Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Camera! Errrrrrrmmm, eh?

A little before Christmas I went along with a bunch of friends to go and see the Red Bull Racing team event in Milton Keynes. A little chat with one of them went along these lines...
I got my camera out with what I affectionately call Lenscalibur on the front (a pretty big really cool lens).
Her - Oh, I just got a new camera. I should have brought it along. You could've shown me how to use it. I don't really know what to do with it.
Me - Oh, sure no problem. Quick question, did you read the manual at all?
Her - No of course not. (looking at me like I'd started to dribble.)
Me - Riiiiiight.

This seems pretty common with people I talk to so I figured it was about time to share a few tips for those of us who were lucky enough to get a new camera this year.

1) Embrace your inner geek and read the manual.
Yes all of it. No you're not allowed to skip the boring bits, they're character building. Sit with the camera there while you're reading and try out the different buttons and switches so you know where they all are. It won't bite (much).

2) Go take a lot of pictures.
Sounds pretty obvious right? The thing is that if the camera only comes out occasionally you're not going to remember what everything does. Practice so that when you need to take a picture at a party you can get it set up right and start shooting rather than having that “Smile... No wait, hang on a sec, that didn't work... Let me just try this... I'll just be a minute...” thing that we've all come to know and grimace through.

3) Take lots more pictures (but in different situations).
Ok, so this looks a lot like number 2, but there's a subtle difference. Your camera will probably have a setting for all sorts of different things like landscapes, portraits, pets, fireworks, indoors, wet Thursday afternoons... Well maybe not the last one, but if you deliberately put yourself in those different sort of places to take particular shots you're going to see how it all works.

Done all that? Great! You know how your camera works now right? Awesome.
Sneaky trick time...

Half pressing the shutter.
Picture the scene... You're in the pub. The camera comes out to immortalise everyone's advanced state of refreshment and they all dive on top of each other in the corner to pose with stupid grins. You point the camera, say smile and then you all wait for an eternity for the shot to happen. This results in very fixed smiles, a glazed look in the eyes, someone getting bored and moving out of shot and generally all that stuff that we've come to love seeing on Facebook pages.

But there is an answer.

Get everyone roughly where you want them. Now press the shutter button but only halfway down. The camera wakes up, does it's little focussing thing and decides if you need the flash. Essentially it gets itself all ready (most cameras, including point and shoot jobs, work like this – you may well find it in the manual that you carefully read under focus locking or something similar).

Don't move your finger.

Now shout at everyone to smile, push your finger all the way down and boom! The picture gets taken without all that tedious waiting around.

Incidentally here's a couple of shots I took from the Red Bull day.

You can find out more at the Red Bull Racing website

And for those of you that are interested here's a picture of Lenscalibur, isn't it pretty?

More sneaky tricks (and maybe a few different pictures) coming soon. I am going to be updating this blog on a much more regular basis so if there's anything you'd like to know just drop me a message or leave a comment.
I'll do my best to help.

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