Introduction to DSLR Photography Introduction to DSLR
• Created by Deirdre J. Dolan for The Port Jefferson Free
• October 28, 2020
Agenda • Cameras, Features and Settings
• Types of Cameras • How DSLR Works • Why DSLR? • DSLR – Common
Features current models • Overview of Menus and Some Key
• Points to Shoot – Part 1 • Shooting in good and/or changing light
• Focal Points
• Manual Mode • Understanding some basic settings • How to change
• Assignment for next week
Cameras, Features & Settings
Types of Cameras
• Compact (Point and Shoot): Small, less expensive and super simple
to use. Most are aimed at beginners, shooting indoors and taking
mostly family shots.
• DSLR: “Digital Single-Lens Reflex” have grippable bodies, clear
viewfinders, great battery life, and good value for the money.
Models for both beginners/enthusiasts and experts/pros. They offer
high quality images, ability to use a variety of lenses and have
lots of features.
• Mirrorless: Newer trend. Lighter, compact, better for video than
DSLR but with less lenses and accessories to choose from.
Overview of how DSLR
• A DSLR system consists of two main elements: the lens and the
camera body. These can be interchanged to an extent. Understanding
their basic concept is not rocket science. It is explained best by
showing the way of light.
• First, light (blue line) hits the lens from the front. Then, it
travels through the lens, which shapes it to a form the
photographer desires. It then makes its way through the lens mount
to the camera.
• Then it encounters the main mirror. The mirror reflects most of
it upwards, to the viewfinder. There, a pentaprism or a pentamirror
directs it to the viewer’s eye. This allows you to see exactly what
the lens sees.
• In SLRs and DSLRs with autofocus, a small portion of the incoming
light actually passes through the main mirror. There, it hits the
secondary mirror. This directs it down to the autofocusing
• In this state, none of the light hits the imaging sensor. This is
a key trait of DSLRs.
• When you press the shutter button to take a photo, the mirrors
flip up. This enables light to hit the sensor. Because the main
mirror no longer reflects anything, there is a blackout in the
• The shutter mechanism, right in front of the sensor, opens up. It
exposes the image and closes down after a set amount of time. That
time is called the shutter speed.
• After the exposure, the moving parts go back to their previous
• Touchscreen – Makes navigating more intuitive. You can pinch and
zoom and hold and drag items.
• Optical Viewfinders – allows you to view the scene directly
through the lens.
• Sensors – APS-C or Full Frame
• Wifi – connect to your camera over it’s WIFI from a tablet or PC.
Download images directly. App usually required.
• Remote Live Shooting – Using their app you can connect on the
camera’s WIFI and remote live shoot.
• HDR Mode – uses multiple photos taken at different exposures to
add dynamic range
• Face Detection – A function that automatically detects human
faces and then sets focus and appropriate exposure to capture
• Brightness Control – Allows the camera to adjust the brightness
of a captured image for optimal exposure
• Burst Mode – AKA Continuous shooting – allows for multiple shot
in rapid succession
• In-Lens Image Stabilization – helps reduce image blurring from
camera motion. An element within the lens moves automatically to
counteract detected motion.
• White Balance Modes – settings that calibrates how the color
white is rendered in an image/video, reducing the appearance of
unnatural contrasts caused by various light sources
• Autofocus – Allows the camera to automatically focus through the
lens rather than by adjusting the lens manually
Common Features in newer models
There are a bunch more beyond these!
• All your Basics are here for you to get Started – use the Q
button & the Quick Menu
• Use dial button to advance through each box. Use middle button
(“Set”) to click in and change the settings
Introduction to Settings and Adjustments – “Secret” Tips
DSLR Cameras • Diopter Dial – if you wear glasses – and even if you
adjust this dial so that you are able to use the viewfinder set to
your sight. The dial is usually located right near the
Introduction to Settings and Adjustments – “Secret” Tips
Points to Shoot, Part 1
Focus and Light
• Manual focusing vs. auto – Start with auto focus, use manual
if/when the camera is not picking up the subject properly or if you
are shooting macro shots as an example. • This setting is a switch
right on your lens
• The auto modes (Auto, Program), on your camera are great places
to start! Cameras are very advanced – let them do most of the work!
