Camera Basics

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1. The first step towards being a photographer begins with the hardware. For personal use most people use what is called a "point and shoot" camera, but for any type of professional services one has to invest in a digital SLR camera, also known as a DSLR camera. DSLR camera stands for digital single-lens reflex camera, and its name is literal. These cameras use a mechanical mirror system to direct light from the LENS to the optical VIEWFINDER. Upon first glance these cameras may seem intimidating, but once one grasps the fundamentals of its use, its benefits render its simpler counterpart nearly obsolete.

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2. One of the most integral parts of the camera is the viewfinder. Although technically it doesn't do much it is the most vital part of the camera because without it the photographer cannot see his subject. Newer cameras now have the LCD abilities that "point and shoot" cameras have but using the LCD to view and frame your subject isn't nearly as efficient. Looking through the viewfinder allows you to see your picture exactly the way that the camera will produce it. Inside of the viewfinder, typically underneath what you are visually seeing, lies the metadata. Metadata, generally speaking means data about data. The metadata on your camera shows the data about the photo you are taking such as the f/stop, shutter speed, and flash compensation (which we will discuss later).

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3. The shutter release button is another self explanatory and integral part of the camera. This is the button that captures your image and changes your focus. The shutter release button also serves as a function that can be modified to time your image capture. It can be set to capture continuous photos in succession, which is a commonly desired effect by photographers when capturing motion. It can also be set to start a timer which will give the photographer an allotted time before the picture is taken, typically 2,5, or 10 seconds. On most cameras one can also press down the shutter release button half-way to refocus the lens on the subject.

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