Signup as a Tutor

As a tutor you can connect with more than a million students and grow your network.

The Ultimate Guide to Learning how to use Your first DSLR

No Reviews Yet

Saraswati Vihar, Gurgaon

Course ID: 36796

Saraswati Vihar, Gurgaon

Students Interested 0 (Seats Left 0)

No Reviews Yet

Date and Time

Not decided yet.

Sarbadal Pal picture
Sarbadal Pal


About Sarbadal Pal

Have 8 Years of Experience in Photography.
No reviews currently Be the First to Review

About the Course

If you’ve bought yourself a DSLR and, after unpacking it from the box, you are intimidated by the number of buttons and dials, and by the thickness of the manual, it can be very tempting to put the manual down, flick it onto ‘Auto’ and start shooting. Whilst that is fine for some, it may not be long until you crave the creative control that inspired you to purchase a DSLR in the first place, but where do you begin?

Steps for Learning How to Use Your DSLR include:
Here’s some steps for learning how to use that new DSLR that we’ll cover in this article.

Master Shooting modes (including priority modes and full manual)
Understand ISO
Learn the ‘exposure triangle’
Master Metering including exposure compensation
Learn About Focussing
Understand file size/types
Learn about White balance
There’s lots to learn if you want to get the most from your DSLR but lets start by digging into each of these topics.

Understand ISO
ISO is a measure of how sensitive the sensor of your camera is to light. The term originated in film photography, where film of different sensitivities could be used depending on the shooting conditions, and it is no different in digital photography. The ISO sensitivity is represented numerically from ISO 100 (low sensitivity) up to ISO 6400 (high sensitivity) and beyond, and controls the amount of light required by the sensor to achieve a given exposure

At ‘low’ sensitivities, more light is required to achieve a given exposure compared to high sensitivities where less light is required to achieve the same exposure. To understand this, let’s look at two different situations:

Low ISO numbers
If shooting outside, on a bright sunny day there is a lot of available light that will hit the sensor during an exposure, meaning that the sensor does not need to be very sensitive in order to achieve a correct exposure. Therefore, you could use a low ISO number, such as ISO 100 or 200. This will give you images of the highest quality, with very little grain (or noise).

High ISO numbers
If shooting in low light conditions, such as inside a dark cathedral or museum for example, there is not much light available for your camera sensor. A high ISO number, such as ISO 3200, will increase the sensitivity of the sensor, effectively multiplying the small amount of available light to give you a correctly exposed image. This multiplication effect comes with a side effect of increased noise on the image, which looks like a fine grain, reducing the overall image quality. The noise will be most pronounced in the darker/shadow regions.

Learn the ‘Exposure Triangle’
It’s important to note that aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all part of the ‘exposure triangle’. They all control either the amount of light entering the camera (aperture, shutter speed) or the amount of light required by the camera (ISO) for a given exposure.

Therefore, they are all linked, and understanding the relationship between them is crucial to being able to take control of your camera. A change in one of the settings will impact the other two. For example, considering a theoretical exposure of ISO400, f/8.0, 1/10th second. If you wanted to reduce the depth of field, and decided to use an aperture of f/4.0, you would be increasing the size of the aperture by two whole f/stops, therefore increasing the amount of light entering the camera by a factor of 4 (i.e. increasing by a factor of 2, twice).

Master Metering
Through out all of the above discussion, I have said that the camera calculates the exposure depending on the amount of available light, but what is it actually doing?

When taking a photograph, using any form of automatic exposure calculation (e.g. aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, auto-ISO etc) the camera always tries to calculate an ‘average’ exposure. It will asses the entire scene, both light and dark areas, and determine the exposure so that all of the tones within the entire image average to 18% grey – called the ‘middle’ grey.

This is known as metering, and it is the reason that if you point your camera at a bright white scene, such as after it has snowed, and take a photograph the resulting image will always appear darker than you or I see it. Similarly, if you point your camera at a really dark scene, such as a low-lit room, and take a photograph the resulting image will always be brighter than you or I see it.

The scene is always being averaged by the camera and most of the time that results in the image appearing to be correctly exposed. However, you can control what areas of the scene are being assessed by the camera in order to influence the way in which the exposure is metered.

Generally, there are three metering modes that you can choose from:

Average – The camera will assess the tones across the entire image form corner to corner, and expose the scene to 18% grey from that assessment.

Centre-weighted – The camera weights the exposure reading for the area in the centre of the viewfinder that can total up to approximately 80% of the scene, ignoring the extreme corners of the image.

Spot metering – The camera will use a very small area of the scene, typically a small circle in the centre of the viewfinder that totals approximately 5% of the viewfinder area. It will make the assessment of dark/light tones in this area and expose the entire scene to 18% grey, from that assessment.

Exposure Compensation
Generally found on a small +/- button near the shutter, this is one of the most useful functions to learn how to use. It allows you to either increase or decrease the cameras default meter reading to account for the actual brightness of a scene.

If a scene contains primarily bright tones and is being rendered too dark, for example, a bright white snow scene (that will typically be reduced to 18% grey by the default metering system), you can apply positive exposure compensation to let the camera know that the scene should be lighter than middle grey.

Conversely, if a scene contains primarily dark tones and is being rendered too light, for example, a dark night scene (that will typically be increased to 18% grey by the default metering system), you can apply negative exposure compensation to let the camera know that the scene should be darker than middle grey.

Learn About Focussing
Regardless of what shooting mode you are using, or what ISO you define, the chances are there will be a subject of your image that you want to have in focus. If that focus is not achieved, the image will not be what you wanted.


No reviews currently Be the First to Review


Students Interested 0 (Seats Left 0)

Post your requirement and let us connect you with best possible matches for Photography Classes Post your requirement now


Submit your enquiry for The Ultimate Guide to Learning how to use Your first DSLR

Please enter valid question or comment

Please enter your name.

Please enter valid Phone Number

Please enter the Pin Code.

By submitting, you agree to our Terms of use and Privacy Policy

Connect With Sarbadal

You have reached a limit!

We only allow 20 Tutor contacts under a category. Please send us an email at for contacting more Tutors.

You Already have an UrbanPro Account

Please Login to continue

Please Enter valid Email or Phone Number

Please Enter your Password

Please enter the OTP sent to your registered mobile number.

Please Enter valid Password or OTP

Forgot Password? Resend OTP OTP Sent

Sorry, we were not able to find a user with that username and password.

We have sent you an OTP to your register email address and registered number. Please enter OTP as Password to continue

Further Information Received

Thank you for providing more information about your requirement. You will hear back soon from the trainer