CUS­TOMISE YOUR CAM­ERA BODY

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Not all fea­tures are set up per­fectly by de­fault. Re­vise han­dling for in­tu­itive cam­era op­er­a­tion

When you buy a cam­era, it is set up us­ing de­fault fac­tory set­tings, since the man­u­fac­turer is mak­ing the prod­uct for a full range of pho­tog­ra­phers with dif­fer­ing needs. While this is use­ful for gen­er­alpur­pose shoot­ing, it is not con­ducive to cre­ative images or op­er­a­tion out­side of nor­mal pho­to­graphic sit­u­a­tions. Luck­ily, this can be cor­rected with relative ease, through the cus­tomi­sa­tion of con­trol lay­outs and func­tion­al­ity. How­ever, more dif­fi­cult to ad­dress is the gen­er­alised de­sign of most DSLRs, which is also in­flu­enced by the ex­pected han­dling by the ‘av­er­age’ user. The pro­por­tions of a cam­era body make shoot­ing in land­scape ori­en­ta­tion as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble, work­ing on the as­sump­tion that most pho­tos will be taken in that way (since the imag­ing sen­sor is fixed in this po­si­tion). When shoot­ing at an un­usual an­gle or in por­trait for­mat, this can be prob­lem­atic, and can present a unique set of com­po­si­tional chal­lenges. Fur­ther­more, each sub­ject de­mands a tai­lored shoot­ing style. In wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy, for ex­am­ple, dif­fer­ent an­i­mals vary in their be­hav­iour and there­fore the pho­tog­ra­pher must ad­just how they fo­cus, me­ter and com­pose their shots. When con­sid­er­ing th­ese chal­lenges, it is im­per­a­tive that cam­era han­dling be­comes in­stinc­tive and that the pho­tog­ra­pher can ac­cess set­tings and fea­tures, with­out hav­ing to take their eye away from the viewfinder. Any cam­era prop­er­ties that slow the han­dling process will act to in­crease the num­ber of missed shots. Set­ting up your cam­era to work for you, rather than the in­verse, is a valu­able mind­set. Learn the strengths and weak­nesses of your gear, so you can pre­dict where it will in­tro­duce dif­fi­cul­ties and de­vise work­arounds. Make use of user-de­fined shoot­ing modes, where you can save and ac­cess most-used cam­era set­tings, to speed up how you adapt to chang­ing con­di­tions. Don’t be afraid to ex­per­i­ment with pre­set ‘scene’ modes in rapid sit­u­a­tions – while not as con­trol­lable, they are use­ful al­ter­na­tives to man­ual shoot­ing, where you want to con­cen­trate less on the tech­ni­cal as­pects of ex­po­sure and more on fram­ing, fo­cus­ing and cap­tur­ing your sub­ject.

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