Girl taking picture with DSLR Camera

A Beginner's Guide to DSLR Cameras

Got a DSLR but overwhelmed by all of the features? Mei Horiuchi from is here to explain some of the basics that will have you shooting like a pro in no time.

Not sure what DSLR you should buy? This guide outlines some important features to consider when shopping for and shooting with your first DSLR.

Photo Of Mailbox with landscape background

These are six common modes you can expect to find on your new camera:

1. Auto mode:

The camera takes control of every setting. This is a great place to start practicing as you familiarize yourself with your camera.

2. Program mode (P):

The camera will set the optimum aperture and shutter speed. If you manually adjust one, the camera will automatically adjust the other to keep the exposure balanced.

3. Aperture priority (A or Av on Canon):

You control the aperture while the camera takes care of shutter speed.

4. Shutter priority (S or Tv on Canon):

The opposite of Av: You control shutter speed while the camera adjusts the aperture accordingly.

5. Manual mode:

this will give you full control of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

6. Scene modes:

These are preset settings based on what the manufacturer believes would be best for particular subjects. Common scene modes are portrait, landscape, and nighttime.

Grand teton Nation Park

Now that you understand the basics, try experimenting with different lenses to get the perfect shot! Here are five common types to consider:

1. Kit (standard) lens:

These versatile lenses often come standard with your DSLR and are great for budding photographers.

2. Prime lens:

These have a single focal length, meaning you’ll lose the ability to zoom. However, you’ll get extremely clear images and you’ll be forced to practice framing your shots!

3. Wide angle lens:

Great for landscapes, this lens will capture a scene with a wide viewing angle.

4. Telephoto or Superzoom:

You’ll be able to zoom. A lot.

5. Macro:

If you’re into close-up photography, try out one of these to capture flowers, insects, and more!

Macro image of wet grass

The biggest takeaway is to practice, practice, and practice some more! The more comfortable you are with your DSLR, the better your images will turn out.

Want more tips on DSLRs for beginners? Read more of Mei’s tips for new camera owners here.

Do you have a DSLR? Leave us a comment with your favorite tip.

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