10 Ways to Get the Most out of Your New DSLR Camera

So you went ahead and shelled out the cash to purchase a DSLR. Even the beginner and enthusiast grade DSLR’s can cost hundreds. You’ve made a genuine and significant investment. Don’t you want to know how to make the most out your new camera? Hopefully, this list will get you started.

1 – Know Your Camera.

You can achieve this by reading the manual, watching a tutorial video online, or by simply looking through all the menu options and playing with all of the settings. The manual might be the best place to start, as settings can be tricky to switch back if you don’t know what you’re doing.

2 – Learn about ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

These three basics are all you really need to master to be able to use any camera in the world. Each of these directly affects the image, its quality, its appearance, and the amount of light in an image. Getting familiar with these basics is fundamental. Do it now.

3 – Get Rid of Your Reliance on Auto Mode ASAP

We grew up using point-and-shoot cameras, cameras built into cell-phones, or single use throw-away cameras. Now we’ve graduated right? It’s time for us to stop using Auto-anything mode as a crutch. Switch that lever over to Manual. I know it will be rough in the beginning but keep at it.

4 – Avoid Using On-Camera Flash

There are some situations where you will need the on-board camera as a source of light or fill-flash, however to hone your skills you should turn it off. Once it’s off, it increases your reliance on proper technique and settings to get a picture to look good. This will also lead you to understanding light more, being able to keep the shutter open longer to get more light and a better image instead of flooding your subject with a head-on flash shot.

5 – Shoot Everything

No, not in the mass murder sense. Try taking pictures of people, animals, landscapes, architecture and try to get a better image each time.

6 – Shoot Every Day

You should take shots every day if possible. To think you will become a professional overnight is naïve and quite frankly an insult to all the great photographers out there that have been shooting for years. So get out there and do your thing!

7 – Shoot in RAW

Doing this will open you up to the world of Photoshop, Lightroom and other post-processing software. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to make cheesy over-processed images, but that you will begin to understand the power of RAW. RAW images contain a lot more data, and this creates a much better editing environment.

8 – Swap out your Kit Lens for a Prime Lens

Once you understand the above concepts and feel that you are limited by your kit lens, buy an inexpensive prime lens, say a 50 or 85mm F/1.8, those can be found by Canon or Nikon for $100 – $200 easily everywhere on the internet. Doing this will make you more flexible with lenses and help you achieve better images.

9 – Share Your Images With Others

Doing this will open you up to criticism. That’s exactly what you need in order to get better. You won’t know your worth and your skill until its under scrutiny.

10 – Get Familiar With Photoshop or Lightroom

The sooner you become exposed to post-processing software, the better. Now, as stated above you don’t have to use software to cover up sloppy images, but rather getting familiar with this software now to help your images get better. When you play with settings, filters, presets and all the tools in these programs you will become more aware of the quality of your image, and the raw file.