• daraghcasey14

4 Things that Will Help You Take Better Pictures

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

When you are starting photography, you may be tempted to use the various auto modes available to you but what if I told you that that is hindering your progress? You are effectively allowing the camera to do all of the work but you do not have any real creative input. If you want to take your photography skills to the next level here are the 4 settings you need to learn. For reference I will be using a cannon model.


Aperture is the size of the hole in the camera that allows light to enter. They are measured in F-stops or F-numbers. To adjust the aperture, scroll the wheel on you camera to Av and then scroll to whichever f-number you need.

The aperture controls the depth of field( how much of the picture is in focus). A small F-number will give you a small depth of field, allowing you to take portrait and closeup shots with a beautifully blurry background. A large F-number will give you a large depth of field, which will allow you to take landscapes where everything is nice and sharp. If you want to get really technical about it, a small f number means a larger aperture hole and a large f number means a smaller aperture hole but if that confuses you just think about the depth of field. In Av mode, the shutter speed is done automatically, which brings us to the second thing you need to know.

2.Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter is open for after you press the button to take the picture. It is mostly used for capturing moving things like a speeding car or a sprinter mid race. To adjust shutter speed, go to Tv mode on your camera. There are so many effects you can do with shutter speed such as freezing a moving object and long exposures. Long exposures are used to make moving objects, typically water, look blurred like they are moving in the picture.

Look at the two pictures above. They are both pictures of the same thing but were taken at different shutter speeds. The one on the left is a slow shutter speed, 1.6 seconds, while the one on the right is a faster shutter speed, 1/13 of a second. Notice the difference? If you want to take long exposures there is another thing you need to be aware of.

3. Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation allows you to adjust the brightness of your photos. This is especially important for long exposures if it is bright out. Think about all the light that’s entering the camera in the length of time you’ve set.

You might find that its too bright and that no amount of editing is going to save you. In this case you’d turn the exposure compensation down. What if the scene is too dark? You can also adjust so that the image turns out brighter, although you might rarely use it. Exposure compensation can be adjusted in Av or Tv mode and it is very easy to use.

4. ISO

ISO is another tool used to make your images brighter. It does this by making the camera more sensitive to light. However there is a trade off to using a high ISO. As the ISO gets higher there is typically a lot of grain or noise. Instead of using a high ISO to make an image brighter, it is best to either use a longer shutter speed or adjust the exposure compensation.

So there you have it, the 4 main things you need to learn to get out of auto mode. You may find that these take time and effort before you become comfortable with them. For that reason, I recommend practicing aperture and shutter speed separately. ISO and exposure compensation can be adjusted in either Av or Tv mode so you can practice those as well. If you found this article helpful or if you still have unanswered questions, let me know by leaving a comment or messaging me on Instagram. Take care.

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