Your New Digital Camera

me_and_pixel smallThe Royal City Photography Club is a fledgling club in existence since January 2009 and it has already doubled its membership. It is a lively and enthusiastic group of photographers with skills ranging from novice to professional and everything in between that meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Centennial Community Centre.  The club has members’ nights where work is showcased, and there are monthly photo challenges. Members can also submit images to any of the Photographic Competitions the club is invited to enter and there are organized club outings that vary enough to appeal to just about everyone. If you’re interested in finding out about more on the Royal City Photography Club, drop by the website at or contact the club for more details at: Today, RCPC member Margaret Macaulay shares some tips on how to take advantage of that new DSLR.

So. You have succumbed and are now the proud owner of a new DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Camera. Welcome to the wonderful world of digital photography. Don’t be intimidated by all the dials and buttons on that new shiny camera. You’re going to grow to love each and every one of them.

There is a grace period when you first bring your new camera home where you happily shoot in ‘automatic’ mode. The camera is always ready and waiting for you to just pick it up and point and shoot. But if you really want to fully enjoy the capabilities of your digital camera, you’re going to want to move away from that factory default automatic setting as soon as possible.

‘Auto’ is the manufacturer’s setting that guarantees you – at the most – ‘average’ quality photos. But who wants to settle for average? Who wants someone else deciding the look or exposure or the focus of your pictures.

Moving away from the automatic mode will improve the quality of your photographs and will also build your shooting skills and picture taking confidence.

Your next great shot and increased expertise are also just a booklet away. Do not stuff the camera’s user’s manual in a drawer. Carry it with you at all times – as you are doing with your camera, right? The stock manuals are chock full of definitions, ‘how-tos’, ‘where-ares’ and helpful hints that will help you use all the goodies on your new DSLR. So, with your new camera in hand and your manual tucked neatly in the front pocket of your camera bag, start taking photographs, and lots of them. You might want to take a weekend digital photography workshop to learn more about your camera or think about joining a photography club to meet like-minded shutter bugs, learn from more seasoned photographers and find the encouragement and support you might need to enhance your photography.

 Here’s an example of the same subject I took in two different modes. One in ‘automatic’ mode, where I let the camera choose the settings and then one in ‘aperture’ mode where I made slightly different setting decisions. On automatic the results were over-exposed water. On aperture mode, I was able to control the shutter speed enough to avoid over-exposing the water. (something good to know if you’re taking vacation trips by water and/or snow.)



This is just a very basic example of the control you can have over an image. There are plenty of other settings you can choose once you move away from automatic. I haven’t even mentioned ‘manual’ mode, but you do have to know how to walk before you can run….).

To wrap this up – there will be times when you are really glad you had an automatic mode when you are shooting.  But as you get more and more familiar with your camera equipment, you will want to be the one who makes the setting decisions and will be much happier with your final results. Now grab that camera and start exploring the different modes you have at your disposal. You’ll be shooting like a pro before you can say ISO 400. 

Happy shooting!

2 Replies to “Your New Digital Camera”

  1. Hello Chelle! Our next meeting is tomorrow the 10th. It will be great to meet you. See you there. Cheers.

    Also, I just went to your website. Your stuff is awesome! The club is going to love you!!!

  2. Ooooo…as a new photography grad from North Island College and enthusiastic New West resident, I’ll be at the next meeting! Sounds wonderful. 🙂

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