New Camera For Christmas?? December 26 2011, 0 Comments

Now that you have gotten that "to die for" camera for Christmas, learn how to use it!! Read the manual. It will be your new best friend. And then learn about exposure. Photography is all about light. And light is EXPOSURE!

Exposure is the amount of light that is allowed to hit the sensor of your camera over a given period of time. Time in this case is a fraction of a second to a couple of seconds depending on your situation. To expose a photograph properly, you need to ask yourself a couple of things...How much existing or ambient light do I have? Does the image involve motion? Do I have a tripod? Once you have the answers to these questions you can set, the F-STOP, Shutter Speed and ISO.

The F-Stop is again the amount of light you allow through your lens which hits your camera sensor. The smaller the number, the more light you are allowing in. So, if you are in a setting that is fairly dark, you will want to set your F-Stop at F3.5, 3.2 or 2.8.  

Pair your F-Stop with a shutter speed, that is how long you will allow the light to hit your camera sensor. In low light, you will want to set this at 100 or 80 to start with. If you have a tripod, you can set your shutter speed at 60 or below. 

Thirdly, you will need to assign an ISO. That is the same as film speed. In low light start at an ISO of 400. Digital cameras have come a long way in choosing ISO speeds. And if you still need more light  you can kick it up to ISO of 640 or 800.

In bright light conditions, you will want to allow less light to hit your senor for a shorter period of time. Start by setting your F-Stop to F8, 11, 14. Digital cameras will also allow you to set your camera at 1/2 stops or 1/3 stops. So perhaps you have your camera set at F8 but you only need to let a bit more light in, so, change your F-Stop to F9 or F10. 

Your shutter speed in bright light is also going to be faster than in low light. Start by setting your shutter speed at 125. Set your ISO at 100. 

Finally, you will need to assign a color temperature. Most digital cameras have icons on a dial so that if you are out in the sun, you choose the "sun" icon. On a cloudy day, choose the "cloud" icon. These a great places to start. You can learn how to interchange the icons after you feel comfortable setting your exposure.

All of these points are merely places to start when learning about exposure. Your goal is to capture the light in the most natural setting possible.  I still use a hand held light meter to measure the light I am in before I set my F-Stop, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Although at this point, I can usually tell just by looking at the light I am in, how to set my camera up.

In the beginning you will want to practice setting exposures by changing your F-Stop and Shutter Speed, and ISO so that you can see the difference in how light or how dark the image is once you have taken it. Experiment. Practice, Practice, Practice.