Tips for Shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

  • Thread starter WendyMay
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Aug 3, 2020
  • #1
Tips for Shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

The longer you take photos, the better you'll get at it. That's pretty obvious. It's really like anything else. In the beginning, you need to be cognizant of all you do, from how you choose your scene to which settings you use on your camera to how you take your photos. All of these things may be overwhelming in the beginning, but trust me, the more you've got your camera in your hands, the less you'll think about what you're doing. You'll just do it and you'll certainly become better at it.

In this post, I'd like to discuss two things. First, I'll talk about some dos and don'ts when it comes to holding your camera. After that, I'll talk about the differences, goods, and bads of both viewfinders and the rear LCD screen. While all of this may be common sense to many of you, this information can be invaluable for the beginner.

Tips for Holding Your Camera

I'm going to go to the extreme here. Let's say you hold your camera perfectly still and snap a photo. Chances are, if your settings are correct, the result will be a good one. Now let's say you swing your camera around by a rope and somehow press the shutter button. Chances are, no matter your settings, your image won't come out good at all. The camera will be moving too much to resist capturing tons of blur. Also, the position of the camera surely can't be good. After all, it'll be swinging from a rope. Who knows what it'll take a picture of. The reason I wanted to go to extremes was to demonstrate that while some practices are good, some are very bad. Realistically, most are in between. We rarely hold our camera completely still, but we can strive to. We rarely swing our camera from a rope resulting in extreme movement, but we can strive to avoid that movement. It's all about learning some tried and true practices that have aided talented photographers for generations.

One of the things we as photographers try to avoid is inadvertent camera shake. Camera shake has the tendency to negatively affect the quality of a resulting image. Simply put, it causes blur and it can ruin a photo. So in this section, I'll cover some good practices as well as bad.

How to Avoid Camera Shake

1. Some people hold their camera with only one hand. Some people hold their camera body with both hands. If you've got a heavy camera body and a big ol' lens, you want to spread out the support as wide as possible. This can take the form of holding the right side of your camera (shutter button side) with your right hand (you're going to need that hand over there to press the shutter button) and using your left hand as a support underneath your lens. Many times photographers forget about supporting the lens, but it can be a great approach for keeping a camera steady.

2. When you photograph something, be sure to hold your camera firmly. Don't willy nilly hold it up and expect to take a great shot.

3. The closer your camera is to your face, the more steady it will be, so if given the chance, view your scene through your viewfinder as opposed to the rear LCD screen.

4. Use your elbows as supports. While peering through your viewfinder, keep both elbows on your chest and stomach area.

5. Your stance and form is just as important as anything else. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and stand strong. Keep your body stable and relaxed. You don't want to become tired from any one position. That tiredness will end up creating shake.

6. Press your shutter button between breaths. Take a big breath, release it, and then take your shot when all the air is exhaled. Just don't forget to breath again.

Things That Cause Camera Shake

1. Have you ever tried to take a photo while lugging around a big swinging bag or backpack? If so, you know what it can do to the quality of an image. To take a great photo, free yourself of things that might drag you down.

2. If you lift your elbows so they move freely, it's going to be tough to hold a camera steady. Don't keep your elbows out like chicken wings. Keep them tucked in tight.

3. Try this: hold your camera six inches away from your face to get a feel for how steady it is. Then, bring the camera to your face so it's touching your skin and notice the difference. You'll find it's steadier next to your face. So don't hold the camera so far away. Bring it in close. Your body is much more steady than a floating camera is.

4. When pressing the shutter button, if you bang down on it with your finger, you may move your camera slightly, causing shake and blur. When pressing the shutter button, be careful. Do it gently.

5. I mentioned this above, but I'll do so again. A lonely lens is a shaky lens. Don't leave your camera's lens unsupported.

6. The more off your footing you are, the more likely camera shake will enter your scene. Don't lean or hang over something when trying to get your shot. Besides being potentially dangerous, that unsteadiness is just no good.

A Discussion on Viewfinders & LCD Screens

There are a few great benefits to viewing your scene through your camera's viewfinder. First, as mentioned above, having your camera so close to your face can keep the camera steady. Beyond that, viewing your scene through that little hole can keep distractions way down and your focus way up. And when I say focus, I mean your attention to the scene. The thing is, there are also advantages to using your camera's live view mode. First, you can zoom way in to make sure you're lens is focusing properly on the LCD screen. Also, you can easily see your camera's white balance on that screen as well. If you're using a mirrorless camera, you can see your white balance through the viewfinder, so ignore that one if you're in that camp. What I like to do if I'm taking landscape or still shots is to use a tripod to get the best of both worlds. Steadiness, attention to detail, zoomed in focus, and an accurate white balance. I'll use the rear LCD screen for this.

Taking advantage of the big LCD screen for snapping awesome photos is very tempting. The screen is right there and everything you need is on it. That's why these screen have become so popular. If you do decide to use yours, just be sure to follow a few simple rules. First, take the live view in as a whole. Don't just look at the middle of it and snap away. Turn off all the distracting settings that show on it if need be. if the brightness needs to be set, then do that when you're not in the field. Check over your camera's settings while relaxing at home. That way, you'll focus your attention where it's needed in the field.

When it comes to taking your photograph, don't rely on what you see exposure-wise on the screen. Trust your settings over your visuals. There are all different types of lighting in the various settings you'll find yourself in. They can be deceiving. And when it comes to focusing, if taking still shots, use that zoom feature to make absolutely certain that you're focusing on the correct object or area. And most of all, if you want to avoid draining your camera's battery, keep that display dark as much as possible. It likes to use a lot of energy. On Canon cameras, the DISP button on the back is used just for this.

Well, that's all I've got for today. I hope this has helped you and if you've got any tips of your own, please feel free to share them here.
Tips for Shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera was posted on 01-07-2021 by WendyMay in the Photography Forum forum.

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