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3 Beginner Shooting Tips

by Dawn Charles

Keep it Simple

Learn your settings and find a simple method that works for you. Messing with your camera every few seconds will distract you from what’s in front of your lens. The way you pay attention to light, surroundings, and your relationship to your subject should take priority over fussing over settings!

Here’s how I keep things simple :

I set my aperture and don’t change it.

My aperture is almost always at 2.0. I set it there and don’t think about it. That way I just have to focus on my shutter speed. There are some situations that require a different aperture, but for 90% of my work, I set it and leave it!

I shoot in custom white balance.

This means I can shift my AWB to temperature and tint that is catered to my preferences, but then my camera does the rest! For me, not having to worry about Kelvin helps my brain focus on being creative with my surroundings! If you wanna learn more about Kelvin, check out India’s IGTV episode on all things Kelvin HERE.

Don't Get Stuck on the Light Meter

The light meter is helpful when figuring out your initial settings, but after that, I like to take a few photos and look at the most important part of the image (usually my client’s face/skin). The light meter typically reads everything that’s coming into your lens, and doesn’t always prioritize the same part of the image that you do. I always zoom into the highlights of my clients’ skin to make sure they’re the most prioritized exposure of the image.

Figure Out Your Sweet Spots and Stick to Them

For me, that means having a threshold for shutter speed that I don’t go below while shooting moving subjects. That also means having different apertures that I use if I’m shooting different size groups. I know these numbers so that I don’t have to put thought into on the fly! (and I share these exact sweet spots in my camera settings guide so it can be second nature for you too!)

Wanna learn more?

Want to learn how to confidently shoot in manual and rock at it? Check out Dawn's Complete Guide to Camera Settings in the shop!

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