EOS tutorial

A DSLR gives you ultimate versatility when it comes to photographing the winter festive season. You’ll often be faced with low light situations so our tutorials this month show you how to adapt to indoor conditions and achieve stunning results with or without a flash.

• Using Night Portrait mode
• Aperture priority with a prime lens
• Use the Vari-angle LCD for child-like perspectives
• Use an on-camera flash
• Capturing festive details
• Try custom shooting modes
• Benefit from spot metering
• Make the most of your flash


Using Night Portrait mode

Many Canon EOS cameras include Night Portrait scene mode. This is designed to balance the available light with a burst of flash to freeze the motion of subjects close to the camera, yet use a longer shutter speed to capture the ambient light too. Use this mode to capture friends and family with a background of Christmas lights to convey the mood of the festive season.

seasons - Canon
Michael Bentley – Christmas Lights
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Aperture priority with a prime lens

Aperture priority (Av) ensures that a good exposure is possible in both low-light and brighter conditions. Using a fast aperture prime lens, such as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM or the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM will create attractive, defocused backgrounds that convey the essence of the festive season whilst keeping the main subject in sharp focus. The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM is also great for wide shots and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is perfect for portraits.

Use the Vari-angle LCD for child-like perspectives

The festive period is a great time for children, so make sure you capture pictures from their point of view to express a sense of childlike wonder. The Vari-angle LCD on some Canon cameras allows you to position the camera at a child’s-eye height, without having to crawl on the floor to capture a uniquely different perspective.

Use an on-camera flash

Adding a Speedlite flash on the hotshoe of your Canon EOS gives you a more powerful and creative light for your indoor photos. Many Speedlites have a moveable flash head that can be aimed towards the ceiling to give a softer more flattering result – a so-called bounce flash effect. If you opt to use bounce flash, then pull out the white catch-light panel on the flash to give a spark of light in your subject’s eyes. Using automatic mode will ensure that your camera will automatically work out the correct flash exposure for your pictures.

seasons - Canon
Matteo Paciotti – Mercatini di Natale
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Capturing festive details

Often it is the small things that make each festive season special – decorations, ornaments or table settings. Capturing photos of these elements can make particularly evocative images.

Try using a macro lens for smaller items and shoot using a fast shutter speed. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM is an ideal lens for full-frame cameras as it readily covers most general photography needs, plus has an excellent macro capability to capture smaller subjects. For APS-C cameras the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a great all-round lens that will make great photos in most situations. Get creative and shoot tree baubles, candles or toys to capture the mood of the season.

seasons - Canon
John Morgan – Snowflake Ornament:
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/


Try Custom shooting modes

Many EOS cameras include one or more Custom shooting modes, accessible just by turning the Mode dial on the top of the camera. Custom shooting modes can be used to store a preselected choice of camera settings for instant recall. For example, you might want to store a setting that will switch the camera to a low light configuration without flash. In this instance, choose Aperture priority mode (Av) and select a high ISO or auto ISO setting, and then stop the flash firing from the options in the camera’s flash settings.

Using Custom shooting modes in this way makes it simple and quick to switch between two different styles of picture: one with flash and one without – just using the available light. It’s useful for switching quickly when you want to capture winter action.

seasons - Canon
Vishwaant Avk – Ice Skating in Central Park
Copyright Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Benefit from spot metering

Spot metering can help you achieve the best exposure for group portraits taken indoors, where you also want to capture atmospheric light. Select the spot metering pattern to concentrate the camera’s attention to the centre of the frame. In scenes where there are a lot of dark areas use the spot meter to measure the brightness of people’s faces, then press the Exposure lock button before recomposing the frame to take the picture.

Make the most of your flash

Christmas photos are often taken indoors in situations where the ambient light is a significant contributor to the photo’s mood. To ensure you capture this, use one or more Speedlite flashes off-camera to make better photos. Set the flashes as slave units, and position them to light the ceiling of the room controlled automatically with the built-in Speedlite transmitter or using the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Automatic flash will keep the exposures looking as you want them. If you aim the flashes to light the ceiling in opposite corners of a room it will make much more interesting pictures than using a simple on-camera flash.

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