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Camera tips for beginners

Whether you’re using a standard point and shoot camera, a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) or even your smartphone, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you get the best results from your camera.

Learn your camera’s modes

Getting to know your equipment is always a good place to begin. Even the most basic point and shoot camera should at least have:

 Manual mode – where you can specify everything.
 Automatic mode – where the camera will make a best guess.
 Programmed mode – where certain characteristics are pre-determined.

A digital SLR will of course have a few other modes to choose from, so it’s a good idea to get an understanding of these two. They’ll give you the option to set a particular variable, while letting the camera work out the best values for the others. The two key elements to be aware of are:

• Av: Aperture Value. This is the most widely used mode for general shooting and gives you control over the Aperture. The camera will calculate the best shutter speed and exposure to use.
• Tv: Time Value. This gives you control over the shutter speed, allowing you to capture either motion or a single moment. The camera will calculate the best aperture and exposure values to use.

The rule of thirds

Every digital camera comes with a grid option – this splits the image into nine sections by overlaying two vertical and two horizontal lines on the picture. Applying the rule of thirds simply means lining up the shot so your subject isn’t centred.

For example, if there’s a horizon in your shot, don’t place it directly in the middle, instead align it along either the top third or bottom third line of your grid, depending on whether you want to focus on the sky or the ground/ocean beneath. If there’s a foreground subject in your shot, such as a person, place them against either the left or right third lines.

Change your viewpoint

Taking every single photo from eye-level can become boring and predictable. Try moving the camera either up or down for a more interesting angle – even holding the camera high above your head or resting it on ground level can make for some interesting shots. These techniques work particularly well when photographing children or animals.

How to share a digital photo via email

• Save the digital photo on your computer, clearly named in a folder so you can easily find it later.
• In your email system, open up a new message.
• Select the option on the toolbar that says ‘attach a file’. The icon representing a file attachment is usually a paperclip. Otherwise, in your email service there might be a menu called ‘insert’ – along the same toolbar as the ‘file’ and ‘edit’ menus – this includes the option of ‘file
• This will open up a new window that allows you to browse your computer’s files.
• Use the browsing window to find the photo you saved earlier, click on the file and choose ‘insert’ (or whatever variation your computer uses, such as ‘attach’ or ‘OK’).
• Your photo should now be attached to your email message! Before hitting send, you might also be given the option to decrease the file size. As long as the image is between 1-2MB, it should be fine.