Top 11 tips for beginners

1. Dioptre

Correctly setting the dioptre is so important! The dioptre adjusts the viewfinder focus. Every person's eye is a little different and thus requires different dioptre settings. You can adjust the dioptre by turning the small dial next to the viewfinder until the numbers in the viewfinder are clear, not the image itself.

2. ISO

Always use the lowest ISO that the conditions allow for. However, don't be scared if your images are coming out blurred don't be afraid to bump the ISO up. If it's dark put it up to as much as 1600 or even higher if your camera allows. Read more about ISO...

3. Tripods

If you are getting serious about photography then a tripod is a must. Don't buy the most expensive one you can afford. Cheap ones will create more problems than they solve. Don't forget to use the self-timer function to eliminate tripod wobble if you don't have a shutter release cable.

4. RAW

Always shoot in RAW. If you don't have time to play with every image after on the computer invest in a large memory card and shoot in RAW + JPEG. Read more about RAW vs. JPEG...

5. Get out there and shoot!

Pictures don't take themselves! Get out there and shoot what ever you feel like. Remember your rights; you CAN shoot strangers on the street. You CAN shoot buildings on the street (even if security is telling you that you can't!) You can even legally shoot from the indoors from the outside without needing permission. Read more...

6. Live View

You don't always have to use the viewfinder to frame your shot. By pressing the 'Set' button you can turn on Live View. Live View uses you camera's LCD screen to display what the camera is 'seeing', similar to a point-and-shoot camera. This is particularly useful when holding the camera at awkward angles. Bear in mind that Live View will drain your battery faster.

7. Adobe RGB

In the menus you will find a setting called Color Space. The default setting for Canon cameras is sRGB. Changing this setting to Adobe RGB allows for a wider range of colors to be recorded. This is particularly beneficial for direct printing or JPEG image printing now with out any computer manipulation.


The focus confirmation beep can be turned off if desired. This is particularly useful for wildlife photography.

9. Exposure Compensation

Have you ever taken a picture and found it to be too dark or too bright? By pressing and holding the Av button and turning the dial you can adjust the exposure to compensate for the conditions. A negative number makes the image darker and a positive number makes the image brighter. Read more about Exposure Compensation...

10. Metering modes

Subjects with a bright or dark background will need Exposure Compensation to avoid appearing as dark and shadowy. A better solution is to use partial metering to tell the camera to prioritise exposure for the area of focus. Read more about Metering Modes...

11. Auto Exposure Bracketing

Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is a kind of pre-emptive Exposure Compensation. Using this mode allows you to take pictures at 3 pictures in quick succession at different exposures. This is also useful for making HDR images. Read more about Auto Exposure Bracketing