If you’re new to photography, the thought of taking professional-quality photos may seem daunting.

But with a little bit of knowledge and practice, you can produce stunning images that will impress your family and friends.

In this guide, we’ll teach you the basics of taking great photos, including how to use your camera’s settings, choose the right subject matter, and compose your shots.

Let’s get started!


The aim of this article is to help those who want to take better photos, but don’t know where or how to start.

I am not a professional photographer; however, I have learned all the basics and I am here to share them with you!

If you’re like me, then your first camera was part of a simple 2-in-1 package consisting of a camera and printer.

New digital cameras today, which are used by Canberra family photography come with more advanced technology and can cost thousands of dollars; we won’t be discussing these in this article (though you may find it useful for your research).

For now, we will look at relatively inexpensive DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex), which give even amateur photographers unprecedented control over picture quality and focus.

If you already own a DSLR, then read on!

If not, don’t worry – this is a great place to start.

For each of the points in this article, I have included pictures taken with my very first DSLR camera (EOS 1000D) and a slightly more advanced one (EOS 60D).

Some photos are cropped or edited for better presentation.

My hope is that even if you decide not to follow all the instructions below, perhaps they will at least give you an idea of what settings can be used in different situations.

You will find that most of your photos come out too dark/too bright/with incorrect focus/containing unwanted objects/blurred etc.

This happens to everyone and it takes a lot of practice to get the picture right.

The key is to not give up too soon – keep trying!

You’ll find that with time, you will be able to take better photos.

1. Understand Your Camera’s Settings

The Exposure Triangle

All cameras are equipped with different lenses, each of which can affect how your pictures turn out.

However, regardless of the type of lens attached to your camera or whether you’re using a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera, they all have three fundamental elements that determine exposure: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (okay this isn’t really an element but most cameras group them together).

To put it simply, these 3 settings work in unison so that when one is increased/decreased/maintained, at least one of the other two must be adjusted to compensate for it.

Aperture is represented by an f-number (e.g 1.4, 2.8, etc), which dictates how big or small the opening in your lens is to let light through.

A larger opening means more light goes through so you can shorten shutter speed and/or lower ISO; conversely, a smaller opening means less light gets onto your sensor so you will need to lengthen shutter speed and/or increase ISO so that it matches up with what you’re trying to achieve.

For example, if I shoot using aperture priority mode with f 5.6 selected on my camera, this gives me control over shutter speed but somewhat ignores ISO settings.

As a result, if I set my shutter speed to 1/100th of a second then the ISO will have to be at least 100 or greater for it to work.

Shutter speed refers to how long your camera’s shutter is open.

Most decent DSLRs can shoot between 1/4000 and 30 seconds (there are some that go beyond this range).

If you’re shooting handheld, generally anything below 1/60th of a second requires a tripod, or else your image will come out blurry due to the camera shake.

This only applies if you do not have Image Stabilization built into your lens – check your manual for details on whether the brand and model of the lens has IS.

ISO basically determines how sensitive your sensor is to light.

The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive it is; this means that you can use faster shutter speeds (bring down the amount of light hitting your sensor) to capture images in low light conditions.

On most cameras, anything above ISO 800 to 1600 will give you grainy photos due to the way digital noise looks; if you must push your ISO settings up, be prepared for noisy results!

ISO 200 (left) vs ISO 12800 (right)

Time For Some Examples!

Let’s say I’m shooting an outdoor concert and want everything in focus.

My aperture priority mode tells me that at f 2.8, my minimum shutter speed is 1/125th of a second – any faster than this and I risk ‘blurring’ the motion of the performer.

ISO is automatically adjusted to around 100, which works just fine for me.

Conversely, if I’m taking a landscape picture and want everything in focus, my aperture priority mode tells me that at f 5.6, my minimum shutter speed is 1/60th of a second – any slower than this and I will have blurred motion from things such as wind or moving clouds.

At ISO 100, this will work great for me no matter what lighting conditions I’m in.

Of course, you should be prepared for this to change slightly when sunrises/sunsets come into play!

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have in the comments below!

Categories: Blog


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