Guest Post: Stacie, the creative mind and awesome hair behind Stars for Streetlights, is here to help alleviate some of your biggest photography concerns. What’s aperture? What does shutter speed do? Read on for all the details!
The first time I touched my little Nikon D40 DSLR camera, I was so excited that I could barely hold the camera steady. I had saved up for months to buy that little camera, and while I knew I would use it all the time, I never realized how influential that camera would become on my life.
Since the day I got that brown Amazon box in the mail, I’ve made it my mission to learn as much as I possibly can about my camera – I read books, blog articles, and ask for advice wherever I can find it. Photography has become my favorite hobby… tied with crafting, of course. ;D
Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way and I love sharing them with others because I love it when people share their advice with me. Read on for my 4 tips for DSLR photography beginners!
4 Tips for DSLR Photography Beginners
this photo: ISO-200 f/1.8 Shutter: 1/400
- Composition: Composition, to me, is one of the most important lessons of photography. If you don’t have a well-composed photograph, then lighting and exposure don’t matter much. I love composing photos in a square format, but for a rectangular photo, I still love a good rule-of-thirds image.
- Aperture: I love playing around with the depth-of-field when it comes to aperture. I recently bought a prime lens, (50mm with f/1.8 aperture), and I can’t express how impressed I am with it. The colors, the control – it is incredible. If you are looking for a cheaper upgrade to your kit lens, (the lens that comes with your camera) you can’t get a better option than the one I just mentioned.
this photo: ISO: 200, f/14, Shutter: 8 seconds 3.
- Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is another really fun trick to play with on DSLR cameras. Whenever you have shutter speeds slower than 1/100 of a second, though, you probably need a tripod or something to rest your camera on. I took the photo above in the High Line Park in NYC– I didn’t have a tripod, but I did use a bench. ;D Whenever you have a shutter speed over 1/125, you can freeze the motion.
This photo was taken on my film camera, my Pentax K1000. (I love collecting and using vintage cameras. :D If you have a chance to take a film class, take it. I only took one during my time at college, and I wish I had taken more. There is nothing like working in a class with a film camera, it teaches you so much about equivalents between aperture and shutter speed, how to get a feel for lighting, and photography confidence.
some of the photos from my collection of Polaroid cameras
- Shoot, Shoot, Shoot: Photography is one of those art media where you have to do it over and over again before you get better. Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more until your camera becomes second nature to you. Shoot until you don’t even need to calculate what shutter speed, ISO, and aperture you need– your fingers just automatically adjust it. And by all means, stay away from the “Auto” setting! Don’t cheat. ;D