DSLR Tip — Aperture, Focus and Shutter Speed

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Cristina Beltran is a blogger and writer. She is interested in delivering quality contents in various fields of photography.

Excited about that new DSLR you bought? You should!
With a DSLR, you get a higher level of control than with a regular point-and-shoot camera. Even though a DSLR also has an auto function, which makes it work like a regular point-and-shoot, you can take better pictures when you control the settings of your camera. Let’s look at some ways for you to unlock the many functions of your DSLR so you can take your photo skills up a few notch.

ApertureAperture, Focus and Shutter Speed

A DSLR’s lens controls how much light gets to the sensor and this has an effect on your image being properly exposed. The aperture of lens is the opening in the lens and the aperture functions like the iris of our eyes. The size of the opening is measured in f-stops. Look at your lens and you will find something like f/2, f/2.8, f/4 up to f/16 on the barrel.
The lower the number, the wider the opening of lens. This means that f/2 has a wider opening than f/16.

But what does this do to your photos?

The aperture size controls the depth of field of the pictures that you take. If you want your pictures to have clear foregrounds and blurred backgrounds, choose a wider aperture like f/2. This option is great for taking portraits.
For landscape images, you can go with a smaller aperture so you get more depth of field. You can adjust the mode dial on your DSLR to aperture priority mode (AV) and control the depth of field in your images with the flick of a button. (Refer your camera’s manual for specific instructions on how to do it.)

FocusAperture, Focus and Shutter Speed

Your lens also control how sharp or blurry your images will be. Your DSLR is equipped with an autofocus function that makes it easy to take shots that subjects in focus. But for greater control, you can turn the autofocus off and switch it to manual. Look for the MF/AF switch on the barrel of your lens to do this. Try creating your own Bokeh pics by adjusting the image focus.

Shutter SpeedAperture, Focus and Shutter Speed

Regular point-and-shoot cameras don’t let you control how fast or long your shutters are open. So this is one function you get to choose with your DSLR. Use your camera’s dials to adjust it to the shutter priority setting. Most DSLRs allows you to leave the shutter open for as long as 30 seconds. This is great for taking pictures of light trails such as those made by passing cars at night.
Long exposure settings are also great for taking pictures of rivers, with flowing water or cityscapes during that golden sunset hour, just before darkness takes over the sky. For action shots, you can choose faster speeds to help you capture things in mid-air.

Finally …

Aperture, focus, and shutter speed are three areas where your new DSLR provides more control over point-and-shoot models. It would be a supreme waste of money if you just turn yours on automatic all the time. Play around with your settings, teach yourself to take better photos, and let your creativity and perhaps your unbidden talent for capturing just the right shot … flow!