Ultimate guide for Mastering Digital Camera Manually

digital camera settings panel

If you aren’t experienced with the camera, or you don’t have any formal training in photography, then it may seem that using manual settings to control your camera isn’t your ground.

No doubt that Auto and Semi-Auto modes are great for beginners and give you the ease of use, but once you explore the benefits of using Manual Mode, we are sure you are going to prefer it over Auto mode.

Manual mode is one of the critical settings of DSLR’s. There are three things you can fully control via manual mode: Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. All three features are essential in shaping the results of your image. All three shape ‘The Exposure Triangle.’ The exposure triangle controls the overall look of the image as well as brightness.

Controlling settings of your camera helps you to customize your image as per your requirement. You can have everything under your control, either it’s the look of your photo, or it’s brightness level.

In auto settings, settings of camera change as per conditions around the camera, and it takes you away from having your desired results. Still, if you are shooting in Manual settings, there is no way that your set shutter speed, aperture settings, and ISO settings change as per conditions or from one shot to another, until or unless you change them.

This post is going to be your ultimate guide to mastering the digital camera, and it can also be downloaded by clicking the green link.

You will find details about every aspect of your digital camera settings. Isn’t it an overwhelming idea to have full control of your device? No doubt it is, and this writing is going to put full effort into assisting you to gain such power.

With the advancement in cameras, now there are several buttons in the camera and several built-in settings for different features. Comparing manual settings to all these new modes, some users might think that using manual mode with advanced cameras is an old school.

No doubt those modes are high, easy to use, and modern, but they can never eliminate the importance of manual settings. No camera mode in the world is smart enough to capture as per user requirements on their own. The more you have the device under control, the more you can have desired results.

You can utilize all of your creativity with all the control in your hand. You can have more professional touch in your clicks. It is my observation that more you will get out of Auto modes, more artistic touch you can bring in your images. All you need is to master three natural elements of The Exposure Triangle.

EXPOSURE TRIANGLE:

Learning how to control the exposure triangle is vital to do wonders with manual settings of the digital camera. As explained in the introduction, the Exposure Triangle is made up of three sides; Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.

Just as all three sides of the triangle have to come together to form a triangular shape, the same all three elements of the exposure triangle must come together to give proper exposure (how bright or dark image is) to an image. Only manual mode allows you to control the exposure to obtain desirable results fully.

 

the exposure triangle

 

Let’s take a look at the details of these three elements of the exposure triangle for better understanding.

Aperture

Aperture controls the depth of field, i.e., how much the image is in sharp focus. It is the size of the circular hole in the lens that allows the amount of light to pass through it. The sharpness of the image varies as per the scope of this hole.

More specifically, the aperture of the camera is explained as ‘the aperture, and the optical length of the optical system determines the cone length of a bundle of rays that come to focus in the image plane. An optical system typically has many openings or structures that limit the ray bundles.’ It is equal to the focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of the glass.

The camera image sensor catches your shooting scene and focus on it when the shutter release button on the device is pressed. By controlling aperture manually, you can control the size of the hole, which determines the amount of light to pass through the lens.

It is essential because the amount of light reaching the sensor decides the brightness of the image. More light, more bright the image is. Manual control helps to achieve desire brightness.

Aperture size is measured or referred with ‘f-stops.’ F-stop or focal length/diameter directly depends on the size of the circular hole. Moving the f-stop by one point either doubles the exposure or halves it.

Increasing exposure by one stop means that you doubled the area of the opening, and now the double amount of light can pass as compared to the previous point. Decreasing the exposure by one point is when you half the amount of light reaching your sensor.

 

The Aperture explained

 

Beware not to get confused between apertures and their f-stop numbers. The larger openings are given smaller f-stop numbers, whereas smaller ones are given larger f-stops. Mastering f-stops manually will be a great help in controlling depth of field, another critical factor to consider for best results.

Aperture has significant impingement on the depth of the field. It is the area of the image, which will be the focus of your image. F-points and depth of field are directly proportional to each other. When there is a more significant depth of field, most of the image is focused, including both foreground and background.

More significant numbers of F-points (small aperture) will give you a considerable depth of field. Usually, landscapes are captured in this format. Opposite of large aperture is shallow or low depth of field. It is achieved by decreasing the number of F-points, i.e., increasing the opening and allowing more light to pass through. In these images, one part of the photograph is focused, and all other elements are blurred. It comes very handy in portrait photography.

Mastering aperture can be your key to master the exposure triangle. It will help you to utilize your artistic capabilities the way you want. Not only it controls the brightness of the image and depth of field, but aperture can be used as a powerful creative tool if used manually.

Shutter speed

Shutter speed is also an essential variable of the exposure triangle. It is also referred to as Exposure Time. It is the length of the time for which the digital sensor of the camera is exposed to the light or opening of the camera shutter when taking a photo. Simply, it can be explained as the amount of time for which a digital sensor faces the scene. Shutter speed is measured in seconds.

There are varieties of shutter speeds available in digital cameras. The most common available shutter speeds are 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8. The average shutter speed for the best results is 1/60. Below this, it becomes difficult to handle the camera. Increasing or decreasing shutter speed effects the final results.

Using longer shutter speed means exposing the camera sensor to the scene for a longer time. It can create specific outcomes such as motion blur. Motion blur means that moving objects will appear blur in the direction of the movement.

Quick shutter speed can freeze actions, i.e., eliminating motion from fast-moving objects. Slow shutter speed has its significance. It gives the sense of movement to the object you focus, whereas keeping the surroundings sharp.

As a photographer, fast shutter speed sounds fascinating, but what shutter speed is suitable is usually dependent on the circumstances of scenery. As explained earlier, the fast shutter speed will sacrifice the light and motion blur, but results are quick.

It gives the best outputs in well-illuminated conditions. Low shutter speed means more light reaching the lens because of more exposure, but the risk of motion blur. Motion blur is very useful to create artistic effects while keeping the surroundings sharp and clear.

In many car advertisements, motion blur is highly used to show the speed of cars, etc. It can be used in capturing water-scenery to add aesthetics such as waterfalls, flowing streams. When you are shooting in low light places, over-exposure is necessary, and in that case, low shutter speed is there to rescue.

 

The shutter speed in seconds

 

Focal length is another crucial factor to consider while choosing your SS. In case you do not have in-camera image stabilization, you are going to face camera shakes depending upon the focal length. Focal length must be considered while choosing your shutter speed. For longer focal lengths, faster shutter speeds are best and vice-versa.

Every person who starts using manual shutter speed keeps doing unique experiences with the shutter to find the best one. Usually, the shutter speed between 1/500th and 1/100th of the second turns out best. Neither it’s too fast nor too slow but moderate one.

When you are confused about what speed you should use, stop thinking, and use a number between these two limits, and results are going to be satisfactory. This speed limit is fast enough to slow down the moving objects, surroundings, and person, but on the other hand, it is not that fast that you are going to need to use a wide aperture or High ISO in well-illuminated conditions.

You can not enjoy the benefits of shutter speed from Auto or Semi-Auto modes. Though it is a game of a fraction of seconds but it can change the full look of your photograph. When you capture the image in auto or semi-auto mode, it might be the case that the camera settings are over-exposed or under-exposed for the results you are looking for.

Lighting is so important that it can change the overall look of a photograph. Shutter speed is one of the critical things controlling, which means that you’re being controlling light leading to the control over the final results of the image.

ISO

ISO represents the third point of the exposure triangle. Simply, it is said to be the sensitivity level of your digital camera to the light. More technical aspect is involved with it as compared to the previous two.

ISO determines the in-camera amplification of the light signals produced by specific scene luminance of the scenery, F-stop, and shutter speed while keeping the same sensitivity of the image sensor. It can also be defined as the digital equivalent of film speed. More film speed causes more sensitivity to the light.

Same as aperture and shutter speed, ISO ratings also range from highest to the lowest. The numbers determine the ISO value. Keeping ISO on a smaller number means that now your camera is less sensitive to the light. Generally, the values of 50, 100, and 200 are considered as lower values.

Higher the number of the ISO, the higher the level of sensitivity. Increasing its value by one time doubles the sensitivity of the sensor. Decreasing value one time halves the sensitivity of the camera sensor.

Low ISO readings and high one’s, both have separate significance. Increasing the ISO increases the sensitivity of the digital sensor and allows you to work with less lights. When you shoot with the manual mode in low light, and you are working with increased aperture and shutter speed, you won’t find any other option but to increase the ISO too.

