How to Use a DSLR Camera: Learn DSLR Camera Basics Shutter Aperture ISO

Dan Eitreim

January 23, 2015

Having a Digital SLR camera to use is the ultimate thrill for a budding photographer. Taking great sunset shots should be easy with such a tool, surely? You would think so, yet I know people who have invested in decent SLR’s – but still could not create stunning sunset shots that even their previous compact camera could take. This digital photography for beginners article therefore suggests steps you can take to optimise your digital SLR for sunset photographs.

Many compact cameras have a setting for sunsets, yet DSLR’s don’t, so you have to take control of the situation. Turn off your fully auto, or basic shooting modes, and use your creative zone modes of P (program mode), Tv (shutter priority), Av (aperture priority) or M (manual) so that you have full control over the camera’s parameters.

Auto White Balance can neutralise a sunset’s glow, so switch to Manual White Balance and choose a setting of Cloudy or Shade.

Most DSLR’s give you a number of “user defined” Picture Styles, so set one of these up for taking sunsets. Leave sharpness as standard, and add a little saturation.

You need to reduce the contrast to avoid your final image appearing over silhouetted. Adjust the Contrast slider in your user defined Picture Style one or two notches to the left. A reddish colour cast can also be achieved by doing the same with your Colour Tone settings.

Set your ISO at the lowest setting of ISO100. There’s usually plenty of brightness in the sky, so this is fine. Sunsets can suffer from grainy images with higher ISO settings.

Exposure is important in any sunset shot. It’s best to switch to Partial metering mode and take a manual meter reading. This can be a difficult aspect of digital photography for beginners to understand, so I’ll explain how to do this. Once in Partial metering mode, point the camera at a bright area of the sky, directly above the setting sun. Press the Star button on the back of the camera to take a light reading and to set the exposure. Then compose your shot and press the shutter release to drive the autofocus and capture the image.

Consider your composition. Silhouetted objects and figures in the foreground will add interest. Reflective surfaces, such as lake water, the sea or wet roads will bring added colour to the shot.

Beware – once the sun starts to near the horizon, it sinks surprisingly quickly. This also happens to be the optimum moment when you will catch the strongest shots, yet it can come and go in an instant. Be prepared – make sure all your settings are in place well before this time.

When the sun has disappeared, it doesn’t mean you should. For another thirty minutes or so, there can often be some amazing colour across the sky, so keep looking for more opportunities for great photos.

I hope this step by step digital photography for beginners sunset guide has been helpful, and that you can catch some beautiful sunset photographs in the future. They truly are wonderful shots to look back on.

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Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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