Embracing SLR Cameras

by Tom Munro, CEO

With the holidays just around the corner, many of us will be eager to capture special moments by taking photos of friends and family. And with the popularity of SLR cameras on the rise, I thought I would provide a few tips to help you get started. Even though most SLRs feature preset shooting modes, transitioning from a point-and-shoot can still be quite overwhelming. Despite this learning curve, the results can be very rewarding, so just take it slow and be patient. You will love the pictures you can take!  

First, read your instructions. It may seem simple, but this is often something we overlook when buying new electronic ‘toys.’ Sure, some gadgets are self-explanatory, but your camera’s instruction booklet is an important one to read. It will walk you through all the features of your camera so you’ll be able to make the most of your investment.

Next – start exploring the menus and settings. Bloggers Kevin and Amanda say you should prioritize learning the concepts of Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. This will go a long way in helping you understand lighting, depth of field and where to focus. And then you’ll be able to get those great, dramatic photos where one object is in focus and the background is blurred. Lifehacker also has some great tips to check out as you’re exploring, too.

Then, practice! Don’t wait until you are at the family Christmas party or the New Year’s Eve party you are hosting or you may miss those fleeting moments you want to capture on film. Instead, set up a time to try your hand at different techniques at home with your dogs, kids, friends, significant other – basically, anyone and anything you can use as a subject. The point of this is to just get comfortable with your SLR.

Finally, take off the auto mode training wheels and put your camera into manual mode – this is, in fact, why you decided to get an SLR in the first place. In part two of Lifehacker’s look at SLR cameras, they break down how to use your camera in full manual mode. The possibilities are limitless, so don’t be afraid to try new things here – you never know, you might stumble upon something amazing!

Don’t have a SLR or are hoping to get a one for Christmas? Here are the top SLR cameras of 2011 according to ZDNet. Good luck, and happy snapping this season.