Archive for the ‘Got dSLR?’ Category

Got dSLR? How I set up my shots

After clicking my camera to “On”, I always set my ISO to the minimum my camera can be on which is 100 because even in a little bit of shade during daylight, I find the shutter speed can be set fast enough to be handheld.

Next I check that my white balance is set to “Daylight” (I used to set it to “Cloudy” every time to get a warm, lively effect but I do that can be done in post production)

Once I figure out what will be my subject and take care in composing the shot so that the background isn’t too distracting, I set the F-stop to be the widest aperture the lens is capable of.  In this photo, it’s F/2.  I then keep cranking up the F-stop value until most of the subject is in focus.  I find that if I just use the widest aperture everytime, only a small portion of the subject is in focus.  There’s a little button on the front of my D80 that shows me a preview of depth of field before I fire off a few shots.

When I’m happy with my aperture settings, all that’s left is to expose the shot correctly so I then use the inbuilt light meter on my camera to set the appropriate shutter speed and fire a test shot, then check the display, and then adjust the shutter speed again accordingly.

If the shutter speed is starting to get too slow for handheld, I crank up the ISO one stop at a time.  The general rule of thumb for handheld shutter speeds is “1/focal length” so in this case, I’m using a 35mm prime lens so if I find that my shutter speed is starting to get near or slower than 1/35, I sacrifice some of the image quality by increasing the ISO which will also increase the amount of noise in the picture (in most cases, people don’t even notice a little bit of noise unless it’s something ridulous).
Then if I’m at my max ISO, slow shutter speed, the last thing I will adjust if I have to is the aperture.  Anything beyond that, I know I need to get the tripod out because if the ISO is maxed out, the aperture is maxed out, the only thing left is shutter speed… a very slow one!

If you found this information useful/less to your own photography, leave me a comment :)