Changing Focus

When you are first starting out in photography, it’s best to concentrate on the basics. After all, there’s no sense in trying to memorize all the nuances of advanced picture-taking if you can’t remember how to work something as simple as your camera’s zoom feature.

Getting to know your camera is the first step to snapping keepers. Resist the temptation to pitch your instruction manual just because you think you can work your camera by following the nifty icons plastered near the LCD screen. Granted, there are many features you can set on auto mode and still take decent photos, but as you get more comfortable with your shooting skills and more adept at working your camera, you will want to experiment with different modes.

For example, most beginners don’t bother to touch their camera’s white balance feature. Rather, they simply employ the auto white balance and go about their merry way. In most situations you can get away with doing this. However, if you are shooting in the shade or on a cloudy day you may notice that the colors in your photos are not as crisp as they could be. To fix this you need to adjust the white balance. Your camera’s manual will provide step-by-step instructions on how to do this. Or, if you are lucky, your camera will come equipped with a “Cloudy” setting which is identified by a cloud icon. By enabling this mode your camera will automatically add orange to compensate for the blue tint given off by the clouds.

Another camera feature beginners generally leave alone is the time and date stamp. The feature applies tiny numbers to the image listing the date and time the photo was snapped. While this feature is great to have if you plan to scrapbook the pictures, once you get a bit more advanced in the world of photography you may look at the numbers as an eye sore. When you get to that point, consider disabling the time and date stamp. The majority of new digital cameras will store the date and time information within the image file, without it appearing on the picture itself, so you have the means to look up when the photo was taken without having the date and time burned onto your prints.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.