 

The Camera ISO explained

 

But shooting on higher values of it comes with one drawback; noise increases and sharpness decreases caused by fluctuations in image signals. Noise, in this case, can be explained that with higher ISO’s, the image signal is generally close in magnitude to the noise; thus, noise entering the image.

On the other hand, low ISO ratings give out very different results. One advantage of the low ISO is that the light given in exposure is more accurately represented.

The best thing about this side of the exposure triangle is that you don’t need to set ISO again and again. In case you are shooting in the same lighting conditions, you don’t need to change it until the lighting conditions change. Usually, it is also seen that even in Manual mode, photographers seem to prefer ISO in automatic mode.

We also highly recommend it. For example, if you are shooting inside, lighting levels can still fluctuate. In that case, automatic ISO can be helpful and makes shooting an easy job.

Using ISO might seem technical, but once you do it, you can achieve beautiful results. The light sensitivity of the sensor matters a lot when it comes to the outcome of your image. Once you learn to deal with light sensitivity via ISO, you can create different effects, and you will become pro in handling the camera in various types of lighting conditions.

It must not come to you as a surprise that the first important thing for a photographer is to have a camera, and the second important thing is lighting conditions. ISO settings assist photographers with both camera and lighting conditions.

Download photos

Few standard exposure settings:

Now you know in detail about all the three sides of the exposure triangle, knowing these quick exposure settings will be useful for you.

  • Urban, Street, and Landscape photography: it needs just an ample space and sharp focus. Low aperture settings, lower shutter speed, lower ISO, and you are good to go.
  • Vintage look: using the high ISO can result in classic vintage look photographs. In this scenario, aperture and shutter speed will depend on lighting conditions.
  • Low light situations: you can get pretty good pictures even in low light by keeping ISO high, aperture wide, shutter speed slow.
  • Action shooting: higher ISO and faster shutter speed works best for action shooting. It can freeze motion, create crisp, and delivers a more crisp image than usual.
  • Portraits: for portraits, the best combination of the exposure triangle is high aperture settings, faster shutter speed, and lower ISO.

OTHER CAMERA SETTINGS:

The exposure triangle is just the basics from the world of manual settings of the digital camera. You need to master a lot more stuff to master the digital camera.

There are white balance settings, histograms, rule of third, Mlu and bracketing, camera focus, the center of confusion, metering, and a lot more. Every factor from these settings impact the camera operation and final results. The exposure triangle is just a primary aspect.

No matter it controls the look of the image, but for full control, much more is needed to be mastered. Perfect artistic touch can not be achieved in your photographs if you just stick to ET and ignore all other aspects of manual mode. You can take exceptional pictures from others by developing intuitive knowledge about applying different fundamentals of manual control.

Correct color settings and lighting conditions are crucial elements to ensure the quality of the image. Usually, photographers face the issue of image being underexposed or overexposed. Incorrect camera settings produce these issues.

You can focus on elements of the exposure triangle and ignore other manual settings, but this way, you can not achieve a perfect image. You just have to spend a little amount of your time once in a while on these settings and results are overwhelming.

In general, you can manually set most of these settings once and then prioritize the sides of the exposure triangle, and you are good to go. We are going to explain settings other than Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed so you can understand better about their importance and how you can utilize them effectively for best results.

Rule of Third

In our ultimate guide for mastering digital cameras, we will explain one of the most common but important rules of photography called The Rule of Thirds. It is straightforward to learn and apply. The rule of third is the type of composition in which an image is evenly divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines or along one of the lines itself.

Simply, you can say that it is the rule about having nine parts of an image by breaking it into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Learning the rule of third is essential for photographers to create well-balanced and appealing shots.

 

Rule of thirds butterflies image

 

The rule of thirds suggests that instead of placing the subject in the center, you should divide the image into thirds, and the subject should be placed in one of those sides to create a sharper image. For a balanced and robust image, some photographs use more than one point from 9 parts of the rule of the third while some use a single line or point from overall composition and let other elements to fall freely wherever they want to fall.

Usually, the four intersection points of these thirds are where subjects and their sharp compositional lines of the image are placed to a perfectly balanced picture.

This rule also states that the model on which the rule of third is applied, the viewer of that image can interact with it more naturally. This is stated as a result of several studies which results showed that when a person is viewing an image, typically his eyes go to the one of the interaction point rather than the center point of the shoot.

Applying this rule just goes with the natural way of viewing an image. Application of the law by placing the subject on the intersection of dividing lines of thirds can be a great help if you want to grab more attention from the viewer.

Is the rule of thirds important? This question must be arising in your mind. It might come to you as a surprise that several photographers do not know about it and do not intend to apply it, yet they are often using this rule in a very fair manner.

Photographers who don’t have proper education about photography, they don’t know there is something like thirds, and it’s rule still they are using it without thinking about it. It is just a single composition technique for them from many of them.

 

Rule of thirds butterfly image

 

If you break this law, it doesn’t mean that you are going to have unbalanced images. You can still balance the picture, but your results will not be that perfect, which you can get by applying the rule of third. In short, you can say that using the law is beneficial for your image results, but breaking it would not cost you anything.

There is a famous quote that: “for breaking the law, you must know the law first.” That’s precisely what we recommend here. You can break this law, but if you are a professional photographer, you must know about it and its applications.

In case you want to break it, it’s not a very difficult job. This rule can be break by framing an image in a way that subjects or lines do not fall on the areas of thirds. After breaking the law, a successful image can still be created as long as lines and other elements are highlighting the subject of the picture.

Photographers can use different aspects besides thirds to capture the attention of the viewer, i.e., color contrast, photography symmetry, angle of image, et cetera.

This rule is also significant for the editing of the photos. And honestly, it is not very important at the time of capture but editing. Cropping and reframing images to fit in the thirds of the rule adds up in the final results. You can also find several editing programs and software with proper cropping tools available in the market to reframe the snap with in the rule.

This rule is more of a set of guidelines. In the aspect of the composition of your image, it enhances the quality of the picture, unlike any other rule of photography. So it is highly recommended to learn the application of the rule of thirds.

White balance

White balance is also referred to as color balance, grey balance, and neutral balance. It is the global adjustment of the intensities of the colors of images to render the specific colors, mainly neutral colors correctly. Using white balance correctly, a photographer can capture an image with natural-looking colors regardless of the conditions around him.

White balance works as a process, a process of removing the color casts which might appear un-natural to make sure that the objects which appear which in person are also rendered as white in the photograph. White balance does so by taking account of the color temperature (warmth or coolness of the white light) of the light source.

The majority of the photographers use it regularly to counteract orange/yellow color emerging from artificial light sources.

Colors play an essential role in the overall look of the image. Using the right white balance settings, you can control colors in the image by eliminating the unwanted color casts under different situations, which can affect and make pictures appear unnatural.

 

the white balance

 

Most of the time, the colors in your photos will look pretty close to the way they looked in real life. However, your camera is easily confused and can sometimes make the colors too warm or too cold. Auto modes try to guess the right colors, but they are not always right.

Using manual white balance settings, you can eliminate this problem. Photographers need to understand the white balance or color cast can ruin your perfect image.

Using manual white balance, you are customizing your own as per your preference. It will enable you to take your photos to the next level. In the process of customizing it, the primary thing is to understand the environment (choice of coolness or warmness depends on the situation).

You can do so by holding your sensor in front of any white surface or whitepaper in that environment and then adjust the kelvin setting to a higher number (cold) or a lower number (warm) until the piece of paper looks like a white to your naked eye. Live view can also help in understanding the temperature.

Your white balance setting can be accessed either in your camera’s menu system or using a dedicated button labeled “WB” on your camera’s body. Hold it down/press it, and you will be able to scroll through the different icons representing different lighting situations.

Professional-level cameras often have a dedicated button to access white balance presets. On lower-level cameras, you may well find you can choose presets from the menu system. You can find this in the shooting settings. Setting white balance manually involves taking a photo of something white or mid-gray in the same light, which is the source of light for your subject.

After this, you select your camera’s Custom White Balance mode and tell the camera to use the photo you just took of the white or mid-gray content as a reference. Once the reference photo is displayed, press the “SET” button, in the middle of the rear thumbwheel, again.

Your camera will now use the white balance derived from this reference photo for all future photos, until you switch white balance modes, or show your digital camera another reference photo.

 

White ballance values

 

In manual control of white balance, for precise control of your camera’s white balance, some cameras allow you to select a specific color temperature from the Kelvin scale. The values are usually mentioned in the camera’s user manual about how to do this with your particular camera model.

