Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.
Zach Sutton’s informative article, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Camera, on Tuts+ caught my eye last week. He brings up a few special functions available on most digital cameras these days that some of you might not know how to use. Here’s his list, with links to some of my favorite tutorials explaining how to make them happen:
Bracketing is a function I used to use in my old film days when I wasn’t quite sure which shutter speed to use for a proper exposure. Basically, the camera automatically takes three different photos with three different f/stops. This is also the concept behind creating HDR (high dynamic range) images. Pye explains the bracketing process in this excerpt from the SLR Lounge HDR Workshop.
2. Back Button Focus
I recently started using back button focus and, while it took a couple weeks to get used to, I’m now wondering how I ever got along without it! I found this video by wildlife photographer Steve Perry to be very helpful. You may have to check your owners manual for info about how to set the back button focus function on your particular camera.
3. Picture Styles
I shoot primarily in the RAW format, so I never really paid much attention to the picture style options on my Canon 5D Mark III. But, in this video, Matthew Saville explains why you might want to experiment with picture styles (picture controls, for Nikon users) when shooting in RAW. Using Adobe Lightroom and the SLR Lounge Preset System, Matt shows how to capture an ideal exposure and edit a landscape, using in camera picture styles as a guide.
4. In-Camera HDR
The In-Camera HDR function in newer DSLRs is designed to save you some post processing time when creating HDR images. Here’s another excerpt from our SLR Lounge HDR Workshop, with tips for using this function.
5. Double Exposures
This is another function harkening back to film photography. With a film camera you can achieve a double exposure by simply not advancing the film after taking a picture. Then you expose that same frame once again for some funky effects. The great thing about creating an in-camera double exposure digitally, is that you can view your first exposure on your LCD screen while composing your overlapping exposure. It’s really fun! Here’s a tutorial by Sara K Byrne, creating a multiple in-camera exposure using the Canon 5D Mark III.
6. Advanced Focusing Modes
Cameras these days can have some pretty high tech, specific focusing modes designed for various shooting situations. Check out your users manual (or consult Google) for an explanation of the different modes on your particular camera. If you’re struggling with nailing the focus on your images, I highly recommend you read SIX TIPS FOR BETTER DSLR AUTOFOCUS AND SHARPER IMAGES and for some helpful tips on mastering focus.
7. Lens Calibration
Honestly, I’ve never calibrated a lens and don’t know much about it, but I think I need to do this for at least one of my lenses. You’ll need a calibration tool like the LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System, which is basically a ruler used to test the focus. Here’s an explanation of the whole process by Matt Granger.
8. Image Lock System
This feature is pretty self explanatory. Basically, the image lock system allows you to lock images to prevent them from being accidentally deleted from your memory card. Check your manual for instructions.
9. Rating Images
On the newest Canon cameras you can rate your images with a 1-5 star rating, in-camera. I suppose this might come in handy if you’re filtering through your images with a client right after you shoot, but I personally don’t like culling my photos while viewing on a tiny LCD. I’d rather load them into Lightroom 5 and rate them while viewing on a larger monitor.
10. Rear Curtain Flash Sync
Using rear curtain sync with a flash will allow you to capture motion blur and freeze motion in the same frame of a photograph. This is a pretty advanced technique, which I didn’t realize was available in the camera settings of some DSLRs with built in flash units. Whether you have a built in flash or use an external unit, this is a fun technique to play with. Here’s an easy to understand tutorial from Adorama.
What are some hidden functions of your camera that have changed the way you shoot? Do you have a question about a particular function? Leave a comment and I’ll we’ll answer it for you. Happy shooting!
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