Photography for Moms: The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Your DSLR Camera

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One of the most important things to understand about your camera is how to balance light. This will ensure that your image isn’t over or underexposed.

First, before you read this article, take a moment to read through your camera manual. I will go over this a bit in my video, too, explaining settings for the Nikon D3300, but you want to know:

  1. How to adjust the aperture. The aperture controls the size of the hole that allows light through to the lens. It also impacts focal length.
  2. How to adjust the shutter speed. Shutter speed is just that, how quickly the shutter opens and closes. A lower shutter speed means that the shutter is open longer, allowing more light to come through. At the same time, if the shutter is open longer, any movement in your image is likely to cause a blur.
  3. How to adjust the iso setting. The ISO setting impacts the camera’s sensitivity to light.

Steps for balancing light using your DSLR settings:

Step 1: Always start with an ISO of 200. Adjust your ISO last. The higher your ISO, the more likely your image is to have a grainy quality.

Step 2: Determine what is more important to you. Do you want to have a blurred background? Or do you need to be concerned about movement and blur?

  • If you want to blur the background a bit, then you will want to select the largest aperture (which would actually be the smallest setting your aperture will adjust to). On
  • If you want to have a really crisp image of a wiggly toddler, then you should start by adjusting your shutter speed. It is recommended that you start at about 250, and increase from there, in order to “freeze” your subject.

Step 3: Once you determine your priority in Step 2, it is time to balance your light meter. Focus on the area you will be photographing. Pay close attention to your light meter in your camera. The goal is to balance the meter so that it falls right in the middle. To increase light, decrease the shutter speed or select a larger aperture. As a last resort, you can increase your ISO.

Step 4: Take a test shot or two, to double check your light.

I made this handy guide to help you with your light settings:

With practice, this will get much easier! And always make sure that, if you shift locations, if your lighting changes, or even if you shift your position, that you double check your light meter!

Check out they other articles in my Photography for Moms series:

Prev post: Photography For Moms: It Pays To Do It YourselfNext post: Photography for Moms: Simple Guide To Natural Lighting

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Hi! I am Amy, the creator of RunawayTeacher. I am a mom to two boys, and I married to my best friend. I love mom life, crafting, and blogging. Read More.

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