In case you cannot find in the manual, you can look up for universal values of the temperature of the Kelvin scale. They generally apply to all white balance settings.

Try to practice the above-explained method of manually controlling WB. The unbalanced settings will leave the color cast on your image spoiling look of the image, no matter how perfectly balanced other parameters of the camera are. As good as camera Auto WB is, it is not perfect.

With an ample amount of practice, you can learn how to tell your camera to use a reference photo to choose a more accurate white balance setting for the scene you wanted to photograph. It will give you maximum control.

We recommend you to master the exposure triangle first, and then study the white camera balance as the next step. Take the time to practice it. Once you develop an understanding of how the color of light effects, you can control the way your image looks.

Histogram

Histogram is a tool that helps you to get the correct exposure for the image. The technical definition for the histogram is a bar graph of a frequency distribution in which the widths of the bars are proportional to the classes into which the variable has been divided, and the heights of the bars are comparable to the class frequencies.

If you are trouble in understanding it, you can simply say that tonal values of your image are graphically represented via histograms. It graphically represented the pixels exposed in your image to the brightness.

On a histogram, different sides of a graph shows a separate message. The left side of the chart shows shadows and blacks (low light), highlights and bright sides are represented by the right sides, mid-tones are represented by the middle section, and peaks on the graph represent the tally of pixels in that particular zone.

Histogram gives complete information about the number of tones of specific brightness found in your photograph ranging from black (0% brightness) to white (100% brightness). We can use it to fine-tune and evaluate our exposure precisely.

 

Understand histograms

 

The histograms are usually represented in their respective colors. New-age digital cameras have four types of histograms; luminosity histogram, red-sensitive pixels, blue-sensitive pixels, and green-sensitive pixels. The last three histograms are collectively referred to as color histograms, and they are displayed in their respective colors.

Luminosity histogram is the primary and most used one. In most of the cameras, the histogram will come up when you press your camera’s display, info, or directional menu-pad buttons. If you cannot open it via these options, you can find it in manual settings.

As this article is all about mastering digital camera using manual mode, it also makes histogram essential for us. The graph of the histogram shows you how much of your scene will record as a shadow, how much as a highlight, and how much in between.

It gives detailed information on the exposure of the camera. Using manual mode, when you adjust your camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO manually, the histogram graph will show you details of exposure. You can quickly evaluate that either brightness is as per your requirements, or it is over-exposed / under-exposed.

You can effectively utilize the feature of histogram, three things are required:

  1. Knowing how to read the histogram
  2. Knowing what kind of brightness, darkness, and contrast is needed by your image
  3. Knowing what you are trying to produce

Learning how to read a histogram is essential to utilize it better. You can understand combinations better by identifying what your graph is depicting. When you see most of the chart towards the right, it means your image is over-exposed or high-key as in technical terms.

The majority of graph body towards left shows that the image is under-exposed or low-key. If most of the graph is in the middle, it shows that id tones are dominant in photographs. It is a U-shaped graph.

Errors of exposure can also find out by histograms. Important information about the image is shown via the figure of the histogram. Clipping is a thing that shows the loss of detail. A histogram is referred to as clipped when a specific portion on the graph is touching either edge.

Highlight clipping is when the graph is reaching the right side showing areas that are entirely white or missing the detail. It is because of over-exposure. Shadow clipping is when the graph is moving the left edge because of under-exposure showing the areas with missing information and completely black.

 

the photography histograms

 

Clipping represents the loss of data from that region of the image. Shadow clipping is usually much more noticeable on the histogram as compared to highlight clipping since there is often a buildup of data on the left side of the scale that reaches the left edge.

Highlight clipping can be a bit more subtle and technical aspect, as only a small tally of pixels in the image might be blown-out highlights. Clipping can be adjusted by adjusting exposure settings using the exposure triangle.

Histograms can give you plenty of information about your exposure settings, but you should not solely depend on it for evaluating your exposure settings. There are many factors on which correctness of exposure depends, but you can always refer to it to know that whether you clipped any detail, tones detail of image et cetera.

It can be your perfect companion while exploring the manual mode of your digital camera.

Depth of field

It is one of the critical phenomena in digital photography. It is defined as the distance between the nearest and the farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image calculated based on focal length, distance to subject, the acceptable circle of confusion size, and aperture.

Photographers tend to adjust it via the aperture, but there is much more of DoF than this. Taking advantage of DoF can enhance the quality of the image.

In every picture, there is always an area of your image in front of and behind the subject that will appear in focus. Depth of field is the zone of sharpness within a photo that will appear in focus in front and behind of your subject. DoF varies from image to image.

 

Shallow depth field road

 

The aperture (f-stop), distance from the subject to the camera, and focal length of the lens on your camera are the factors that decide about it.

Two categories describe doF of an image:

  1. Shallow depth of field
  2. Deep depth of field

Shallow one is where the narrow zone of the image appears sharp and preferred by most of the photographers. It makes the focal point of image sharper and center of attention by blurring the details in the foreground and background of the subject.

It is advantageous in wildlife and sports photography for making the subject stand out from its surroundings. It can be useful in low light situations because shallow DoF requires increasing your aperture size, and this will automatically give you more light to your camera sensor.

In the deeper depth of field, most of the image appears sharp. It is the best choice when you are using a wide-angle lens for covering most of the area. Landscape photographers’ preference is this DoF for keeping the maximum area of scenery in focus. It can be achieved by keeping the aperture small.

You can remember about depth of field with the help of this key:

  • Small F-number -> Big Aperture -> Shallow Depth of Field
  • Large F-number -> Small Aperture -> Large Depth of Field

Manipulating the depth of the field between these two extremes is the key to controlling how someone viewing your photo sees what you were trying to capture. By manipulating the depth of field, for example, you can decide to keep the background in sharp focus. After all, you want the viewer to see the monument you’re standing in front of or gently blur the background into a soft backdrop for a portrait because you want the viewer to focus on the face of the person and not the hustle behind them.

 

The shallow depth field photography

 

Here are the few steps, master and manipulate the depth of field:

  • First and foremost, adjust the size of your aperture correctly. You can get more depth of field using smaller apertures. Aperture is dependent on f-points, and f-points play a massive role in the depth of field. If you want sharp DOF, avoid using wide apertures. When the aperture is wide open (smaller f-stop numbers), it causes the main focal point to be in focus while the rest of the photo is somewhat blurred. This blur is commonly known as bokeh in the photography world.
  • Keep in mind the distance from the focal point. The more you move closer to your main point of focus, the image’s depth of field decreases; moving further away increases the depth of field.
  • Choosing the right focal length for the eyes. At the same distance to your subject, the shorter the focal length of your lens, the higher your depth of field. With a longer telephoto lens, the depth of field decreases.

Having a prime lens with a large maximum aperture makes it easy to manipulate DoF. As aperture defines it as explained earlier. Being aware of the depth of the field is tremendous, and it can help you improve your photography with any kind of camera. Still, if you want to manipulate it consistently actively, you need a camera that allows you to show in aperture-priority or full manual mode to adjust the camera’s aperture.

Mlu and bracketing

Using MLU and bracketing correctly can help you to obtain the professional-level photos.

When you see a perfect image, it is not the only image captured at that time. Behind a great picture, there isn’t one shot but several. Multiple shots at the same time are captured using bracketing. It is a technique that enables the photographers to of taking several shots of the same subject using different camera settings.

This mode is found in most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Bracketing can make work of photographers easy when they have to take more than one shot in a sequence with adjustments made to each successive shot automatically.

Download pictures

Using bracketing to take multiple shots to increase the odds of creating a perfect image. Bracketing should not be confused with the burst mode though both can be used together. Some of the types of bracketing are:

  1. Exposure bracketing: it is highly used in HDR photography. With this mode, a set of photos are captured at a time, but every picture with different exposure. Because of varying exposure in every photo, each one appears different from others.
  2. Focus bracketing: in this mode, the focus is shifted for every image. It also involves merging different pictures taken with a slightly different focal length to increase the depth of field.
  3. Aperture bracketing: in this mode, several shots can be captured with different apertures. It is a helpful mode for people who don’t know how to use aperture.
  4. Flash photo: a method which captures photo with varying powers of flash
  5. White balance bracketing: the white balance bracketing captures a set of shots, but every shot different from others in terms of coolness or warmness level.

