Friday, July 2, 2010

Optimal Camera Settings For a Newbie

Hobby Photography, Very often I have friends new in photography asking me what are the best settings for their cameras. This is not an easy question to answer, as different lighting and environments will require different settings to deliver the best results.
Nevertheless there are a few default settings I adopt, which will like to share in this article. Before that, it is important to understand a few basic photography jargon like ISO, aperture priority, white balance, etc.

To start off, let me being with the shooting mode used. I will recommend Program mode for beginners. In Program mode, the camera will decide the optimal aperture and shutter speed to use. You will decide on the ISO setting base on the lighting conditions.

Once you are more familiar with your camera and photography fundamentals, you may wish to consider using "Aperture Priority". In this case, you will determine the aperture and ISO used, while your camera will calculate and decide on the shutter speed. Having control on the aperture allows you to determine the amount of "deep of field" wanted.

Next, I will recommend "Center Weighted" for type of metering mode to be used. This mode will most likely garner the best and accurate exposure (for your subject of interest) for beginners.

Observed many new photographers prefer using Auto white balance as the default. I will prefer to use Sunny or Sunlight white balance, which delivers warmer photographs. Anyway it does not really matters if you are shooting in RAW format. You can adjust the color temperature of the photograph using photo-editing software.

Single-point focus is without doubt my preferred choice. I will like to decide on where to focus, instead of having the camera decide for me. The common problem when using multi-point focus is that the camera will never know which is the main subject of interest.

Above are the default settings for my camera and I hope they work well for you too. You may of course tweak the settings as you progress. But the most important thing now is to practice, practice and practice.

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