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{let's talk basic  

Are you stuck in Auto mode?  It's easy to get in the habit of  shooting in 'Auto' if you're out of practice or new to a big camera. Let's run through the basics and get you into 'Manual' shooting mode so you can take back control of your photography.

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Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed....these terms might be familiar to you - or perhaps they're a little hazy? They are all elements that will effect the exposure, look and feel of your shots.


Think of them as three corners of a triangle that are connected and need to be balanced with each other to create a perfectly exposed shot. It's by altering these three settings in manual mode that you can create the photos you really want.


Use these settings to take control of how much blur, grain and depth of field you want in each shot. 


This is always the first thing I decide on when I'm shooting - then I balance the ISO and Shutter Speed around it to get the exposure right. Aperture effects the DEPTH OF FIELD - the distance between the closest and furthest objects that are acceptably sharp in the image. It's key to creating those gorgeous images with lovely blurred backgrounds. 


Adjusting the aperture means changing the F-stop setting. The lower the F-stop (such as f/1.4 or f/1.2), the shallower the depth of field - or more blur there will be. The higher the F-stop (such as f/16), the larger the depth of field and the more you'll have in focus.


Put simply, the ISO setting will brighten or darken an image. ISO also effects how grainy the image is. The higher the number of the ISO setting - the brighter the image will be. If you are shooting on a bright day, try starting with a low ISO of 100 or 200 as a base setting. When working in darker conditions you might want to increase your ISO - I'll often use 800 or more if it's a dark day.


ISO setting numbers double each time you increase them - effectively doubling the brightness of your shot. The thing to bear in mind with ISO is that the higher the ISO setting - the more grain or noise you'll have in your image. 


Shutter speed is the length of time the camera shutter is open. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second - 1/50 or 1/100 for example. The bigger the number at the bottom of the fraction, the less time the shutter is open and the darker the image will be. The smaller the number at the bottom of the fraction, the more time the shutter is open and the lighter the image will be.


The big effect of shutter speed is motion blur - the longer the shutter is open, the more light, but also more movement or image blur. For a sharp shot when shooting handheld images without a tripod I prefer to not go lower than 1/50 (for 50mm lens).

Why am I not getting that gorgeous BLUR?


1: Try moving your subject further away from the background. You might need more distance between them to help create the blur you want.


2: Have you got the right lens? Often the kit lens that comes with a camera is a zoom lens and doesn't allow a low enough F-stop. It might be worth investing in a prime lens (a static lens) with a lower F-stop.

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