Camera settings on a DSLR #photography

Highfields House

If you’re new to photography the first thing to think about is composition. In the above photo, I’ve included a bench in the foreground to give the picture depth and the trees also add to the sense of depth. The path gives me leading lines and they lead to Highfields House which is in West Bromwich and used as a registry office. When shooting a landscape like this, you use a narrow aperture. I think this was shot at f 8 but in bright sunshine, you can go narrower. Many photographers see F16 as the “sunny 16” ideal aperture but you need quite bright sunlight to shoot at F16. I rarely shoot narrower than F 16.


The light from your subject exposes your sensor to an image of your subject and on a digital camera that in turn is turned into data. The quality of that light affects the image. Under a grey sky, your image might have a grey cast and on a DSLR we can compensate for that by setting the white balance for a grey sky. In poor light, we can set the ISO higher making the sensor more sensitive to light. I shoot a lot on aperture priority. I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed, which is useful. There is also an exposure compensation setting which means I can let the camera set the exposure but I can set it slightly higher or lower than what the camera sets.

Focus points

Generally speaking, I like to use one focus point. When I took this picture my focus point was on the building and about six feet off the ground, because I’m six feet tall. The camera was level. Often when you’re taking landscape pictures you will see lampposts, buildings and trees appear to lean in your finished shot. The lens is round so creates distortion. Keep the camera as level as possible.


A DSLR meters the light and measures the light across the whole image, but that can be changed to measuring just one spot or measuring the light centre-weighted. Use centre weighed for portraits and macro shots like photographing flowers. You can also change the focus in the same way.

Shutter speed

The minimum shutter speed should be 1/100 of a second. My camera restricts the shutter speed to 1/60 if I use the flash on aperture priority and so that, for me, is when I have to use manual to get a faster shutter speed. Sometimes it is hard to keep the camera perfectly still and that is what gives us blurred pictures.

Camera settings

There are other settings on my camera. I can take several pictures at once and keep shooting when at a sporting event. My camera also does bracketing which is taking a number of pictures with different settings to get a perfect picture. I’ve used bracketing once to get the exposure just right. I usually adjust exposure when I’m editing. That day I was photographing a grade II listed pub.

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