I’ve had my Canon T2i DSLR camera for a few years now, and I’ve never got around to learning how to use it properly. Every time I start learning about it, I get overwhelmed with all the variables and I would just go out and experiment. It required too much of a commitment to understand and remember the science behind taking a good photo. Without really knowing how to set up the camera, no wonder why it would take me dozens of shots to get a decent one; and I still relied on my Photoshop skills to make it a “good” photo.
I met Carrie, the owner of Four Bees Photography, who discussed with a group of us how to take photos of our little ones. She briefly touched on what each of the settings do, but with my wandering mind, only a few tips stuck with me. Here are a few that I understood because they were in layman’s terms (look at the photo to see what numbers I’m referring to):
- Shutter speed (1/200 in photo) – Adjust this according to your lens. Add at least “100” to your lens focal length. I have a 50mm lens, so my shutter speed should be no less than 1/150 (or 1/160 as per the camera setting). For example, I would start at 1/160 and go up from there (1/200, 1/250, etc.) depending on my subject.
- Aperture (F1.8 in photo) – The lower the number, the blurrier a background will be in a photo. This is what you want if you just want to focus on the subject and “blur out” the background mess. I think the lowest it would go on the Canon kit lens is F5.6.
- ISO (800 in photo) – The higher the number, the more light you’ll let in the photo. Being indoors, I would start at 800 and play around from there.
There you have it. For a beginner like me, these are three settings to play around with in manual mode. You want to get to or as close to “0” on the scale to get the proper lighting. (Hint: On a Canon, press the * button to see the scale results of your current settings.) Have fun and take lots of photos!
Oh, and the most important tip I picked up that day: Let others take photos of you and your little one together, regardless of how your hair looks or how you feel about yourself. In 10 or 20 years, you’ll be glad you have that photo of you and your baby — and who knows, you might even think you never looked better!