Either there is a dedicated button in cameras, or you can adjust it from settings. In settings, it is represented by the word bracketing, or the abbreviation BKT or AEB (auto exposure bracketing). You have to set bracketing mode manually and set the number that how many shots you want to take at one time and how much variation you want in aperture, white balance exposure, focus, etc. depending upon the model you choose.

Auto-bracketing is also present in modern DSLR. When set, it will automatically take several bracketed shots, rather than the photographer altering the settings by hand between each shot.

MLU, on the other hand, is the abbreviation of Mirror Lock-Up. It is a useful feature in many Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras to get sharper images. It makes the mirror flip up for a moment before you activate the shutter to eliminate the vibrations caused by the fast-flipping mirror can cause sharpness problems.

 

Mirror Lock Up setting

 

Using MLU, a photographer can reduce vibration-induced motion blur during exposure. It also allows the mounting of lenses that extend into the SLR’s mirror box when mounted. With the block of mirrors, you can minimize the vibrations, so they don’t mess-up with the sharpness of your shot.

MLU is used in the camera for very long, i.e., film days. It is effortless to use. When you are using MLU, you have to press the shutter button twice to capture the image. Upon pressing the first time, the camera raises the mirror. For the second time, it activates the sensor, and the camera proceeds to capture the photograph.

The mirror lock option is located at different places for different cameras. Generally, you can find it in custom settings or tools in general settings. If you don’t yet have a professional tripod and ball head, then MLU is one setting you should pay attention to when using the faster shutter speed. MLU shows the best results when used with tripods. Usually, a delay of 2 seconds will give most of the benefit of this feature.

Metering

Metering of digital cameras is referred to as how a camera measures exposure. The metering has several modes that allow the user to select the most appropriate one for use in a variety of lighting conditions. Camera Metering or Metering mode is present in almost every digital camera.

A photographer must have information about the metering so that he can achieve excellent results in unusual lighting conditions. Meter can read the levels of brightness. This helps to determine the perfect exposure by measuring the light or intensity of the scene you are trying to capture.

As we are talking all about manual mode, which is dependent on the exposure triangle, this also makes metering important. Metering meter of the camera helps you to determine the correct shutter speed and helps to decide what aperture should be, depending on the amount of light that goes into the camera and the ISO.

Automatic metering is useful but, to a certain extent only. To grow your photography abilities, learning metering modes is necessary. Good photograph revolves around stable lighting conditions and exposure, and these modes make tricky light conditions seem much less intimidating.

There are four main types of metering modes:

  1. Evaluative or Matrix metering mode
  2. Central weighted metering mode
  3. Partial metering mode
  4. Spot metering mode

Evaluative or Matrix mode is the default mode on most of the digital cameras. It works by dividing the entire frame into multiple areas or zones, which are then all analyzed on an individual basis for light and dark tones, i.e., for highlight and shadow (bright and dark) information.

Once that data is collected, it calculates the average value of exposure required. After analyzing these zones, the metering meter decides that to which area is essential to it. This area is the area of the image where you are focusing. The variables of the equation of metering or exposure calculation vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

In central weighted metering mode, instead of focusing on the whole frame, light in the middle of the frame is evaluated, and all other sides are ignored. Its main difference with the evaluative mode is that it analyzes the data from the zone where you are focusing on the image. In contrast, the central weighted mode concentrates only in the center, no matter you are focusing in that zone or not. The central portion of the frame can be 75% or more.

 

the metering on a dslr

 

Usually, the subject tends to be placed in the center of the image, so many professionals prefer it. Its level of accuracy is also better than other modes. You can also adjust the diameter of the central weight area.

As name shows, spot metering evaluates the light only around the spot, which is focused by the photographer. Beside that spot, everything else is ignored. The exposure is measured for a single zone, nothing else. The area measured is typically the center of the image, and it uses a 3 to a 7-degree range of measurement.

It is usually less than 5% of the area of the frame covering the spot only. This metering can be advantageous when you are capturing small objects, for example, a wildlife photographer capturing a bird or little species. In case your subject isn’t taking much space in the frame, central weighted or evaluative metering is never a good idea.

Partial metering is not very common. Few manufacturers add it to digital cameras. In partial metering, the built-in light meter will read the light from an area the size of 6-15 % of the center of the scene, depending on your camera manufacturer.

To change the metering mode, you must go through the settings of the camera as it varies from manufacturer to manufacture. Generally, in most of the devices, it is done through a key combination or a settings button, camera menu, or a dedicated metering button. The metering button is usually placed close to the top LCD. In settings, the Metering icon is represented by an eye-shaped graphic within a rectangle.

Using metering modes can be a great help in perfect results. These works best with well-illuminated conditions. You can choose the best-suited mode depending upon your subject and lighting conditions.

Generally, Center-weighted works best for the scenes that have high contrast and the primary subject to be correctly exposed. The Spot metering works best for back-lit subjects, and spot metering is best for tiny subjects.

Circle of confusion

In the photography world, a circle of confusion is known as an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. It is also known as a disk of confusion, circle of indistinctness, blur circle, or blur spot.

It is referred to as CoC and used as a tool to determine the depth of field. How sharp your lens is, it is directly related to the center of confusion. When you are controlling the depth of the field manually, you should have an understanding of CoC. COC also defines how much a point needs to be blurred to be perceived as unsharp.

When the circle of confusion becomes perceptible to our eyes, this region is said to be outside the depth of field and thus no longer “acceptably sharp.”

When an image is captured, usually one point is fully focused, and other areas besides the point of focus are less or partially focused. The degree of defocus (diameter of the COC) depends on the focal length, the aperture number of the lens, and the distance between the camera and object.

If the aperture of the camera is circular, the image of any point source is a small disk, known as the circle of confusion. The distance of 0.01 inches (upon enlargement) is considered as standard by camera manufacturers.

 

the circle of confusion example

 

The calculated value of the circle of confusion is available on the internet, but you can always use a calculator to calculate it for a specific shoot. While calculating this value, you must keep in mind the factors on which calculation of CoC depends. These factors are:

  1. The enlargement of the final image from the original. It means the expansion of the image from the initial capability of the sensor of your image. For example, if the size of the sensor of the camera is 24 x 36 mm, then the image produced beyond this size is enlargement. This influences your circle of confusion.
  2. The distance from which your final image will be viewed and captured. When an image is obtained from a distance, a blur spot can often be perceived as a singular point. As the range is reduced, the blur spot can be seen as a blur spot. The relationship between the blur spot and distance makes it essential to consider the distance between camera and subject while calculating CoC.
  3. The visual accuracy of the eyesight of the person viewing the image. This factor is necessary to consider, but it is not something that can be controlled. Visual acuity varies from person to person.

There is another term in COC known as a circle of least confusion. While focusing the subject, in the defocused area, the smallest spot that a lens can produce is often referred to as the circle of least confusion. Another common term related to COC is “acceptably sharp.”

It refers to sharpness to all the areas other than the subject, which are out of focus. In general, this might seem technical, but once you perfectly master it, you can enter the new world of creativity and aesthetics.

Camera focus

Ordinary photographers tend to use autofocus, but professional photographers know the importance of setting the focus of the lens by hand. Manual focus might sound old school to many people as compared to high-end digital SLR camera’s autofocus, but still, there is no replacement for it. Learning to shoot with manual focus is an essential part of learning to master the manual mode.

If the automatic mode is giving perfect results, then why exactly I need to use manual mode?!

This question must arise in the mind of any user who never experienced with manual focus. As the answer to this question, first and foremost thing you need to know that goal of automatic autofocus is only to make sure that light hits the sensor to produce the image, no matter over-exposed or under-exposed.

In automatic mode, the final look of the image is dependent on the built-in settings. Also, auto mode can never achieve the level of precision of manual mode besides causing several issues such as the focus on the wrong part of your subject, causing shutter lag if you don’t pre-focus, etc.

When you start using manual mode, you can feel that it is taking too long, but it is nothing in front of focus precision you are getting. Professional’s choice is always manual because of precise control over a shot’s focus.

Manual focus is the best choice for situations where the subject isn’t moving much, such as the macro, portrait, and low-light photography. It does not mean that manual focus can’t be used in action photography. You can always pre-focus the area you want to focus on in case of action photography.

