How to Use a DSLR Camera

How To Use A DSLR Camera

Although a DSLR may sound complicated, it’s important to know how to use a DSLR camera as a beginner photographer. One among many standard and in-style tools utilized by photographers is DSLR.

It stands for its individuality, i.e., associate optical finder that works higher in low lightweight and lens choice. However, still the weapon of selection for professionals.

It’s still the go-to choice for several great photographers. Folks that are amateur and on the lookout for a knowledgeable camera satisfy their urge to shoot high-quality pictures. Today, they have a DSLR.

Larger device cameras even at higher ISO settings usually have larger pixels that manufacture lower image noise, giving the DSLR an advantage.

Understanding Auto Mode And Manual Mode: How it Works?

The auto-focus mode on a DSLR camera is performed when the camera’s shutter-release button is pressed halfway.

After it is completed, it depends on the user whether he wants to lock the camera or continue adjusting the camera’s focus. The system which controls this behavior is called focus mode.

There are two prime uses of auto-focus mode in a DSLR camera :

Single Auto-focus Mode (AF-S/One-shot AF)

The camera locks the focus on the subject by using this mode,  but the camera won’t adjust focus to compensate if it moves. It’s one of the best setting modes.

When it comes to still subjects (and one of the best camera settings for landscape photography). While using the single focus mode, you are going to press the shutter button halfway through.

Then the lens starts to focus, and then while the shutter button is still halfway pressed, you will be able to move the camera while the focus distance doesn’t change.

Why Should Use It?

In my opinion, I support the single focus mode because it gives us the permission to frame the picture while making sure that the focus stays where I wanted it to be.

Continuous Auto-focus Mode (AF-C/AI-Servo)

While using this mode, if you lock your focus on a subject, your camera will track the subject when it moves if it is within the frame. It’s the best setting mode when it comes to moving subjects, like wildlife, sports, and street photography.

Besides the option of focus points, You also have another option to set the auto-focus to either continuously focusing or single focus.

If it is set to continuous focus, the camera will continue to focus on the subject until it is stopped, even if the button is halfway pressed.

How It Could be Better?

This can be beneficial for the moving objects as they change their distance to the camera very quickly and are in danger of getting out of the focus plane of the camera very quickly.

How to Choose Focal Point ?

When a camera wants to lock into the subject that it captured, the focal point denotes the points within the camera’s frame. Different types of DSLR have different types of the auto focal point.

Some of them have 9 points, and others have 11 focal points. In many models, the auto focal point is connected with the metering system.

As a result, it gives freedom to the DSLR to choose the auto-focus point. In most cases, it is shown as square, circle and brackets.

Understanding Metering mode: Which one should you use ?

Metering modes work to measure the available light of your image. To change modes you’ve to just press the metering mode button or you can select from the menu of your DSLR camera.

Generally, there are three options there, and you’ve to select among them.

Mode 1 : Evaluative/ Matrix mode

This is usually the default mode of any camera. Here, the camera measures light across the whole image. Then it’ll automatically attain a total balancing exposure.

Mode 2: Center-Weighted mode

In this mode, the light is measured in the center area and its nearby area of the image by the camera. The center area includes 60% to 80% of the frame.

So when you want to take a shot of something zoomed-in or focused on one thing, you would probably choose this mode.

Mode 3: Spot Metering mode

Finally, if you choose this mode, the light will be measured only in the small area of the focus point. The area of the focus point is around 1% to 5% of the image.

When the focused subject is not taking a lot of space, you can select this mode for better exposure.

How to use the Meter to check Exposure ?

For exact Exposure, keep a watch on your camera’s light Meter to know the amount of light available there. First, you’ve to look through your live view or viewfinder, and meanwhile, press that shutter release button.

By doing so, you can have a look at the Meter. You’ll see the Meter shows the number ‘0’ in the middle, and the other two sides show ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs which indicates the more and less amount of light.

  If the Meter stays at 0, that means your camera is getting proper light for your Exposure. And as for the + and – sign, if the Meter gets towards to + sign, the outcome will be too bright.

which means underexposed, and if it gets towards to – sign, the outcome will be too dark which means underexposed.

 Though, not all models are the same. Some might be a little more different from this, but the concept is always the same for all the models.

What to do about Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed

Aperture is basically used to control light. The hole of a camera which is adjustable, lets the light go into the camera. What amount of lights goes in depends on the adjusted size of the hole.

 Another one is Shutter Speed which also works to control light. It is the amount of time that works to set up the camera sensor for being exposed to lights. The longer the time is, the more light goes in.

 You’ve to handle both aperture and shutter speed equally to have control in lights. That could be a good decision to have an awesome shot.

If this seems complicated then, you should look below for the exact information you want.

How to Use Aperture Priority to control the Depth of Field

Well, in my opinion, among five components, controlling the depth of field is the most creative aspect of Aperture Priority.

By using ‘Aperture Priority Mode’ in your DSLR, you can actually concentrate on the range of focus point and also set the f-stop while capturing a non-moving thing. One thing to remember,

The lower the F-stop number (for example, f/2.4) gets, you will get the lower Depth of Field. And the larger F-stop number (for example f/16) will get you the larger Depth of Field.

