Skip to main content

Photography cheat sheet: 10 ways to rethink the way you use your camera

Photography cheat sheet
(Image credit: Future)

Photography is a simple concept – all the photographer needs to understand is how to control brightness through a combination of camera settings. Learning how to frame the world in a way that is exciting or thoughtful, giving a glimpse into your creative vision – that’s more difficult. The process of honing your own style takes practice and experience, until you start to instinctively know which approaches will suit a situation. 

There’s a formulaic approach that many of us adopt when learning the key photographic skills (think, the rule of thirds (opens in new tab) or the exposure triangle (opens in new tab)). While these rules are helpful guidelines to get us started and get ti grips with the basics, it’s easy to become unwilling to try new ideas and think outside the box. 

The rules of photography rarely encourage imaginative thinking, instead leading many new image makers to follow an inflexible procedure for the creation of every image they shoot. Rather than being commandments, we see the rules as a means of applying a core recipe to any situation. 

Read more: The best cameras for photography (opens in new tab) 

The standardized rules give you a fantastic starting point from which to experiment and be creative, but here we want to encourage you to take a stepping stone beyond them into your own artistic – and arguably free – thinking.

In the image below, we've suggested ten ways to explore each area of camera control and question how appropriate the preconceived ideas are to image making. Why not save it onto your phone roll and refer back to it later?

(Image credit: Future)
(opens in new tab)

Read more

What are the best camera lenses to buy (opens in new tab)
Photography cheat sheets (opens in new tab)
The best professional cameras (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Digital Photographer is the ultimate monthly photography magazine for enthusiasts and pros in today’s digital marketplace.


Every issue readers are treated to interviews with leading expert photographers, cutting-edge imagery, practical shooting advice and the very latest high-end digital news and equipment reviews. The team includes seasoned journalists and passionate photographers such as the Editor Peter Fenech (opens in new tab), who are well positioned to bring you authoritative reviews and tutorials on cameras, lenses, lighting, gimbals and more.


Whether you’re a part-time amateur or a full-time pro, Digital Photographer aims to challenge, motivate and inspire you to take your best shot and get the most out of your kit, whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned shooter. 

With contributions from