Digital SLR Photography Tips

Michele Wanke
Man with cameras

Applying solid digital SLR photography tips to your daily shooting can really enhance the quality of your pictures.

Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera

The more familiar you are with your camera, the better you will be able to use it to take frame worthy images. This is especially true with professional grade digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR), which are equipped with advanced features not found on standard point-and-shoot digital cameras.

The design of a DSLR allows it to accommodate a variety of lenses. This is the biggest reason why serious photographers prefer DSLR cameras. However, it is not the only reason. Most avid photographers also enjoy experimenting with manual settings and removable flash units afforded by DSLRs. Still, having all the bells and whistles featured on a DSLR camera doesn't mean that you will take spectacular shots every time you press the shutter button.

Digital SLR Photography Tips

By incorporating digital SLR photography tips into your shooting regimen, you are more apt to snap breathtaking images. If you are serious about photography and have spent the extra money upgrading to a DSLR, then it pays to consider the following tips:

Experiment with Aperture

Aperture indicates how much of your subject will be in focus in a particular shot. Most DSLR cameras feature a manual setting that shows: P, A, S, and M. "A" stands for aperture. Low aperture means that only the foreground of your shot will be in focus, while the background will appear blurred. Conversely, a high aperture means that everything will be in focus. Experiment with high aperture when shooting landscapes. Likewise, try using a lower aperture when shooting close-ups and macro-photography.

Manipulate Shutter Speed

Manipulate the shutter speed on your DSLR when you are shooting action shots. Low shutter speed is especially useful to get sharp pictures from moving objects. You can also increase the shutter speed on your DSLR in order to capture more experimental pictures, such as with fireworks or car light trails.

Know About ISO

International Organization for Standardization or ISO is a setting on your DSLR that determines the film speed. Basically, the higher you set your ISO, the more light you allow in. If you are shooting with a DSLR, you should really familiarize yourself with ISO, as it is perhaps the single most important technical aspect of your camera.

If you are shooting at night or in a poorly lit room, you can achieve sharper images by increasing your ISO setting. To avoid excessive blurring when shooting with a high ISO, it is vital that you brace your camera. Use a tripod or set it on a table or chair. Stabilizing your camera will dramatically improve your shots in a low light situation.

Don't Be Afraid to Use Continuous Mode

If you've got it, use it. Most DSLRs come with a continuous mode, which comes in quite handy when shooting children, animals or insects. To avoid ending up with a series of blurred photos, place your digital camera in continuous mode and shoot in bursts. By taking a string of shots in continuous mode you can increase your chance of getting at least one sharp picture.

Don't Rely on Your LCD

With the majority of high-end DSLRs you have the luxury of instantly viewing your photos on a sharp LCD screen. However, it's important to remember that no matter how big the LCD screen is on your DSLR offers, it is only when you project your pictures on a larger screen that you will notice minute blurs and composition errors. Bottom line: Do not trust your DSLR's LCD. If you cannot view your shots on a larger screen right away, then zoom in to each spot of a given image on your LCD to check the image for errors.

Invest in Filters

Filters are simply lens extensions that attach onto your lens by small screws. If you have already invested in a high-end DSLR, then you might consider dropping a few more bucks to purchase a U/V filter. The filter protects your lens from direct sunlight and adds an extra layer of protection should you drop your lens. Other useful filters you might consider purchasing include:

  • Polarizing filter to decrease reflections
  • Colorizing filters to increase richness of color
  • IR filter to shoot in complete darkness

Less Is More

When you are shooting with a DLSR, keep it simple. Don't try to capture an inordinate amount of action in a single shot. Often it is better to keep your subject simple. Remember that overly complex backgrounds can ruin a picture. Consider sticking with a single subject, so as to not overwhelm the entire shot.

Digital SLR Photography Tips