Manual focus is controlled via a focus ring on the body of the camera. The information about focus mode is displayed on LCD of digital camera with other camera settings upon pressing the info button. Either you are an expert in using manual focus or learner, you need to keep few things in mind for focus precision. These things are:

  • Turning the focus ring on camera until the subject sharpens ultimately.
  • Fine-tune the focus until you feel that object is crystal-clear
  • Switching camera to live view mode

 

camera focus

 

Some optical scenarios are challenging for autofocus. In those conditions, using autofocus results in either focus on the wrong subject or no focus at all, resulting in blurry images. Macro and landscape are one of those situations. Here are few details about some of those conditions and user manual in those:

  • Crowded settings: in overcrowded environments, autofocus gets confused with the number of things that can be subject, and it makes it hard for it to identify what to focus, for example, shooting flowers in a field. Manually you can focus on the subject entirely.
  • Macro: it is a general understanding that manual focus takes more time than autofocus. It is wrong in the case of macro photography. The depth of field is shallow for macro shooting, which makes it difficult for the auto mode to find the point of focus. This difficulty leads auto to take more time than the manual, so it is better to use the manual in the first place.
  • Shooting condition with low illumination: either you are shooting with low light conditions or with a small aperture, it is difficult for autofocus. Low light is reaching the sensor of the digital camera, and results with autofocus are under-exposed images. In low light conditions, the best choice is to switch to manual focus and be sure to hold the camera very steady when you get your shot.
  • Landscape photography: an issue which is often seen in the images of landscape captured by not expert photographers is blurred scenery because autofocus found something in background or foreground to focus. This issue can be resolve by using manual. Just focus on something far in the distance while you’re in autofocus; this will force your lens to focus on infinity. Then, lock that focus by switching to manual before snapping your photo.
  • Street photography: with closing your focus and aperture, you can shoot continuously without changing either one of those settings. This makes it useful for street photography, where you have to capture a lot. Using manual focus, you won’t have to worry about changing the settings again and again for every image.

Devices we rely on for best images:

Either you are an immature photographer or a professional one, you can always enhance your images by using several accessories with your digital camera. In our ultimate guide for mastering digital cameras, we are dedicating a whole section about the gadgets and accessories, which can help you to expand your capability to capture exciting and innovative photography.

For a photographer, working conditions are continually changing, such as lighting is never the same; exposure is shifting from over to under et cetera. It truly depicts the proverb; the only change is permanent.

There is an incredible world of photographic gear out there that can assist you in every type of condition. Polarizing filters, tripod, lights, pair of batteries, dedicated lens, camera strap, camera backpack, memory cards, monopod, flashguns, light reflector, remote shutter release, battery charger, camera cleaning kit, card reader for memory card, power bank, lens cloth, lens covers, teleconverters, LCD viewfinder loupe are some of the accessories on which you can rely for best images.

Some of these accessories come with camera packaging, such as batteries. Purchasing all other accessories is also a good decision. It is just like an investment that would not cost you a fortune, but it pays back you a lot.

These devices are not only helping you to take better quality photos, but these can also enhance the life of your digital camera by protecting it and keep you shooting when disaster strikes.

In this section, you can find information about the most common accessories that can be used with your digital camera for better images and how you can use them. I hope it will help you in deciding what accessory you need to buy next from the full range of photographic equipment.

Tripod

Camera shakes are a common problem that results in a blurry image. Using a camera tripod gives you an instant increase in the sharpness and overall quality of your pictures by holding the camera in a still and precise position.

There are several tripods available in the market in different ranges, quality, price, and sizes. Even if you are short on your budget, very economical options of tripods are also available.

With the advancement in camera functionality, i.e., higher ISO, faster shutter speed, it is now necessary to own a tripod. If you do not own a tripod already, there are many benefits which you are missing.

Using a tripod, you can photograph in low light and long exposure. Have more stable and sharper images, can spend more time in capturing an image than instant handheld shots, frame and adjust shoots with ease, can facilitate your shot sharpness with minimal movement, and a lot more. After knowing about all these benefits, you must not have a second thought about buying it.

 

manfrotto190x pro3 overview

 

There are several options for tripods available in the market. Which one should you buy it? Which type compliments best your digital camera? Some of the categories which you can consider are:

  1. Tabletop tripod: these are the simplest tripods used with a compact camera. They are small in size, but because of this small size, shorter tripod legs give you better stability than long legs. You can also get a variety of angles to shoot macro photos, down close to the ground. There are three further types of tabletop tripods; Joby, wide-legs, pan-tilt head. They have limited use but are the best choice if you do not do much of outdoor shooting.
  2. Compact tripods: these tripods, also known as Travel tripods, suits most of the users. It is easy to carry around and extends to a pretty good height and readily available at a reasonable price.
  3. Full-size tripods: these tripods are best buddies of location and studio photographers. The extension limit of these tripods is longer than all other types. Often wheels are attached with them for smooth movement. These tripods are not the right choice for beginners and work best for professional studio photographers.
  4. Unique tripods: this category includes several tripods. These are Ultra tripod clamp, Tilting center post, Backpackers delight, video tripod, Flexible mini.

Most common tripods are available in two materials; carbon fiber or aluminum. Carbon fibers are lightweight and are usually very good at dampening vibrations and shocks. Their construction can save you around 30% of the weight. Aluminum ones are cheaper but heavier. Besides these two types, you can also find them in plastic and wood material.

Tripod you need depends upon the kind of shooting. Many people find the tripod heavy to carry around. A monopod (tripods with single leg) can be a great substitute as it is lighter and can hold up heavy cameras and lenses with ease.

When you are buying a tripod, here are the few things to keep in mind to choose the best one.

  • What is my budget to buy a tripod?
  • Is the tripod easy to use?
  • How much stability is it offering?
  • What is its weight?
  • How long it takes to set-up?
  • What is the maximum height of the tripod?
  • What is the contracted height of the tripod?
  • How much length of the tripod is my requirement?
  • What is the best available brand for my budget?
  • How much weight can the tripod support?

Consider these little points, and you can choose the best tripod for your digital camera. Tripods can hold your cameras steady enough to take a sharp photo using a given shutter speed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this the only reason to buy a tripod Owning a tripod can be an excellent addition to our camera equipment and should be used to your advantage in low light and when photographing longer exposures.

They will help you by providing more stability, slowing you down when taking pictures, and facilitating minimal movement when framing and capturing your shots.

Light

The most important thing in digital photography is lighting. A good photograph is all about utilizing light in the best way possible. No matter how much effort you are putting in capturing an image, only disturb lighting, and you are going to end up with a grainy picture.

Good photographers know that light is much more than how dark or bright your image is. A person can genuinely master the subtle art of photography when he is aware of how to take control of everything from natural light to flash.

Manual control is always the best option to correctly set the camera in a way to correctly expose the available light. Besides manual settings, all digital cameras have built-in flash to add additional light in your image while you capture it.

You can illuminate well using these two sources from digital cameras, but these are not good enough sometimes. External lighting sources can be your savior in such conditions.

The first step in figuring out what settings to use to take a photo is to measure the light. An accurate light measurement makes choosing exposure settings on your digital camera much more accessible. The more specific your analysis is, the image has more balanced exposure.

Artificial lighting is most famous for professionals. The tools which photographers commonly use to modify light are reflectors, diffusers, and Gobo. These tools can dramatically eliminate the issues of over-exposure and under-exposure.

 

flash photography

 

These tools are well capable of modifying the light you have available or the light you add with flashes and strobes. Here is a little introduction about these three standard tools:

  1. Reflectors: as the name shows, reflectors reflect the light. They bounce back the light when it hits the scene. There are lots of different types, sizes, and makes of the reflector, and they are usually not very costly. Reflectors generally come in the form of a circle covered in a reflective material often seen in shootings, but they can be a wall or ceiling. These are very easy to use, collapsible, and can fold up to a fraction of their size. These reflectors come in a variety of colors. Each color has a different effect. Gold reflector gives a warmer look and can be used to provide images of the impact of sunlight or sunset. Silver reflectors are widely used, and they reflect most of the light without changing the color of light. White reflectors make the light soft and do not reflect most of the light like others. Black reflectors absorb all light and don’t reflect at all. There are also mixed reflectors with multi-surface, which is usually based around a translucent diffuser panel. This is great for softening direct light.
  2. Diffusers: these are used to reduce the intensity of light. These are simple light modifiers. It attaches to the upper part of an external flash unit. It’s used to soften or spread the harsh, concentrated light that bursts out of the flash, creating a more even and flattering light on the subject. Soft boxed and shoot through umbrella are commonly used diffusers.
  3. Gobo: GOBO stands for ‘go-between object,’ and it’s merely a light modifier that goes between your light source and your subject to modify the light. Snoots, barn doors, and snits are commonly used Gobos.

