Beginner's guides to digital SLR Photography SLR camera

Before you start

Most of you won’t need to read the articles in this section. But if you’re completely new to the subject and find it all a bit confusing, then these short and simple primers will help make sense of the rest of it.

A quick primer for people who are starting  •  Making sense of blur  •  What is depth of field?


The essential basics

Now the fun begins. This is what’s at the heart of every DSLR. This stuff will free you up to finally take control of your camera.

Getting started: what you need to know  •  Learning from examples  •  Understanding shutter speed  •  Understanding aperture  •  Focusing a modern digital SLR camera


Common problems and their solutions

Delving a little deeper, now it’s time to fix the little things that often go wrong.

Washed-out colours in photos  •  Understanding exposure compensation  •  Working in harsh midday light  •  Understanding dynamic range  •  Getting sharper pictures  •  Where to focus  •  Noise in your images


Photography at night

If photography is the capture of light then you need to know a few tricks when there isn’t any.

Taking pictures of small critters in the dark  •  Taking photos of the moon  •  Photographing the Milky Way  •  Taking photos of lightning


Technical stuff explained

Things that seem complicated don’t have to be.

APS-C vs full frame  •  Megapixel madness  •  How big will your photo print?  •  Making sense of sensors  •  Understanding histograms  •  How to choose a lens  •  Tips for using tripods  •  JPG versus RAW  •  Pixel density  •  Fast lens, slow lens  •  Understanding colour temperature  •  Understanding resolution  •  How much camera gear do you need?


Photography words deciphered

They just can’t seem to stop themselves. Every field, including photography, seems to have its own jargon.

What’s a 100% crop?  •  What is bracketing?  •  What are specular highlights?

praying mantis

Taking things further

There’s a lot of fun to be had in these techniques.

Taking photos of sunsets  •  Lighting up the foreground in a sunset shot  •  Macro photography 1  •  Macro photography 2  •  A simple trick for improving wildlife photos  •  Bird photography 1  •  Bird photography 2  •  Using a telephoto lens to blur the background  •  Isolating your subject from its background  •  How I take my photos of frogs  •  Wildlife photography  •  Using software to ‘fix’ your photos  •  Taking action photos of dogs

Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog

Sneaky stuff

Here are some software tricks used be the pros.

Image stacking  •  Sneaky deep-etching  •  Creating an instant sepia look


Quick tips

A whole bunch of tips and tricks that I wish I knew about earlier

Preventing blown-out highlights  •  Don’t forget the background  •  Dinner plates in photography  •  Specialise if you want to get really good  •  Don’t settle for the most obvious angle  •  Don’t have a heavy dew? Then fake it  •  Working with extreme backlighting  •  Do your camera settings at home  •  Focus on the eyes  •  The best way to go wide  •  Taking photos of young birds  •  The advantage of working in slow motion  •  A trick for getting great colour into macro  •  Aiming for super-small depth of field in macro shots  •  A trick for reducing camera shake in weak light  •  Looking through ugly barriers  •  A tip for macro photography in awful light  •  Yep, this shot really was taken in moonlight  •  A handy trick for taking pics of flying birds  •  The difference the quality of the light makes  •  Taking advantage of very bright light  •  How much editing is enough?  •  The secret to getting great colour  •  Another way of taking pictures of flowers  •  The best time to fix mistakes  •  A tip for making panoramas  •  Sometimes, blurry is good.  •  Working with big macro subjects  •  Using a telephoto lens to shoot macro



The bits that don’t fit anywhere else

The elusive waterskiing duck  •  My weird UFO pic  •  Photo Gallery