10 Tips for DSLR Camera Newbies

If you’ve recently progressed to using a DSLR camera, these ten short tips will help you get off to a great start!

1. Keep Hold of Your Camera Manual

You will quickly learn that you can’t live without it. Make sure you keep it handy and take time to read it frequently, particularly in those first few months after buying your new DSLR camera.

2. Buy a UV Filter

For each lens you own, buy a UV filter—not just to improve the quality of your photos but to protect your expensive lenses.

mirror selfie

Photo by Flickr user Amanda; f/3.5, 1/8 exposure.

3. Learn to Use Your Camera’s Settings

It’s especially important that you become proficient at changing your camera’s ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings quickly. So, practice doing this until it becomes second nature.

4. Get Yourself a Sturdy Tripod and a Remote Release

You might just have spent a small fortune on buying the camera, but try to stretch your budget to include these two important accessories. They will help you take photos where long shutter speeds are needed (e.g., night shots).

5. Read Lots of Books and Magazines

They are a great source of inspiration and information, particularly those that show what camera settings were used for the photos shown.

6. Treat the Mirror Inside the Camera Body Very Carefully

It’s very important that you don’t breathe on or touch the mirror when you’ve removed the lens. If you find spots on your photos, get a camera cleaning kit and use it to remove dust or smears from the lens.

7. Avoid Changing Your Lens in Windy Conditions

Ensure you have put the most appropriate lens on your camera before you leave home. If you must change the lens outside, point the camera downward to prevent dust from getting on to the camera’s sensor.

canon eos digital slr

Photo by Andy Atmtx; ISO 100, f/2, 1.6-second exposure.

8. Beware of Camera Shake

If you find that a lot of your photos are blurred, it’s usually because of camera shake. To reduce the possibility of camera shake and consequently blurred photos, you need to increase the shutter speed. Alternatively, hold the camera close to your body or rest it on a firm object nearby.

9. Think About Your Future Needs

This is particularly important when buying a camera bag. It’s quite common for photographers to have three or more lenses, so consider having a couple of bags: a bag that will hold all of the lenses and equipment that you’re likely to have in the future and another bag that will hold a single lens will cover most situations.

10. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!

The quickest and best way to learn to figure out what you can do with your camera is to experiment. Try using different apertures when shooting landscapes or different shutter speeds when photographing moving objects, such as waterfalls.

I hope you found this short list of tips useful. Take them on board and you’ll soon be making the most of your new digital SLR camera.

About the Author:
John is an enthusiast (digitalslrbrandtalk dot com) when it comes to digital SLR cameras and is keen to help fellow enthusiasts.

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  1. Ett Venter says:

    “Reasons to buy a UV Filter: not just to improve the quality of your photos…”

    I’m sorry, I don’t want to be a jerk, but how is content like this allowed to be published? UV filters do NOT improve image quality. If anything, you’re far more likely to have a NEGATIVE impact on image quality, unless you use an expensive, high-quality filter, which STILL won’t improve image quality.

    If you’re adamant that UV filters improve image quality, I suggest you back statements like that up with some resources to prove it.

    Seriously, PictureCorrect, you’re supposed to be a resource that photographers in the industry can trust. You were when I was just starting out, but articles like this make me questions that.

  2. Richard says:

    Precious advice !! I recently bought a new DSLR camera and this article will help me a lot. Thanks John for sharing this post.

  3. Ett Venter says:

    Wow guys, deleted my comment, and didn’t fix the errors in the article?

  4. Marshall Thompson says:

    The article did not suggest to buy a UV filter for every lens just to improve picture quality it recommended it as a protection for your expensive lenses. I am very careful with my equipment but recently dropped a 17-35 F28 Nikkor worth about $2,000 on the front element of the lens and thank God I had a high-quality UV filter screw down there which then shattered but my lens was not harmed thank goodness for the UV filter! Plus, it does remove some UV scatter

  5. Sam says:

    I want to second Ett Venter’s comment, that UV filters are extraordinarily unlikely to improve picture quality except under very unusual circumstances, and I’d like to add that there is considerable evidence available that no filter will prove more useful in protecting you lens than the lens hood that came with it. Shame on the editor.

  6. Ian Woodrow says:

    The UV filter may well add extra protection to the lens but it can also cause ghost images. Filters were great for lens protection in film cameras but the digital sensor behaves different when light hits it. The light reflects off the sensor back to the front of the lens. It passes no problem through the coated elements of the lens then reaches the filter on the way out. The filter does not have the coating that the elements have so the light then reflects back off the filter and on reaching the sensor again produces a ghost image.

    It doesn’t mean you will get a double image of the entire photo but try it out by taking a picture containing pinpoints of light (for example the glint of the sun of a shiny surface) and have a look. You will often find the ghost images of these points. If anyone has a UV filter for lens protection then try this out on the same shot with and without the filter.

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