If you are not using any artificial lighting source indoor, there is still a chance to have the right image in natural indoor lights if you utilize it well. Keep a few things in mind when you are dealing with indoor natural light such as:

  • Know well about the area from where natural light is entering the room, i.e., doors and windows
  • Avoid electric light with natural light
  • Wide-open your aperture
  • Use reflector or lightbox
  • Use mirror
  • Place subject close enough to the place from where light is entering
  • Use curtains if lighting is harsh

Filters

Lens filters are made up of glass or resin and serve many purposes in photography. They are attached to the body of the camera lens and usually restrict or modify the light reaching the sensor.

With the advancement in the industry of digital cameras, now in almost every camera has built-in filters encoded in software. Still, to date, no filter is good enough to replace the old school filters, which are attached by hand. Commonly, lens filters come in two types:

  1. Screw-in filters
  2. Slot-in filters

Screw-in filters are also called as circular filters. They are directly placed on the lens and fits directly on to the lens. Polarizers and UV filters are screw-in filters. The only problem with these filters is that they have a specific width. One filter which you bought for your lens might not fit on another lens. The more the lens you have more filters you are going to need.

Slot-in filters are costly than screw-in filters because they can be used with a variety of lenses. For this type of filter, a filter holder with interchangeable rings is placed on the lens adapter ring, and filters are dropped into the holder. Cooling filter, warming filter, and ND filters are the type of it.

Lens filters provide extra protection to the lens and alter characteristics of light passing through the lens, add special effects to images, enhance the colors, reduce reflections and glares, and fully or partially reduce the amount of light passing through the lens.

Filters can be made from glass, plastic, resin, polyester, and polycarbonate material. Glass filters are typical of the highest quality. Still, they are fragile and break easily as compared to plastic or resins made filters.

There is a wide range of uses of these camera lens filters, such as in cinematography, photography, and many other situations. Not only these filters protect camera lens but also enhance colors and contrast of pictures, reduce reflections, and help to get better optical performance from your lens in case of adverse lighting conditions.

No doubt, these filters are a must part of a professional digital photographer as they know that no amount of tools in the lightroom, Photoshop, and software-generated filters can replace quality introduced in the picture by lens filter.

 

UV filter for lens

 

A lens filter is a pure glass or resin, but it can give you multiple advantages. Camera lenses are usually costly, and the filter can protect it from damage. There are very cheap transparent filters available in the market for this purpose. And they are very effective in protecting the glass or lens against scratches, dust accumulation or water damage, and cracks.

Filters can alter or boost colors in the image. Proper exposure is the primary criterion for the right picture; filters can make exposure more aesthetic by correcting the color temperature of the scene. When you are using fast shutter speed, filters are the best thing to even and adjust the exposure. Filters do so by restricting the excess amount from entering into the lens. These are also helpful in avoiding several post-photography.

These glass elements can also be useful for increasing contrast in an image, creating more vivid colors, eliminating glare and distracting reflections from water and glassy surfaces. Filters can help you to enhance images. Special effect filters are specially designed for this purpose.

Sunset, sunrise, mist and fog effect, autumn tints, sky color altering, black and white, and few other effects can be created by using them. If you are a landscape photographer, specialist color temperature filters can be an excellent choice for you. These filters can alter the color temperature by changing color tone without color cast.

Here are those camera lens filters, which cover almost every type of photography needs. Also, it is mentioned with them which filter goes best with what kind of photography.

  1. UV and skylight filters –for all kinds of photography
  2. Polarizing filters or polarizers –all types
  3. Neutral density filters or NHD filters –landscape and flash photography
  4. Graduated neutral density filters or GND (Hard edge GND filter, Soft edge GND filter, Reverse GND filters) –landscape photography
  5. Colored filters –all
  6. Close-up filters –macro photography
  7. Special effect filters –all

Importance of a photography mate

Significant and vital events such as parties, conferences, theater, and sports require more than one photographer to have better coverage of the event. Among all the significant events, a wedding can be listed as the most important one. It can be a once in a lifetime day for the client.

Day of the wedding pass but it is the job of the wedding photographer to make the couple relive the day whenever they look at the photos. It is difficult to cover the event single-handedly, so the best thing is to work in a team or having an assistant.

Photography mate can provide invaluable support throughout the job, and he/she can perform similar tasks that the photographer was supposed to perform. In case your photography mate is your assistant and not a proper photographer, he can still be very helpful.

He performs the number of tasks to save the photographer’s time and help him to focus on photography only. These tasks are setting up and taking down equipment, fetching and carrying gear to and from the workplace, helping with the shoot itself, downloading/backing up digital image files, taking readings of the light intensity and other manual activity.

The assistant photographer is usually setting up and taking down equipment and dealing with manual stuff such as taking metering readings, so his expertise in manual settings is somewhat necessary.

They should also know photography tools and must know what the correct device to use in given scenarios because their duty includes the proper tools for the job to hand to the photographer is. A photographer should look for creativity, technical knowledge, level of understanding, and organization in the assistant before hiring him.

Working in a photography team, usually, all shooters are trained in the same style and given specifically designated roles. What a photography team can deliver; a single photographer can never do it. In a wedding, multiple angles apply, and every aspect can be relevant to the client. Every angle of them is essential, and a cohesive team will allow every critical moment, every important expression, to be captured.

There can be a single scene, but multiple pictures and each picture different from others. Because the more the teammates, the more they can capture images with different styles of lighting, different crops, or different angles can double or even triple the number of great pictures delivered to the client.

 

wedding group image

 

Several emotions are going in a single moment. For example, a bride walking downs the aisle. Bride’s feelings, groom’s anticipation, and then emotions at her arrival, families and friend’s emotions and reactions. A single person cannot save every moment with the eye of the lens.

When working in a team, photographers can specify their roles and, i.e., one photographer can stay with the bride, and others can focus on the groom and his surroundings.

When more than one photographer is working at one time, creativity is automatically doubled. The creativity of two people doing the same job simply works on the phenomena of one plus two is equals to two. When only one person is performing the job, he would prefer to play safe and stick to standard pictures.

When there are two or more, they can take a risk with different angles. The more the risk is, the more return. With the help of a teammate, you can capture more details.

Working with a teammate can also save a lot of post-production time. Especially in wedding photography, post-production work is very hectic and costs the bulk of the photographer’s time. Culling 2,000 to 3,000 images into a few hundred, perfecting them, and providing album designs takes up a lot of time. Working with a second, you can save as much of half of the time.

Adding more people to your team can, however, result in more stress and headaches. To ensure you keep your business running smoothly, ensure that everyone knows their work, there is effective communication in the team, and try to give photographers training about what you want from them and how you want them to work.

Importance of extra gear:

Photography is a vision, art, imagination, observation, exploring the world, and day to day to life with a camera. Photography is a powerful tool to tell a story, to share a moment, to spread information. Photography is a creative process and a way to express your idea through images and convey emotions to the viewer.

This process cannot be completed without the assistance of extra accessories such as a backpack, extra set of batteries, memory card for storage, cleaning kits, a spare lens that can complement the job you are performing, et cetera.

Digital camera in our life is also essential as it slows down the pace of life and freezes time. It tells a story, helps us find the beauty in our everyday lives, the beauty in the overlooked and under-appreciated, the beauty in wrinkles and sags and gray hairs, the beauty in ourselves. Holds a mirror up to humanity and shows us what’s real, what’s right, how unique we all are, and how much we have in common. It helps us remember our loved ones, remember that cute dress we wore to that party, remember that intimate conversation we had with our mom, or the shared laugh we had with our best friend.

To make moments extraordinary, along with the digital camera, many other things play an essential role in maintaining those moments. The considerations of such items should not be neglected, or else it would be destroyed.

The side items include a backpack, extra batteries, memory cards, cleaning kit, spare lens (prime, macro, etc.). Each one of these items holds a specific place and helps in making the images more impressive and remarkable. The foundation of the best photography skills depends on the availability of these items as well, importantly.

Even if you know a little bit about photography, you still can’t deny the importance of having side accessories with your digital. You should add these accessories to your equipment gallery. If you don’t want to spend your fair bit of money on buying numerous accessories, here are some must-have accessories that can help you with several devices.

