A few of you may have received the gift of a new digital camera for Christmas. Some may have received a new lens or a camera accessory. My recommendation, read your owner’s manual.
It doesn’t matter whether your camera is large or small, it came with an owner’s manual. Learn the functions of your camera. Of course, the larger the camera, the larger the owner’s manual and the possibility the camera has plenty of bells and whistles.
As you’re reading the manual, have the camera or accessory on hand and experiment. With my students, I stress to them to read their owner’s manuals and make themselves familiar with the settings for both automatic and manual. Especially the manual setting. Get to know the function of each of the buttons and menu items.
I recommended sitting near a large window with natural light streaming in and sit in a comfy chair. Kick your feet up and have a glass of wine as you read your owner’s manual. Or, whatever beverage suits you and you’re of legal age.
As you go through the settings, photograph your feet or objects that are close to you, far away and the whole room. It won’t cost you a thing. Shoot in auto mode and manual mode. Experiment with settings for color balance, flash fill, depth-of-field and exposure control as you read the manual.
Become familiar with the histogram. Know what the histogram is, what it does and how to read it. Know how to compensate the exposure to get an acceptable histogram reading and how to adjust the levels.
It doesn’t cost you a cent to take a lot of photos. You can delete the images later. It’s not like the film days when I purchased a new camera and put a roll of film in the camera. I took a few photos and then processed the film. The film indicated if the camera had light leaks, the lens and focus were working and exposure was pretty close to the built-in light meter. I had to purchase the film, the chemicals and the tanks for processing film. Taking digital photos, even bad experimental photos as you familiarize yourself with your camera, is inexpensive.
Experiment in the modes and selections as you go through your manual.
Get to the point that you own the camera and you won’t feel like your camera owns you.
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