5 things to do to set your camera up for success

If you’re anything like I was when I bought my first camera, you played around with all the settings so many times trying to figure out how to use the darn thing that you don’t even remember what you changed.

Here are 5 things to do to your camera before you start shooting: 

If you aren’t sure how to change any of these just google the change you want to make with the model of your camera and there will be tons of videos on each online.

  1. Put your lens on auto focus

Unless you know how to use auto focus, it’s easiest to put your lens on autofocus so that you increase the odds of easily focusing on the right spot. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in where to focus, you still aim and half click to focus in on whatever part of the photo you want, but it just helps you do this.

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2. Adjust your diopter

There’s a little dial located on the top right corner of your viewfinder (it’s tiny, look hard). That’s your diopter and turning it adjusts the way things look through your viewfinder, just like when you’re at the eye doctor and trying to find the perfect lens for your glasses.

Look though your viewfinder and focus on something dark, like black trim, or the tv… then turn the dial and you’ll see the focus getting sharper or more blurry. Choose the setting that is clearest to you.

Make sure you’re focused in on something or it won’t work, you can focus by aiming at something and half clicking down so it grabs it.

diopter-dial-on-nikon-df.jpg

3.  Set to auto WB

White balance (WB) removes unrealistic color casts, so objects appear the same way they do in person. It deals with the relative warmth or coolness of white light and there are many different white balance settings depending on if you’re inside, outside, sunny day, cloudy day, lights on… a lot to think about really. We want to put the white balance on auto (AWB), so that the camera automatically adjusts the white balance depending on the type of light we are shooting in.

4. Set to jpeg large

Unless you plan on using photoshop, or blowing your images up for a billboard, you probably don’t need your photo size to be in RAW. Choosing jpeg will give you great quality photos, while not taking up a ton of space on your SD card and computer.  

Go into your settings to ensure your picture size is set to JPEG Large. Straightforward in most cameras but Canon has an icon, see below.

jpeglarge.jpg

5. Make sure there’s no exposure compensation

Exposure compensation is used to change exposure, making photographs brighter or darker.

Make sure it’s set to 0 otherwise your photos may turn out too bright or too dark.

exposure%2Bcompensation%2Bbutton.jpg

Now you’re all set! You shouldn’t need to change these again, so set it and forget it.