If you’re new to photography, chances are you have a few questions. In this post we aim to remove all the stumbling blocks and common problems photographers face starting out by answering 15 of the photography questions we hear most from beginners.
Common Photography Questions From Beginners, 1-2
01 Do I need to charge my camera’s battery?
Yes. A new DSLR will have a battery that’s only partly charged, but to avoid ending up with a dead battery at a key photographic moment, we’d recommended charging it fully before you start to play with your new camera.
Pop it in the charger, the light on the charger will flash when your battery is charging, and will turn solid green when fully charged. It normally takes around two hours to fully charge a completely flat battery.
To see how much charge is remaining in your battery, check the little battery icon on your camera’s LCD – it will flash if it’s nearly flat.
We’d recommend buying a spare battery as well – your manufacturer’s official batteries are best, but expensive; Hähnel also does good batteries that are half the price and offer reliable performance too.
- See also our tips for extending the life of your camera battery
02 Which memory card do I need?
Different DSLRs use different memory cards – either CompactFlash (CF) or Secure Digital (SD, SDHC or SDXC, depending on capacity). Consumer DSLRs use SD cards; prosumer models use CF cards; while the latest pro cameras take both CF and SD.
As camera megapixels increase, so do image file sizes, which means you’ll need bigger memory cards.
We advise using between 8GB and 32GB cards with speeds around 400x or 45MB/s for faster writing (to your card) and downloading speeds (to your computer). The higher capacity and faster the cards, the higher the price.
When you’ve downloaded your shots, we’d always suggest you format each card you put into your camera before shooting again to ‘wipe it clean’ so it’s empty and ready to store new images. This is done easily via your camera’s menu system.
03 How do I change lenses without damaging my camera?
As you improve and take more chances with your photography you’re probably going to want to take off your standard kit lens that came with your camera and try another optic. Below we show you step-by-step how to change lenses safely.
Don’t do this in a dusty atmosphere. Ideally, switch lenses indoors or sheltered from the wind to avoid dust or dirt reaching your camera’s sensor.
Lay your camera on its back on a soft surface, such as a jacket or kit bag, to protect your rear LCD, and so you’ll have both hands free to switch lenses.
Have your new lens within reach to minimise the amount of time your DSLR’s insides are open to the elements to stop dust getting in.
Use your left hand to press down on the Lens Release Button, use your right hand to turn your lens in an anti-clockwise direction and pull clear.
SEE MORE: How to find your lens’ sweet spot
Put the lens down to one side. Remove the dust cap from the lens mount of the replacement lens and put it on the lens you’ve just removed.
Depending on what brand your camera is, you’ll next want to line up the dots on the lens and camera. For example, with Canon EF and third-party lenses, line up the red dots on the lens and camera. For EF-S lenses, line up the white squares on the lens and camera.
Slot the lens in, turn it clockwise until your hear it click. Take the lens cap off your replacement lens and you’re ready to take some pictures!
Buying New Lenses: 7 questions to ask yourself and key features explained
New camera anatomy: 12 key camera settings to get you started right
99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything