Just for Newbies

Your new digital camera and light

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

Advice for new digital camera users who want to take get beyond taking just snapshots.

Digital camera user After seeing their digital photos for the first time, many new digital camera users find themselves asking: “Is there something wrong with my camera?”

The answer to the question is usually NO!

Some of the problems they see in their photos are usually caused by two things: unfamiliarity with their camera and not understanding how to obtain proper exposure and focus. Here are some suggestions:

1. Become familiar with your digital camera

Just shoot away.

Take hundreds snapshots and don’t worry one iota if the pictures turn out yucky. Become familiar with camera settings, menus and modes. Keep the camera manual nearby to use as a reference when needed.

The purpose of this exercise is to become comfortable with your digital camera so it eventually becomes an extension of your hands. Before you know it, you’ll be concentrating more on subject matter than fumbling with the camera when taking photos.

A word of caution

Don’t get overwhelmed learning the numerous settings. First concentrate on the basic ones, then learn others only as you need them. Check out our Taking Photos and Camera Settings sections for easy-to-understand help learning about and using digital camera settings.

2. Understand light and how it affects exposure

The key to a great photograph is proper exposure. If an image has the best composition in the world, what does it matter if it’s poorly exposed?!!

Take plenty of practice shots of subjects and scenes in bright light, low light, back light. Take inside photos with and without a flash, and even outside with a flash (fill-in flash). There are many ways to control exposure but learning how to use focus and exposure-lock is fundamental. Learn this technique before any other.

It is well to ponder the words of one of the founders of Kodak, George Eastman:

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”