Basic camera settings
I recommend to any novice photographer, whenever possible, to actively use the automation of the camera. This applies to matrix metering, autofocus, automatic white balance, and everything else that only lends itself to automation, and with which modern cameras often cope better than modern photographers. Put all the black work on the camera, and pay more attention to the search for beautiful scenes and the harmonious composition of the frame.
But there are cases when a camera imagining itself too smart has to be taken in hedgehogs.
Shot on a full machine. What nonsense?
It didn’t look like that at all!
Exposure Compensation + White Balance + Image Style
This is another matter. I reduced the exposure by 1.3 feet (- 1.3 EV), changed the white balance to cloudy, chose the vivid image style and added 2 saturation points. As a result, the rich colors of the sunset sky are fully manifested.
It turns out that some simple manipulations can significantly improve the look of your pictures. I mean – your good shots. Mediocre pictures with poor composition or dull lighting won’t stop being mediocre no matter how much you mess with the camera settings.
The two most important parameters that you should be able to adjust are exposure compensation and white balance. All cameras have these settings – the only difference is the convenience of working with them. More expensive cameras allow you to adjust the exposure and white balance directly, while cheaper cameras can make you climb the menu. Check your camera manual for details.
Keep in mind that the green mode (AUTO), so beloved by beginners, usually does not allow the photographer to control either exposure, white balance, or many other useful camera options. The same applies to stupid story modes (portrait, landscape, macro, etc.), which greatly limit the flight of fantasy.
Be prudent and shoot in one of the four traditional professional modes: P, A, S, M or P, Av, Tv, M. All of them (except, perhaps, manual mode M) lend themselves to automation no worse than modes for housewives but at the same time leave you the freedom to flexibly control any camera settings in accordance with the specific photographic situation. Read more about shooting modes in the article “Camera modes”.
Exposure compensation (exposure compensation) is used to force exposure changes in automatic modes. The matrix metering of modern cameras works well in most situations, but in difficult lighting conditions it can be wrong. Many cameras tend to overexposure when the contrast of the scene is high, as well as to underexposure when shooting low-contrast light scenes. Exposure compensation was invented precisely for these cases. If the picture comes out too bright, you decrease the exposure, i.e. enter a negative correction and get a correctly exposed frame. If the picture is too dark, the exposure needs to be increased.
On most cameras, for exposure compensation, you need to press the +/- button and spin the wheel, changing the exposure up or down. Some cameras are equipped with a separate exposure compensation control, and in some you have to set the appropriate correction through a special menu.
The white balance is called so because its task is to keep the white color in the pictures exactly white regardless of the lighting, whether it be the reddish rays of the setting sun or the blue-green light of a mercury lamp. By choosing a white balance value that matches the current lighting conditions, you achieve the most natural color gamut. In addition, like any other customizable camera setting, white balance can be used for creative purposes. After all, no one forbids setting the “wrong” white balance in order to intentionally distort the colors in the picture. Automatic white balance, as a rule, gives an acceptable result in daylight, but unusual light often requires you to interfere with the camera.
Why is all this necessary?
And then, that the camera does not see the world like a person does. She is unable to appreciate the beauty and exclusivity of the scene. The algorithms that control it are designed to receive more or less acceptable images in conditions close to standard, and it is non-standard conditions that most often turn out to be the most attractive for shooting.
It is not enough just to see the photogenic plot, you need to imagine how his camera will see it, and make the appropriate adjustments. In the digital age, making it easy. Take a test shot and look at the screen – if the image doesn’t look the way you would like it to, make corrections and shoot again until you are satisfied with the result. Over time, your experience will allow you to predict the necessary adjustments before shooting.
I do not urge you to blindly copy the surrounding reality. Usually I’m shooting not what my eyes see, but what my mind sees. Nature is beautiful.