  1. A backpack
  2. External hard drive
  3. Memory card reader
  4. Extra batteries
  5. Sensor cleaner
  6. Lens cleaner
  7. Sensor or lens cleaner solution
  8. Grey card
  9. Polarizing filters
  10. Extra lens
  11. Remote
  12. Tripod
  13. Strap
  14. Memory card holder
  15. Flash
  16. power bank

Let’s discuss the importance of the most important one of the items separately.

Starting from the backpack, it’s a cooler way to hold the items in it. Not just from the photography point of view but can also be used to hold other items as well. It is also imperative because it helps in accumulating all the necessary things that are needed for photography.

Being a fashion statement it also helps to secure the things well. The materials and the compartments help in holding the things well. It’s a convenient store that is affordable as well and easy to carry.

Being easily available, another important fact about them is that it balances the weight on the back, instead of putting it on the one side of the body only. The thick straps make it comfortable to carry and are distributes the weight evenly. In a rush hour moment, the multi-skilled pockets help a lot in holding up the things, from big to small and in a very organized manner.

The lens, camera, and small things would not get affected whenever the backpack has a fall. It’s a shock-absorbing bag and prevents fragile things from any harm. More so, if you are traveling, you can fit almost everything in the backpack from clothes to toothbrushes and everything you may need.

Coming towards the importance of batteries, a photographer should always have an extra battery to remain active while using the camera. It is obvious that most photographers do not want to add more weight and make their cameras bigger and bulkier, but often that is a sacrifice you may have to make.

And once you start using a battery grip, you won’t be able to go back to a camera without one. Most of the time, the battery of the camera can capture approx. 400 to 500 pictures. If only the camera mode is on pictures. If the same camera would be used for the video as well, it will deplete the battery further.

Having an extra battery is an important aspect when you are doing the photographing on tour, traveling, and other events such as weddings, receptions, or nature hikes.

To continue the capturing moments without losing a temper, the need for the extra battery that should be charged is really important. Stopping with the photography in the middle of an even or a tour just to recharge the battery is unprofessional and impractical.

A charged battery out of the camera will normally hold its full charge several days or more, and this behavior will allow the photographer to be ready at an instant to capture the moment without losing a sequence in between the event.

Along with this aspect, the battery grips also play an important role. Extra weight makes the camera heavier, but since that weight is placed under and behind the lens when you are using heavier lenses, it helps mitigate the front center of gravity and places less weight on your wrist.

Another factor instead of the heavyweight is that it may allow you to use the camera for longer periods. It helps in holding your vertical and horizontal shooting as well.

Not only cameras but the memory cards also play an important role in modern-day photography. This is because of the availability of storage they offer to us for pictures and videos. Although the performance of the memory cards also depends on the features, it encompasses, like write speed, read speed, warranty, reliability, etc.

There are several micro SD cards, as well. They are beneficial to have around and are cheap, so the photographers always make sure just to carry one or two just in case they need to use a micro SD card.

Having a proper photography kit is important to have marvelous pictures. But cleaning that kit is also important as it helps in making your picture natural and clearer. The information about the cleaning kit is necessary for all the photographers that would let them be better.

The dirt only leads to frustration in capturing the image but also take extra time in the editing stage. A proper kit is available for cleaning the lens, and if you’re considering buying any DSLR camera, don’t forget to buy the cleaning kit with it.

Regarding upgrading your photography skills, all you need is the use of a new lens or an extra lens. A good lens means everything in getting the right shot. It’s not just the amount of zoom you have or how wide it can get, but the quality of the glass, the maximum size of the aperture, and other characteristics.

Every lens has a different focal length and f stop that plays a role in capturing the images. Adjusting these two points with the help of your lens and making the correct use of lens according to the scenario makes the picture marvelous.

Cleaning Digital Camera:

If you’re fond of photography or take it as a profession, then you might have noticed dark spots which indicate that your sensors are dusty. Camera dust damages not only the image quality but also consumes too much time to edit out sensor dust.

To find out sensor dust, you just need to shoot a clear piece of paper or clear sky, and you will get the idea of how badly you need to clean your lens and sensors. It may seem difficult or complicated to eradicate the dust from the lens and sensor, but it is quite easy and simple.

This topic provides you a complete guide about general cleaning, cleaning lens and filters, cleaning camera sensors, and digital cleaning kits.

1. General Cleaning:

There are many variations in using tools to generally clear camera lens, filters, and sensors. However, few steps are universally accepted, which gives you comfort that you’re doing it rightly. Following are the general step to be followed:

  1. Location: Choose a clean environment with little air, must not be polluted.
  2. Battery: Fully charge your camera battery if it is not fully charged or less than half.
  3. Tools: Make your access easy for all the necessary tools.
  4. Cleaning Mode: Concern your manual and set the camera to cleaning mode.
  5. Position of Camera: Give easy and visible access to sensors, remove any attached lenses, and upside down the camera back on the flat surface.
  6. Use tools to clean camera:
  • Sensor Blower: Send a few puffs of air into the camera body while the camera is confronting downwards. After each puff, trust that any residue will settle out. When complete, you’ll as a rule likewise need to utilize one of the different apparatuses beneath.
  • Sensor Brush: Gently place the bristled finish of your brush at the edge of your camera sensor, and follow the movement appeared in the outline above. Apply without a doubt, extremely lightweight — significantly less than if one were painting — since sensor brushes work by electrostatically pulling in dust particles to their strands, and not by really scouring these off the sensor genuinely. Simply attempt to whisk away the residue.
  • Sensor Stamp: Gently press the cleaning end of this device against your camera sensor’s surface, yet abstain from hauling this over the surface since it can leave streaks or scratches. On the off chance that the stamp territory is littler than your sensor’s zone, use positions that limit the occasions it should be squeezed against the sensor.
  • Sensor Swab: Affix the cleaning tissue as far as possible of your cleaning instrument, and spot 2-3 drops of cleaning liquid on the tip of your device (if either wasn’t at that point played out how it came). Tenderly spot the tissue-secured end of your device on the edge of the sensor.

Check Cleaning: Turn your camera off and re-append your focal point, at that point step through an exam photograph of a smooth, light surface utilizing your focal point’s most elevated f-stop esteem. Counsel the “how to find sensor dust” directions toward the beginning of this instructional exercise for extra subtleties on playing out this progression.

If the rest of the residue is unsuitable, at that point, you’ll have to rehash the above advances — maybe by utilizing a progressively forceful device, for example, a sensor swab rather than a brush.

 

blower for cleaning lens, camera and sensor

 

2. Cleaning Lens and Filters:

The pieces of the focal point that are generally presented to the earth are the first component and the barrel of the focal point. An ideal approach to ensure the front element is to connect a top-notch channel.

The channel, for the most part substantially less costly than the focal point itself, will fill in as a guard that assimilates the gunk set out toward your expensive focal point optics. The channel will be cleaned similarly to some other focal point.

Brushes and blowers:

With regards to clean expulsion via air, the best strategy is to utilize a fan and to abstain from using packed air. Without a blower, you can generally blow on the focal point with your lung power; however, be careful with splashing your focal point with spit or your lunch.

A blower ought to be an obligatory gear in your DSLR camera pack for a sensor and focal point cleaning.

Material, Tissues, and Cleaners:

Focal point tissue is moderately cheap. One utilizes just, and it would be ideal if you Dispose of the fabric in the wake of cleaning your focal point.

Microfiber cleaning fabrics are famous too. Keep them clean, as they will probably be utilized for different cleanings, and you would prefer not to re-apply earth and grime or particles that may scratch your focal point.

On the off chance that you wash the material, abstain from utilizing fluid cleansing agents. Utilize your cotton T-shirt at your hazard. Once more, if the focal point needn’t bother with cleaning, don’t perfect it, yet on the off chance that you wind up isolated from your focal point cleaning rigging and need to evacuate a smirch, utilizing a clean 100% cotton T-shirt and warm breath isn’t the apocalypse.

 

cloth for lens

 

Once more, maintain a strategic distance from liquid cleansers. You will discover better (and more secure) results with committed focal point cleaning tissues and fabrics. Cotton swabs are a decent choice for cleaning and can be particularly compelling for cleaning the edges of a focal point.

Facial tissue isn’t suggested, as certain brands are grating, and others contain oils and moisturizers that can mark your focal points. Numerous focal point makers showcase uniquely detailed focal point cleaning arrangements intended to suit optical coatings.

Once more, these are generally modest, however, on the off chance that you need to make your answer, or store a 50-gallon drum of the stuff, the utilization of reagent-grade isopropyl liquor is suggested. De-ionized water is additionally protected. However, it is anything but a committed cleaner and, similar to dampness from warm breath, might be influential on water-dissolvable smirches.

