, then fully depress the shutter button to take the shot.

All digital camera manuals contain instructions about this important technique. Practice until you get the rhythm of the sequence and using it becomes second nature.

Two step shutter release

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.