Here you will find all you need to know to become a better Canon EOS photographer.
Let us begin with basic setup to help you get to grips with your DSLR, before progressing to Canon’s shooting modes. We then move on to depth of field and focusing, explaining clearly how, using apertures, focusing and focal length, you can control depth of field, before offering up some smart advice for selecting shutter speed.
We also help you step up to Manual mode, show you how to make the most of lenses, and then, without drawing breath, we brighten up your life with essential flash photography skills. Finally, we round things up with a selection of cool ways that you can customise your camera.
So, lets start learning EOS photography tips, tricks and techniques.
Knowing AF Points
EOS focusing system is made up of a grid of AF points towards the centre of the viewfinder. A typical mid-range DSLR has 9 AF points, while some of the pro models have up to 61 AF points. By default the AF system will be set to Automatic Selection and all points will be active.
To check, press the ‘grid’ button and all the focus points should light up. The camera will lock onto whatever is closest to you, and this may not be the subject. So take control and manually select an AF point by scrolling through them with Main dial. Some DSLRs let you select groups of AF points, which can be useful for tracking moving subjects.
Setting Raw Image Quality
A Canon camera can record photos in two Image Quality formats: JPEG and Raw. JPEGs are processed by the camera and are much smaller files because they’re compressed before being saved on the memory card. Raw files are much larger in size, so you can’t squeeze as many onto a card. They also take longer to be saved, so you can’t shoot as many in quick succession.
If you are shooting fast-moving action it may be better to use JPEGs. However, Raw files offer superior quality as they retain more detail, but they do need to be processed in Raw software, such as Canon’s Digital Photo Professional.
When you half press the shutter button to focus, the focus confirmation light will blink in the viewfinder. Once focus is achieved this light will remain on.
If the image in the viewfinder looks blurred, but the AF confirmation light is on, try adjusting the eyepiece dioptre behind the rubber eyecup.
Extending Battery Life
Your EOS DSLR comes with a lithium-ion battery, which needs charging before you first use it. Treat the number of possible shots per charge listed in the camera manual with a pinch of salt. There are many variables that exhaust batteries faster. Live View is a big drain, but so is excessive image playback, continuous autofocus and image stabilization. Consider cutting back on these when you’re low on juice.
The most important thing, when changing lenses, is to protect the sensor from dust and dirt, so avoid doing it in windy conditions. Switch off the camera and, before you remove the lens, make sure its replacement is at hand. Angle the camera down, so that debris can’t fall into it, and change lenses swiftly. If automatic sensor cleaning doesn’t kick in when you turn on the camera, activate it in the menu.
The Full Auto (green box) or Scene Intelligent Auto (A+) modes, depending on your DSLR, work in the same way – by analysing the scene and automatically selecting the best settings to capture it. In A+ it will also set an ‘Auto’ Picture Style, which adjusts colours too.
You simply aim at your scene or subject, press the shutter button halfway for an AF point to achieve focus, then fully press the button to take the shot. Your camera will set everything from exposure brightness to ISO to metering, and will also change the AF mode from One-Shot AF to AI Servo AF if your subject moves or is moving. The flash might pop up if lighting conditions are low.
Creative Auto Mode
The Creative Auto (CA) Mode (found on the EOS 500D and later) is perfect for enthusiast photographers looking to break out of the auto modes. In CA mode you can change a few key settings, including flash and ‘ambience’. Press the Q button, then on the rear LCD you can use the dial to change the depth of field for more or less background blur.
A long exposure can lift a mundane scene by recording moving elements as a blur. Even at low ISOs and with narrow apertures, normal daylight conditions don’t permit long exposures, but exposure time can be extended by using a strong neutral density filter, such as Hoya ND Filters. This 10-stop ND extends shutter speeds by 960x, turning an exposure of 1/60 sec into one that stretches for 15 seconds.
Auto Exposure Bracketing
Bracketing means taking a series of frames close to what your camera considers to be the ‘correct’ exposure, just in case its wrong. You can set up Auto Exposure Bracketing in your camera’s red Shooting menu – look for ‘Exposure Comp/AEB Setting’ – or by selecting it on the Quick Control Screen.
The AEB function enables you to choose the exposure difference between the shots. If you need to fire the three frames quickly, set the camera’s Drive Mode to High-Speed Continuous. Once you have got a set of exposures, you can choose the one that looks right, or even blend several using HDR software.