Getting Acquainted: Getting Started With a New Camera

This summer, it's time to find out what your digital camera can really do with the Getting Acquainted series from DCHQ. Here's a few tips to get you started.
By Digital Admin, Last updated on: 6/10/2014

So you read the reviews and bought a new digital camera. Maybe yesterday, maybe a year ago, but you haven't yet really changed any of the settings or explored exactly what your new shooter can do. Maybe you just don't understand what everything means or you just haven't found the time. Well, it's time to say more then just hello to your new camera and start a in-depth relationship. This summer, DCHQ will be uploading tips and tricks every Friday to help you learn everything your camera can do. Here are just a few to get you started.

Use the camera manual. I know, I know, nobody reads instructions anymore, but the manual that comes with your camera is a really great tool—and you don't have to read through the whole thing. Start by just skimming through the table of contents—you may be surprised to find features listed you didn't even know were there. Keep the manual handy for specific questions you may have later.

Get familiar with the menu. Hit the menu button on the camera and start looking through the options a few times. Even if you don't know what it means yet, becoming familiar with the menu will help you pick up new things later on. Most camera menus are divided into submenus: a shooting menu for options like changing the exposure and white balance; a movie menu for video-related settings; a tools section for basics like changing the date and language; and some more advanced cameras have a custom menu for tweaking the settings to your personal preferences. Generally, after hitting the playback button to access the photos that have already been taken, hitting the menu again will bring up a different submenu, with options for the photos you already have, like in-camera editing.

Have fun exploring. Learning something new can be frustrating, but figuring out your new camera shouldn't be that way. Head out to someplace fun or somewhere different just to take pictures. Then, start snapping when it doesn't matter if the first shot turns out or not. Use your screen to preview the shots and if they aren't up to par, take more. Use settings you've never used before, explore what the different menu options do just by trying them out and investigate the buttons you've never used before. The DCHQ reviewers like to head out to parks, events museums and other interesting places to test out a new camera—why not do the same with your own?

Stick around with us this summer and take some time to really get acquainted with your camera. New tips will be posted every Friday through July. Eager to get started? Check out some of our resources like the camera glossary or our past guides and tutorials. Or, ask specific questions in the comments field below or on our Facebook page.

Grab your camera, say hello, and get to snapping.

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