The Easiest DSLR Setting You Can Use Immediately

If you've just gotten your first DLSR, you've probably noticed there are a bazillion buttons and settings and changes you can make to completely control whatever situation you may find yourself in. These are great. If you only want to use it on green square and you have no intention of learning much more than this and just wanted a DSLR for it's speed and lens options, then I have one things you must control:

White balance. Know it, understand it, love it. 

Auto white balance (AWB - default) means that the camera will do its best to make whites true white. For the most part, outside or in a brightly lit room, the camera does a-ok. Where the camera tends to fail is a darker room with lights on. The photos you're taking at your son's birthday dinner have an orange cast to them, right? That's because the AWB setting isn't figuring out the light correctly. This is where your camera can become the best friend you wanted it to be.

In the WB setting on a Canon, scroll through the icons. You'll see these options: 

  • Sun (full sun): Pretty self-explanatory
  • A small shack with a shadow (shade): This setting will help correct the slightly blue tones that shade naturally causes.
  • Clouds (cloudy): This setting will help correct the slightly blue/grey cast of the clouds
  • Light bulb (tungsten): This is the setting you'll choose for that birthday dinner. This helps the camera correct the warm orange-y tones from your regular tungsten lightbulbs.
  • A long light bulb (fluorescent): This setting helps when you're in awful fluorescent lighting - it corrects the green tone that is cast on these images.
  • Lightning bolt (flash): For when you have a flash
  • Two triangles & a square (custom): You can find something that is pure white, choose this, shoot it and the camera will remember this setting for the shoot.
  • K (color temperature): If you know your color temperatures, you can manually choose the Kelvin number based on your lighting.

The one you will use most is AWB and lightbulb (tungsten). Test them all out on one subject to see what color cast is on the photo. You'll understand each setting immediately! That's the beauty of digital...test, test, test, delete, delete, delete!