Starting Out

So, you've bought your new digital camera, taken it out of the box, put in the battery and taken your first shots. So what now? Well, the fact that you are reading this tells me that you want to learn how to use it properly, so let's begin at the beginning.

First Steps

Let's start with what the camera does well. If you set your camera to the full automatic setting, it will produce great shots most of the time. That's the good news. Provided, that is, that you are taking pictures with plenty of light coming from the right direction, and you're not fussy about the results being perfect. The exposures will be pretty much correct most of the time, the colour will be right most of the time and the contrast will be acceptable most of the time. So that would seem a good place to start. Set the camera on full auto and carry on reading.


What the camera can't do for you is point itself in the right direction and frame the picture just the way you want it. So let's concentrate on learning something about composition. Composition, framing and viewpoint are the keys to producing great photos instead of mediocre ones.

Beginners Faults

Here's a list of the three most common faults with beginners' photos, especially when shooting people.
Too centred

Too centred

They place the head in the middle of the frame and leave a load of unnecessary space above it. Placing the head near the top of the frame fills you picture area with the subject instead of the background.
Too much background

Too much background

Not filling the frame is the next big fault, so many photos I see contain too much background and not enough subject.
Holding the Camera

Holding the Camera

People are very reluctant to turn the camera on its side. This is essential if, for instance, you are taking a picture of one person on their own, it just helps fill the frame properly. Look at the subject you are going to shoot and decide whether it will best fit in an upright frame or a horizontal frame. If you can't decide which is best, shoot both.

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