Cameras don’t take pictures

A few years ago a friend of mine bought a Canon DSLR. He noticed that I had the same model and remarked that he had never really used any other mode other than the auto mode. There was another friend who remarked that his DSLR in auto mode was so good that he could not really envision taking better pictures by out thinking his camera. The DSLR market has been hugely successful in the last few years bringing quality photography within the reach of masses. Only a small fraction of those buyers ever really use their camera to its full extent. Have you heard the adage, Guns don’t kill, people do? I think that it is also apt for cameras. Cameras don’t take pictures, photographers do. You could have the most expensive DSLR but if you do not learn a few simple things about photography you could be producing mediocre photos at best.

My own DSLR journey started in early 2005. I was outgrowing my Sony F-707 that I bought in late 2001. Sporting a 5 MP sensor, a Carl-Zeiss lens and video recording capabilities, the F-707 was the best digital camera when it came out. I was blissfully ignorant of both the film and digital SLR cameras and their features for quite sometime until I started seriously trying to take better pictures. I soon realized that no EVF camera could match the optical capabilities of a digital SLR. Fortunately the Canon Rebel XT was released with a kit lens for just under $1000 around that time. By today’s standards that is on the pricey side but breaking the $1000 barrier was an important psychological achievement. I have been hooked on digital SLR cameras ever since. I currently own a Canon 5D Mark I, a 17-40 mm EF f4L lens, a 24-105 mm EF f4L lens, a 70-200 mm EF f4L lens and a real cheap 50 mm EF 1.8 prime lens. I also own a bunch of filters, flashes, mono lights, umbrellas and soft boxes.

I have always been a self learner so I did not take any photography classes. Rather I learned by experimentation and research. One of the best things about a digital camera is that you can take many bad pictures that do not cost you any money and you also get instant feedback. You can simply delete the practice pictures and try again. So I learned mostly by trial and error. I know enough to know that there is still a lot to learn.

Several friends have asked me to share some photography tips. Why would you want to learn from an advanced amateur like me instead of a pro? I am guessing that the pros tend to assume that you want to be a pro too. They tend to use a deluge of technical terms and details. I hope to make this much easier by only focusing on what you need to learn using a step-by-step approach that is easy to follow. In this blog I will try to share with you the most important tips about DSLR photography that I have learnt over the years. I would love your feedback and will try to answer as many questions as possible. Thanks for visiting the photography section of my blog.