So you are planning to upgrade from Point and shoot to a SLR camera. Thats a great leap or even if you are starting out from it, these tips will be of great help to you.
Experiment with the aperture
First of all you should learn about the basic concept of this, there are enough resources available online to learn it out. Next is to learn it practically.
Set up a camera at a particular place in your house to photograph an object and play with it, like a tree, a plant ,anything. Next snap pics of it at various apperture settings till the last apperture you can reach.
Now its time to view these pics on your system along with its settings and see the difference apperture creates.
Gear isn’t of much importance to you
Yeah, thats true. Since you are just starting off, an high end camera will be of no use to you since you will not know how to use it at this stage.
Photography is also not that much about the camera itself, if you understand the various concepts of it and can capture what you wanna show, then you can make the best use of any gear you have.
Know your camera well
The concepts of photography remain same, but, you still wanna know your camera very well. You can look for some online tutorials, reviews, how to video for your camera model or atleast the manual that comes along.
Try to be in manual mode
Digital SLR’s comes with an automatic mode and few other scene modes also. They are good to play with but will not make you learn the concepts well. In order to get grasp on these, you will have to understand each of them and make the camera settings appropriate for them.
A tripod is a must.
If you are starting out you must have a tripod or at-least place your camera on a stirdy surface. Even a slight jerk can distort the image that you might have taken after waiting for so much time. Even experinced photographers use it as one of the primary equipement.
Take your camera with you
Once you have learnt some basic photography you should carry camera along with yourself else you might miss an unique opportunity to capture a moment. Having a camera with you might get you those rare, once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Keep your lens with care
Your lens is the eye of camera, thus it needs care. You should keep it safe from harsh weather conditions or dust. Same goes for the sensor, if it gets damaged, better to buy a new camera body.
Dust can be a major problem in some environments, especially if you need to change lenses. Some photographers keep a damp cloth in a plastic bag and wipe the surface of the camera to remove dust before removing the lens, for more tips you can check here: Lens care tips
Take workshops if required
There are plenty of resources available online to learn photography, but in case you want to make it faster, you can attend some of the local workshops, which come in all costs. You can learn in real with the professionals the skills required and this will save some of your time.
Don’t shoot at afternoon
The light during afternoon is very straight and strong, so its better to shoot during early morning or late afternoon when the light is soothing and soft.
For landscape photography, you want to be at the scene before sunrise and sunset, to catch the first and the last rays of light, whereas for portrait photography, two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset seem to be the best times.
Learn the prime lens
The prime lens that came along with your SLR is not that useless, in fact it has some very nice features to take better photographs. A prime lens can’t zoom, thus its design is much less simpler, means there are less chances of image distortion , defects and the image is brighter. Also since it can’t zoom, you need to adjust your self at a nice spot and this provides with a good learning experince.