To get that blurry background in your image (such as portrait photography) you should definitely use a lower F-stop number.

Or if you want the background to be focused (such as landscape photography), your choice should be a higher F-stop number.

 Aperture Priority Mode selection in Nikon Camera :

On the top of a Nikon camera, you will find a mode dial that is used to change the shooting modes of the camera. Change the mode dial to ‘A’ because of A stands for aperture priority mode in a Nikon camera.

Aperture Priority Mode selection in Canon Camera :

As for the Canon camera, to select aperture priority mode, you have to turn the mode dial to ‘AV.’ Here, aperture mode is marked as ‘AV’, which actually is the short form of ‘Aperture Value’.

  Though, if you check the camera manual, you would know all the information of your exact model.

Use Shutter Speed Priority to Manipulate Movement in your image

To be a good action photographer, you should first be good at capturing moving images smoothly. You must know the correct use of Shutter Speed Priority Mode in order to accomplish that.

This mode of your DSLR can give you a perfect shot while you are shooting any moving object. When the shutter time is below a second, Shutter Speed is measured in a fraction of seconds (such as 1/4 second.

Which means a quarter of a second). Shutter mode can be set to fast or slow. If you select Fast Shutter Speed Mode, you can have a freeze shot of any moving thing.

 On the other hand, if you want to capture light trails or star trails, you should select Slow Shutter Speed Mode.

The slow mode can perfectly shoot any movement if you are also good at holding cameras professionally by avoiding shaking hands while capturing.

Remember, shutter speed mostly depends on the camera quality. The more high-quality camera you use, you will get more good action pictures.

How to use Exposure Compensation

If your camera is already auto-determining the genuine exposure level, you might not want to use any Exposure Compensation. But in some situations, even your camera gets confused too.

Like, while you are shooting something at night, the darkness of some images requires to be in a dark tone. Though, your camera won’t understand that and will automatically brighten up the image.

So if you use exposure compensation, you can control the brightness and the darkness of that image to get the perfect Exposure.

 To use exposure compensation, your camera might have a little button signed +/- on it. While pressing that button.

You are supposed to turn the Main dial left and right, which is on the top right of your DSLR camera. This will control the Exposure to be darker or to be brighter as needed.

You can check the manual in case you can’t find the dial or the button.

 As for other cameras, many high-quality cameras don’t have the +/- button. There you will see another dial on the backside of your camera, which is used to make a proper exposure.

And the fact is you don’t have to press any extra buttons or anything confusing, which is the plus point here. You just need to turn that second dial using your right thumb finger while capturing a shot.

How to Select Automatic and Manual Modes

By letting your camera be in automatic mode, you’re depending on the camera, which will determine all aspects of Exposure on its own.

Your camera has control over the settings that can be changed automatically when the camera wants to take a perfect shot.

Auto mode is actually for those who are new in photography and don’t know how to handle a DSLR camera professionally. All you have to do here is, point your target and click the photo.

 On the other hand, Manual mode is used by the photographer who has full control over the Exposure. The settings can be whatever you want in your camera as long as you’re comfortable with it.

This mode is usually for the situations where the camera faces a problem figuring out the exact Exposure you want.

The auto mode may overexpose or underexpose your image, but the manual mode is different where you can evaluate the amount of light and manage the brightness or the darkness of the image.

Manual mode also helps with consistency. If you are shooting panorama, your shutter speed and aperture should be the same for all shots you’re trying to put together.

So manually, it can be done easily; you just need to know some tricks of photography.

 Although truth is told, not all professionals use manual mode always. Sometimes in some situations, they might use automatic mode to know what will look good and can make the quality of the picture a level higher.

How to Modify your Cameras Light Sensitivity

Basically, ISO is a setting of a camera that works to edit the light of an image. You can control and measure the amount of light by increasing and decreasing ISO numbers.

It can help you to take shots in darkness and even in excessive brightness.  ISO sensitivity comes in numbers from low sensitivity (such as ISO 100) to high sensitivity (such as ISO 6400).

To capture proper Exposure in every kind of situation, you should know to control the light sensitivity of your DSLR camera.

ISO works in two different situations where the ISO number is low, or the number is high.

Situation 1 : Excessive Light/ Bright Daylight

 On a sunny day, if you are shooting something below the sunlight, you have to use a low ISO number to get a perfect exposure.

Use numbers like ISO 100 or maybe ISO 200 to shoot in broad daylight. The low your ISO number gets, the more you get a better shot with less noise in a brighter environment.

Situation 2: Low light condition/ In the darkness

 If you are in a room where the light is too low, and you are about to capture something there, you should definitely use a high ISO number.

Numbers like ISO 1600, 3200 are good for better Exposure in a dark environment. This will hit the sensitivity of your camera and increase the light for a correct shot. Though, this increases the noise of that picture.


When you are using a DSLR camera for the first time, you become confused, at the same time fantastic also. No matter what model you use, you can easily learn how to use a DSLR camera by clicking more and more.

Give yourself quality time to know the basic uses and functions. Firstly, read the manual and do as it says. Try changing the modes to see the difference between the effects of them.

You must not lose your patience if you want to be a professional at photography. Challenge yourself to experience more from it. Then see, you can use your DSLR effectively and flawlessly.

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