• Picture Style – change as you shoot. Portraits, Landscape,
Monochrome –etc. • Exposure Dial – adjust base on conditions •
Shooting in changing light – In your quick menu change for
“Shade”, “Cloudy” – etc. This can help to prevent exposure issues •
Focal Points – for your focus (above) to work well you should be
updating your focal points based on what you are shooting.
• Progress to semi automatic modes (Aperture Priority –Av, and
Shutter Priority- Tv) as you feel comfortable or want to control
These 3 Things
• Manual mode allows you to manually adjust your shutter speed,
aperture and/or ISO settings for certain subjects where the camera
itself can’t properly sense and adjust for you or if you would
prefer to control these settings yourself
• These three settings work together to control the how bright or
dark your photo is (known as exposure), as well as change the
overall look of the image (sharpness). • Shutter Speed • Aperture •
Understanding some basics
• Open your menu options (Canon would be the “Q” button)
• Use your dial to progress left to right, “Set” to click in and
How to change the settings
Assignment: Shoot the moon!
• Over the course of this week try to take some photos of the
• Use the camera and lens you have – if not ideal it is still a
• It can be a daytime moon or nighttime moon.
• It can be the full moon (The Blue Moon is on Halloween!)
• It can be any day you see the moon out (waxing or waning)
• If you don’t have the opportunity to see the moon this week take
a photo of the sky maybe in early morning or later in evening.
Sunrise or sunset.
• Review as you shoot. Try manual mode especially if shooting in
low light or at night
• Email your photos by 4pm next Wednesday to
Day time Moon • You don’t need to do the “NASA” shot.
• Daytime moon shots can be just as neat.
• Use the environment to your advantage such as trees, planes,
clouds – etc. Composition and color!
• You should be able to shoot in auto mode and maybe just adjust
your scene/light conditions settings.
• Try to use a manual focus as autofocus may have some challenges
picking up the right focus points.
Copyright Deirdre J. Dolan
Edit to Enhance
• You can edit to enhance your image as long as you’ve got the
basics accomplished (no white blobs!)
• Your sharpness & structure edits can bring out the details of
craters and such on the surface more
• Your brightness and contrast can also help to enhance your
• Yes the moon has color! And certain times of the year it can
appear orange or red!
Copyright Deirdre J. Dolan
Starting Point – Tips & Settings
You will need to do some tests shots and adjust your settings
possibly a few times. Be patient!
Test & Adjust
Factors will be your camera/lens and how bright and full the moon
is that night, other light sources and how clear the sky is.
Remember to use a tripod if you can or prop yourself on a table,
fence or something to stabilize you. It matters a lot with the moon
Photographing Just The Moon:
• Use a long lens (> 200mm) and zoom in as far as you can.
• Set the camera to ISO 100.
• Choose aperture. f/11 to f/16 (find the sweet spot for
• Choose shutter speed. Shutter speed around 1/60th to
• Manual focus set to infinity.
Example of Settings
Upcoming Lunar Events
• Fall and Winter’s crisp, dry air usually means great sky
• 10/31 - “Blue” Moon – a blue moon is when there are 2 full moons
that fall in the same month. The second one is called the “Blue”
moon. No it will unfortunately not look blue in color.
• 11/30 - “Beaver Moon”
• 12/29 - “Cold Moon”
• Next Supermoon – March 28, 2021. Supermoons are ideal for
photographing – they appear larger and brighter than a regular full
• Next Lunar Eclipse – Nov 30, 2020 at 2:32 am. It’s a penumbral
eclipse (Moon travels through Earth’s penumbra – it will look sort
of like just a full moon). The Earth’s shadow will begin to faintly
cover the lunar surface. Ends at 6:53 am.
Next Class • Review of your moon/sky shots &
• Care and Storage of your camera
• Tips and Tricks