Simple hints and tips that help you make the most of your Canon camera
Learn to take better pictures with these digital photography tips and techniques that will let you improve your photos and turn good images into great images. Subscribe to You Connect and you'll receive the latest direct to your inbox.
Get to grips with your EOS
Holding your EOS correctly will help to avoid camera shake. Pick up your EOS by the grip with your right hand, leaving your index finger free for the Shutter Button and Main Dial. Your thumb should naturally sit across the back of the camera. Then cup the camera in the palm of your left hand to support it, using your thumb and index finger to operate the lens as required.
Filter your results
A polarising filter can create effects that are difficult or impossible to achieve digitally. This filter can turn a blue sky more intense, making clouds stand out; alternatively it can remove unwanted reflections from water or glass. As you rotate the filter you can see its effect through your viewfinder or on your LCD monitor in Live View mode.
Give yourself room in your movies
When films are shot, the cameras roll before the action starts to help with editing. So when you shoot video, leave a couple of seconds at the beginning and end of your clip. If you start recording action straight away, it is more difficult to get exactly the start and finish points you want when you edit.
Closer without a macro lens
You don’t need a specialist Macro lens to take close-up photos. Canon’s EF12 II and EF25 II Extension Tubes are hollow tubes that fit between your lens and camera body. They move the lens away from the sensor, so you can focus much closer than normal. It isn’t true macro, but it’s a great starter. There are no additional optics, so picture quality is maintained.
What does the name of a lens mean?
Let’s take an example: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
• EF – stands for Electrofocus, the lens mount on EOS cameras
• 24 – the focal length in mm at the lens’s widest angle of view
• 105 – the focal length in mm at the lens’s narrowest angle of view
• f/4 – the maximum (widest) aperture of the lens
• L – L-series lenses are the “Luxury” professional lens in the EF range
• IS – IS denotes Image Stabilizer, which detects and corrects camera shake
• USM – an ultrasonic motor within a lens makes autofocus quieter and faster
Conserving battery life
Make sure that your camera is always ready for action. Set the ‘Auto power off’ function on your EOS to 1 minute so that the camera will go sleep after that time. To reactivate it, simply half depress the shutter button. Another power-saving measure is to switch off the LCD display(s) and metering on your camera, so you can keep shooting for even longer.
Get the right stabilization for panning
Your Canon IS lens has a switch on the side of the barrel which can improve your panning shots. Normally the switch is in Mode 1 which offers stabilization in both vertical and horizontal directions. Switch to Mode 2 and stabilization is then given only in a vertical direction only; perfect for panning action shots.
The widest panorama
One of the software packages supplied with your EOS is PhotoStitch which joins a series of overlapping photos together to create an ultra wide-angle image. When you take your photos, make sure that all the settings (exposure, lens focal length, focus) on your EOS are constant. Download the pictures onto your computer, open PhotoStitch and in five minutes you will have an amazing panorama.
The point of focus
Your EOS allows you to control how much of your photo is in focus so you can create an image with a pin sharp subject and blurred background and foreground. Select Aperture Priority (Av) on the Mode Dial and adjust the aperture on the Main Dial; the lower the aperture number, the less foreground and background will be in focus.
Add a little colour
If your landscape photo lacks a little of the colour you can clearly see, try switching the White Balance from Auto to Daylight. In Auto setting your EOS is trying to normalise colours; for example it will remove warm oranges from a sunrise. Switch to Daylight and the full colours will flood back.