Beginners’ guides to
digital SLR photography

A simple-language series taking the mystery out of cameras

Before you start

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

A quick primer for people who are starting

Alien

If SLR cameras seem completely alien to you then this short article will clarify some core issues. Understanding this stuff gives you a real advantage when you jump into the getting started article.   MORE …

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Making sense of blur

Complicated

Here’s another easy primer for people just starting out. Understanding the differences between the main causes for blur will give you a huge advantage later on   MORE …

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It helps a lot to understand what depth of field means.

Depth of field

Some people confuse depth of field with focus, but they’re not the same thing and it sure helps to know the difference   MORE …

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

frog

Here’s a simple explanation of what I learned in my first photography class at university. Not only will it help you make sense of your SLR, but it might also make you appreciate its potential   MORE …

Learning from examples

The getting started article revealed the advantages of an SLR and how it ‘thinks’. Now we put that knowledge to use   MORE …

Understanding shutter speed

It’s one of the key ingredients in getting the correct exposure. And your first option when preventing motion blur   MORE …

Understanding aperture

aperture

Aperture affects more than just the brightness of an exposure — it also affects depth of field. Here’s how aperture is part of the way we use cameras creatively   MORE …

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Focusing a modern digital SLR camera

Running dog

Modern SLR cameras can focus automatically with speed and accuracy. But making sense of all their focusing settings can be a nightmare. Here’s what you need to know   MORE …

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

Willy Wagtail

Why it happens, plus the secret to getting proper colour back into your photos   MORE …

Understanding exposure compensation

Even the best cameras sometimes make things too dark or too light, but that doesn’t have to be a problem   MORE …

Working in harsh midday light

We can’t always get the light we want. But you can still make the best of a bad situation   MORE …

Understanding dynamic range

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Cameras have their limits in how much contrast they can handle. Here’s what you need to know   MORE …

Getting sharper pictures

Welome Swallow

Here are the most likely culprits stopping photos from being tack-sharp   MORE …

Where to focus

I explain the ideal place to focus when you want as much stuff as possible to come out looking sharp   MORE …

Noise in your images

What it is, what causes it, and tips for avoiding it   MORE …

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

Freshwater turtle

There’s a lot of wildlife to be found at night. Taking pictures of it doesn’t have to be complicated   MORE …

Taking photos of the moon

Moon

At night time, your camera’s going to struggle to get a decent moon exposure. Unless you use this easy method   MORE …

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Taking photos of lightning

Lightning

Lightning can produce spectacular images. Here’s how to capture them   MORE …

Making sense of technical stuff

Things that seem complicated don’t have to be.

Megapixel madness

Megapixels

Camera manufacturers make a lot of noise about megapixels. So how many do you really need?   MORE …

Making sense of sensors

The size of a sensor makes a big difference to your photography. Here’s why   MORE …

How much camera gear do you need?

The great news is that less really is more   MORE …

Understanding histograms

Histogram

Here’s what that little graph thing is, why it’s so handy, and how to use it   MORE …

How to choose a lens

lenses

The right choice will not only improve your photography, but could also save you money   MORE …

Tips for using tripods

A few tips for getting the most out of them   MORE …

JPG versus RAW

You’re going to have to choose. So which is the best workflow?   MORE …

APS-C vs full frame

APS-C versus full frame

The differences explained, and how it affects your pictures   MORE …

Pixel density

It sounds kind of nerdy but it’s not really all that difficult to understand   MORE …

Fast lens, slow lens

What’s the difference and why do photographers love their fast lenses so much?   MORE …

Understanding colour temperature

Most people let the camera take care of it. Here’s what’s going on   MORE …

Understanding resolution

resolution

What it means, as it applies to digital photography   MORE …

Photography words explained

Every field, including photography, seems to have its own jargon.

What’s a 100% crop?

Lorikeet eye

I explain a term you’ve probably heard a lot in digital photography   MORE …

What is bracketing?

Green Tree Snake

A commonly used word for a handy trick   MORE …

What are specular highlights?

You’ll recognise them when I point them out   MORE …

Taking things further

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

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Taking photos of sunsets

Sunset

This simple method will get your skies looking almost as good as the real thing   MORE …

Isolating your subject from its background

This article expands on the telephoto lens trick mentioned above. It will help you make your subject ‘pop’ out of its backgound   MORE …

Macro photography 1

Butterfly

Taking pictures of tiny things involves a whole new way of working. Here’s the first part of my guide to using a digital SLR for bug shots   MORE …

Macro photography 2

Following on from the previous article, now we start ironing the bugs out of bug shots   MORE …

A simple trick for improving wildlife photos

cane toad

It doesn’t involve buying any new equipment and you can start doing it right away. This must be the easiest and fastest way to get better wildlife photos   MORE …

Bird photography 1

Pale-headed Rosella

They’re all around us, but getting a good shot of one can be exasperating. Here are some tricks to help your bird photography   MORE …

Bird photography 2

More ways to enhance your bird shots, including birds in flight   MORE …

Using a telephoto lens to blur the background

This is a handy trick for making your subject stand out from its background. I show you how it works   MORE …

How I take my photos of frogs

Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog

These tiny critters require a technique all their own.   MORE …

Wildlife photography

Here’s a collection of tricks to improve your photos of animals   MORE …

Using software to ‘fix’ your photos

Hopefully your pictures will look great straight out of the camera, but it still doesn’t hurt to know a few of these methods   MORE …

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Taking action photos of dogs

You’d think it was difficult. I mean dogs can move really quickly, right? But it’s easy if you know the right settings   MORE …

Sneaky stuff

Here are some software tricks used be the pros.

Image stacking

Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog

Using software to achieve extraordinary depth of field   MORE …

Sneaky deep-etching

tree

Here’s a fast way to cut crazy-complicated objects out of their backgrounds   MORE …

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Creating an instant
sepia look

sepia effect

With Photoshop you can get this effect in seconds.   MORE …

Extras

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Website updates and much more

I let you know when new articles appear on my website at my Facebook and Google+ pages, as well as plenty of short comments and thoughts about photography, along with links to some of the most interesting photography articles I’m finding on the web.

Pacific Black Duck

The elusive
waterskiing duck

It started off as a fun idea. It turned into a kind of an obsession, and a blog   MORE …

UFO

My weird UFO pic

I didn’t even notice it until I downloaded it to my computer   MORE …

Jumping Spider

Photo Gallery

Pics of Australian critters   MORE …

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