Try not to utilize CH3)2CO. CH3)2CO is an incredible cleaner, at the same time, when used on-camera focal points, it could effetely affect the plastic and paint of the focal point barrel, just as the optical coatings. Once more, don’t utilize CH3)2CO.

Cleaning Technique

Cleaning in concentric circles will lessen the events of streaking more than working over the focal point. Working from the inside to the edge will move garbage to the sides of the focal point, away from the focal point of the picture hover, On the occasion, the articles don’t get evacuated. While cleaning, apply just enough strain to evacuate the culpable smear.

Focal point Cleaning Miscellany

On a DLSR (or SLR), when you glance through the viewfinder, ordinarily, you will see bunches of residue specs all through the picture. This residue is on the camera’s mirror, and won’t influence the photo.

The mirror can be cleaned, yet the silvering is exceptionally sensitive. Additionally, utilizing air blowers here may blow dust from your mirror onto your advanced sensor, which will influence picture quality.

A note to clients of game optics, telescopes, and night picture takers: be careful with investigating your focal point for tidiness with a shading sifted spotlight, as a portion of the earth and smears may not show up.

At last, you may clean your focal point mounts (camera and focal point) with a material and focal point cleaning arrangement. The computerized contacts that permit the focal point and camera to impart may require incidental cleaning.

Make sure to utilize an alternate fabric from that used for the optics, as cleaning a metal focal point mount to clean it might give minor metal flotsam and jetsam on the material that ought never to be acquainted with the glass.

3. Cleaning camera sensor: (next digital camera cleaning kit)

If you often see small dark spots in your images that seem to show up in every picture and at the same place, it means that your camera sensor needs cleaning. Theses dark spots are dust particles that end up getting sucked into the camera body while zooming in/out and focusing or focusing.

These dust particles show up in every image and ruin its quality, so it’s necessary to clean the sensor. It is also good to clean the camera sensor from time to time because sensor dust can never be seen through the viewfinder; it only shows up in images in the same spot.

While cleaning the sensor, make sure that your camera’s battery is fully charged. If it is not, a camera may turn off mid-clean. It can damage the sensor if it runs out of power. The items you require for sensor cleaning is sensor cleaning swabs, cleaning solution, bulb air blower, torch or headlamp, and sensor loupe.

You don’t need to buy them separately and just find some sensor cleaning kit as it has all of these items in it. Sensor cleaning kits are readily available in markets.

These are the three most important points to follow before starting the cleaning

– Fully charge battery

– Clean off the exterior of the camera

– Clean the workplace where you are going to clean the sensor

If you shoot mostly outdoors or you switch the lens of the camera regularly, then you should consider cleaning your sensor more often. As the dust cannot be seen with the naked eye, so before you start cleaning your camera sensor, make sure that this cleaning is required.

You can find out this using this secure method: set your camera to the lowest ISO it can go and then pick the smallest aperture and focus on a clean white piece of paper or any white surface. Enlarge that photo to 100 percent and check for spots or lines, which means there is a piece of lint.

You can always remove these spots in post-processing, but it is better to clean the sensor than spending extra time. If you happen upon something foreign on your lens, you will need an air squeeze bulb and a sensor scope. The sensor scope is a magnifying glass with a light to shine on the sensor.

 

cleaning the sensor with the blower

 

If you turn your camera downwards without any lenses attached and gives a quick burst from the air blower, it will dislodge any dust.

You can also wet-clean the sensor. Remove the lens and place the camera on a surface with the LCD facing the floor. Select the manual cleaning option to lock up the mirror, and before that, make sure the battery is fully charged.

Remove a sensor swab and blow air to remove any odd pieces of dust using air blower that may be stuck to the swab. Now put two or maximum three drops of cleaning solution on cleaning swab. Avoid putting more solutions; otherwise, oversaturating it can leave streaks on the sensor.

With excellent care, place the swab onto one side of the sensor and, with not too much force, gently move the swab across the sensor in one smooth and round motion. After reaching the other side, turn the swab over and repeat the process, Do this in one fluid motion with no great force.

After this, you can turn off the camera and replace the lens and take a test shot to inspect for dust. If you see some dust remains, then you will need to repeat the process, but it is essential to use another clean new swab. Do not reuse a swab.

4. Digital camera cleaning kit:

If your camera is dirty, not only will it mess up with the quality of your images, but also you will have to spend a lot of your time in post-production work. Some parts of a camera, such as a sensor and a lens, if they are not clean for long, it can destroy them, leading you to buy them all over again.

Buy a camera cleaning kit once, and you can stay away from these worries for a long time. Learning about the camera cleaning kit and its tools, you can easily clean your digital camera just like professionals. The professional cleaning kit not only helps you in keeping your camera clean but also prolongs the life of your digital camera. Besides, they allow you to clean the device without potentially and permanently damaging them.

Professionals often keep cleaning kits with them, but beginners usually think of it as a waste of money. They tend to ignore time to time cleaning of their equipment. This doesn’t sound any big deal, but it can even cost you’re your camera in the long term.

Decreasing image quality is another con of not cleaning the camera. Besides fingerprint marks, dirt, grease, and other substances, cameras have to deal with their most lethal enemy dust too. Dust tends to cause unwanted effects in our photographs from results similar to bokeh, and can even damage our gear if we work with manual focus.

The fact that dust is present everywhere, no matter if you are indoors, makes it essential for every camera owner to own a camera cleaning kit too.

There are several cleaning kits available in the market. Before buying any cleaning kit, make sure that it has essential tools, i.e., microfiber cloth, cleaning pen, lens brush, sheets of lens tissues, et cetera. Lens cleaning brush to sweep off debris, dust, and dirt from the camera should have soft bristles; otherwise, it can leave scratches.

 

the brush pen

 

Also, pay attention to cleaning liquids that come with the kit as some of them can be abrasive on the lens coating. Before using any tool, consult the directions of use in manual or learn about that tool somewhere else. Without proper knowledge of using these tools, you can cause severe damage to the device. For example, if your camera is exposed to the sand and you pass a cloth over it to remove it, the sand particles will be dragged along the surface of the glass lens, scratching it, which will result in permanent damage.

Also, beware when you are dealing with liquid solutions to clean your camera. If you use the extra amount of it or over-flood the swab, the chances are that you might end up damaging the interior of the device.

DSLRs are slightly trickier to clean than mirrorless cameras, as you’ll need first to lock the mirror up to access the sensor, and don’t forget to charge your camera’s battery beforehand fully, so be very careful with all tools and their usage.

If you are confused that which cleaning kit you should buy, contacting the manufacturer or retailer of your digital camera can help you. They will recommend a suitable cleaning kit for your device, instruct you on how to do so, and probably even sell you specific tools for the process.

You can also ask senior photographers or take help from the source of the internet. Investing in one of the best camera cleaning kits is essential no matter what brand or model of the camera you own.

We tried to elaborate on everything there is in our ultimate guide of mastering digital camera manually for cleaning your digital camera. For other things regarding camera settings, there are auto modes, but for cleaning cameras, there is no auto mode, and you have to do everything by hand.

It is also essential to learn it because your little mistake can destroy the lens or sensor, and if things go severe, you have to buy a brand new camera. Cleaning camera when there is visible dust is essential, but cleaning the camera from time to time, even if you feel that there is no such need to do so, can increase the life and better the results.

What did we learn from this guide?

In our ultimate guide of controlling digital camera manually, we explain most of the things you need to learn to become an expert of the manual settings. From the primary settings of camera known as exposure triangle to all secondary settings, from camera accessories importance to how to use them, from how you can clean your digital camera and with what you can clean your camera, everything is there in our ultimate guide.

Learning how to control the camera via manual settings, how you can keep your camera clean, which things can assist you for better results, it will immediately double up your creativity and your photography results.

Try to put some effort into exploring in manual settings. It might be difficult at first, but once you are going to have all of its benefits, you will never want to go back to the Auto mode!

 

Author: condruzmf

In love with photography!

4 thoughts on “Ultimate guide for Mastering Digital Camera Manually

  1. Truly fabulous post, I appreciate your detailing into every aspect of digital cameras. This post is like a mini-book, thanks for all the information 🙂

  2. This post literally has the best experienced with the camera. It never makes me feel bored. Either by writing down, or explaining things. Everything is explained perfectly. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *