5 Things you probably didn’t know about your DSLR

IMG_1338-2When you start photography, you learn a lot of features in the initial phase of learning. About shutter speed, aperture, ISO, White balance etc. Then all of a sudden, the learning stops or slows down. Why so? The reason is, after a certain level of understanding, most of the amateurs tend more towards just framing. But there are some features which remain unlearned by many amateurs. This post discusses the powerful but less used features of a DSLR.

5 Things you probably didn’t know about your DSLR

I will be discussing the importance and usability of the features in this post, not how to enable and use these in your camera. Because there are different ways of using them in different camera brands. Please refer to your camera manual for detailed steps of using them.

1. Back Button Focusing

Back button focusing is one of the most wonderful features. As we all know, the camera focuses on the subject when the shutter is pressed half way down. And when the shutter is pressed in full, it takes the shot. Enabling back button focusing makes it so that shutter button doesn’t control the focusing at all. Instead it assigns a dedicated button for focusing. And then, the shutter button is just for clicking. This is really useful when you have to take a lot of shots, but you know the focus is not going to change for every shot. With Back Button Focusing, you can set the focus once and take many shots as you want without refocusing again and again. An another useful example is when you focused anything and you are about to take the shot. Something suddenly comes between the camera and the subject. At that moment, the camera changes the focus. But if you are using the Back button focusing, no matter what happens, the focus remains fixed until or unless you want it to change.

2. Exposure Lock

Exposure lock, if used properly, it can save a lot of time and give good results. It does exactly what it says. It reads the exposure from one frame and locks the exposure. And you use that locked exposure reading to click the picture of any other frame. This feature is useful when the area you are trying to capture has a dynamic range, and the light meter is easily confused. Consider the following example.


The image on the left is without exposure lock. It overexposed the highlights and showed some shadow details. But I didn’t want the shadow details. I wanted the details in highlights. So I took the camera outside, locked the exposure and then moved back inside. Then I took the shot. In that process, the camera used the exposure reading of the highlight area. ( the similar result is quite possible by using spot metering in this example. But this is just an example. Exposure lock and spot metering are different things. You can achieve many different results which you can’t by spot metering)

3. Custom White Balance

Setting up White balance is one of the important decisions we have to make while taking a photograph. The entire look and feel of the photo depend upon that. Many of us still use the AWB (Auto white balance). Before moving to custom white balance, let me tell you, stop using AWB. It is just crap. You should try other white balance options like Shade or tungsten with some test shots and see how that affects the picture. You’ll get far better results than AWB .
Custom white balance is one of the custom options in your camera. With a little practice, if used correctly, custom white balance can give you brilliant results. Simple words of defining Custom White Balance is, It lets you capture the colors the way they look to you in reality. You know the camera is not intelligent enough, it neutralises the colors. The colors you look in reality, AWB gets you something different in the picture. For setting up a custom white balance, you will be needing a calibrator for this, a gray card (or a white paper will do, but a gray card will get you more precise results). Now, most of you will say that we can adjust white balance and color correct the picture while post processing. But the question is, how will you remember the colors of the subject later.
Following example shows the difference between an auto white balance and custom white balance


4. DOF (Depth of field) Preview

Depth of field is a common term to a photographer. It is the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Unfortunately, we cannot directly see the depth of field before taking the shot. That is where the DOF Preview comes into action. In almost every modern DSLR, we have a DOF Preview button. For many amateur photographers, this button does nothing but making viewfinder dark. But there is more on that. When you press the button, you will see a preview of areas in focus and areas out of focus. It saves time, because when you care about DOF in a picture. You can see the preview instantly in just one button press, rather than taking a lot of shots and deciding which is the one you need.

5. Flash Compensation

A lot of amateurs think that on board flash is just a piece of crap. Well, this is not true. Something is always better than nothing. You just have to know how to use it properly. Flash compensation is similar to exposure compensation. Like exposure compensation compensate the exposure. Flash compensation is a way to compensate the power of flash. It is fairly easy to use. You can increase or decrease the power of flash so that you will get the exact amount of flash light you need. Once you understand this. You’ll know how to use flash effectively.

These were few important features which are less used by most of the amateurs. But once understood, you’ll be one step closer to being a pro. I will be coming up with detailed articles on individual features soon.

100 Things I have learned about Photography

Since I started photography few years ago. I have learned different things about it. Which I am going to share with you. I hope you will find these interesting and inspiring. Here are the 100 things I have learned about Photography.

100 Things I have learned about Photography

  1. A pen to a poet, a camera to a photographer.
  2. Always shoot in RAW, Always.
  3. Megapixels don’t matter.
  4. Do not put big watermarks on your pictures. It distracts the viewer. Try a smaller one.HDR_IMG_9607_HDR
  5. Photography helps you see the world differently.
  6. Travel and Photography are a perfect pair.
  7. Do not go out for a shoot empty stomach.
  8. There is no magic camera or lens.
  9. Turning any uninteresting picture into B&W doesn’t make it interesting.
  10. It takes time to become a good photographer, there is no shortcut to it.
  11. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty.
  12. Rule of third works most of the times.
  13. Being a photographer is cool.
  14. Your first 10,000 pictures are your worst – Henry Cartier.
  15. Photography is never a waste of time.
  16. Find your own style of photography.
  17. Do not pick all of your gear with you while shooting.
  18. Grain is beautiful.
  19. More photos you take,  the better you get.
  20. Learn from your mistakes
  21. Slider_IMG_2269_HDR-2Candid is better than posed.
  22. Print your pictures big, it makes you feel happy.
  23. Shoot for you, not anyone else.
  24. Great photographers don’t care what you shoot with. They care about your vision, not the camera.
  25. Zoom with your feet, not with your phone [Phone camera].
  26. Turn on Flight mode for distraction free shooting [Phone camera].
  27. Join a Photography club.
  28. Never compare your skills with anyone else in better or worse context.
  29. Prime lens helps you become a better photographer.
  30. Everything just looks better with 50mm prime Lens.
  31. Do not photograph the beggars in street photography.
  32. Start a Photoblog
  33. Don’t treat your camera like your kid, treat it like somebody else’s kid :).
  34. Clean your camera after every photo shoot.
  35. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.
  36. Think about a good caption for a photograph. It makes it more interesting.
  37. Portrait with Bokeh makes it more beautiful.
  38. Mobile phone camera is still a camera.
  39. You don’t need to photograph everything.
  40. HDR is an art, not just post processing.
  41. These days everyone is a photographer.
  42. Travel light.
  43. Do not shoot everything you see, some things are just meant to feel.
  44. Best lens is the one which you left at home. 🙂
  45. If you like someone’s photo, describe what you like. “Nice Shot” is not a useful comment.
  46. A noisy picture is better than blurry one.
  47. Enjoy the scene, not just capture it.
  48. Learn to setup custom white balance because you can’t remember the colors.
  49. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
  50. Alcohol and photography don’t mix well.
  51. Soft light is the best light.
  52. Don’t pamper your camera, use and abuse it.
  53. If a photograph isn’t shared or printed, it is technically never taken.
  54. Compose more, hit the shutter less.
  55. Share your pictures on social sites, it helps you become a better photographer and become more social.
  56. Sometimes you just have to capture a moment, you don’t have to worry about the details, sometimes!
  57. Like and spend time on looking at other’s work also. Do not always expect others to look at your pictures.
  58. Show only the best of your work.Varanasi_IMG_2924
  59. Post processing is a part of photography.
  60. Start photography projects. Setting up goals help you become a better photographer.
  61. Often Learn about technical details.
  62. Learn to read Histogram.
  63. Always remember what brought you to photography.
  64. You will discover a lot about yourself through your Photography.
  65. Always have at least two backups of your pictures. Investing in storage device is much  better than losing your work.
  66. Do not tell anyone that you Photoshop your images. Just tell them you do some optimizations.
  67. Taking photographs of strangers is thrilling.
  68. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.
  69. Photoshop cannot turn bad photos into good ones.
  70. Be original in your style of photography. Do not copy the style of others.
  71. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention.
  72. Good self portraits are harder to take than they seem.
  73. Don’t be afraid to take photos in the rain.
  74. Always keep a camera rain cover with you.
  75. Write tips about photography. More you write, more you will learn.
  76. Visit a place again and again. light is not same every time.
  77. Criticize honestly but respectfully.
  78. Participate in photocontests.
  79. Read books about photography.
  80. Do not pack your camera before you leave the place.
  81. Search for a mentorRandomness_IMG_0037
  82. Do not fear the manual mode.
  83. Programmed auto mode isn’t just for beginners.
  84. Read the camera manual. Normally, it has more than enough you need to know about your camera.
  85. There will be people who will not like your work
  86. There will be people who will not like what you are doing.
  87. Do not go out for photography with someone who doesn’t like photography.
  88. Pay attention to the whole picture, not just the subject.
  89. Be a part of scene while taking a photo.
  90. Put your photos on your blog, not just a social network. They could disappear any day.
  91. Never trust your LCD.
  92. Expect the unexpected.
  93. Shoot as often as possible.
  94. Get feedback from your partner.
  95. Keep your camera clean.
  96. Share your photography secrets. No one can steal your personal vision.
  97. The best camera is one you know how to use.
  98. An honest comment is worth a 100 likes.
  99. While shooting, pay attention to the corners of the viewfinder.
  100. Write your own list.

Histogram and LCD – The matter of Trust

The article is about Histograms and how to read them. The histogram is one of the most useful tools in the world of photography and often the most misunderstood. A histogram is a tool which guides us to evaluate the exposure of a picture. Understanding Histogram makes a big difference between an amateur photographer and an advanced one. So once you understand and start using this, you’ll be one step closer to being an advanced photographer.



Can’t just we use the LCD like always?

Yes, you can. After all , Histograms don’t replace your eyes and experience. But in some situations, you cannot rely upon LCD. The issue with LCDs is, they can’t be trusted. There are two reasons. First, you can misread the exposure of an image in certain situations like in bright sunlight. Secondly, changing the brightness of your LCD screen can cause you to misread the exposure.

One important thing is, you cannot be sure if there are details missing in a picture due to overexposure or underexposure just by looking at the LCD. So the question is which one to trust, LCD or Histogram? I’ll say the combination of both. Use Histogram as a guide, and eyes for the experience of picture.

Histogram and How to Read it

There are many complex definitions for it. But I’ll make it simple for you. It is a graph showing the brightness distribution. In other words, a graph which counts the number of pixels at each level of brightness. Didn’t understand this, don’t worry, who cares about the definition :). All we care about is the usage. A typical histogram is shown below.


The far left is the dark or pure black, called Shadows, and far right is bright, or pure white called Highlights. And area in middle is called Midtones.
If an image is underexposed, the pixels in the graph will be concentrated towards the left.
If an image is overexposed, the pixels in the graph will be concentrated towards the right.
And a correctly exposed image is the one in which the graph is spread all over, not concentrated towards any end.
Here are few examples.
Histogram for an underexposed image will look like the following image


You’ll see the graph moved towards the left end, that means there are more dark pixels and fewer bright pixels. In other words, it is underexposed.
An example of overexposed image
Opposite to the previous image, the graph is leaning towards the right end, that means there are more bright pixels, or it is overexposed.
So how does the balanced or nicely exposed image looks like



I annotated the picture just to make clear which area represents which part of the histogram.

Keypoints while reading histograms

Well, if you are still not confident much about reading the histogram, I’ll make it little more simpler. Here are some keypoints to keep in mind while reviewing a histogram.

  1. If a histogram is leaning towards the left or if there is a big gap between the end of the histogram and far right, the picture is underexposed.
  2. If a histogram is leaning towards right or there is a big gap between the far left end and the start of the histogram, that means the picture is overexposed.
  3. If you find the graph being clipped off from either end, that means there are some details missing. Either due to overexposure or underexposure, depending upon the area being clipped off.

And if you find incorrect exposure, there are ways to correct it. One of them is exposure compensation. I’ll be shortly coming up with an article on that.
If you keep these three keypoints in mind, these will work, most of the times. Remember, the histogram is just a guide, not a master. There is no hard & fast rule for beautiful pictures. This is just a tool which can help us to evaluate the exposure in conditions where we cannot rely upon LCD screens.

Should we stick to it?

No, not at all. Photography is about breaking the rules (after knowing them). So consider this as a helper. But you don’t have to stick with it. Because sometimes, you want to get some pictures whose histogram can’t be perfect. I’ll show you an example


This picture doesn’t have a perfect histogram, but still, it is beautiful. You know why.


Understanding histogram will add one more skill to get good pictures. There is no perfect graph in histograms which can get you the best picture in the world. Histograms are just a guide which can help you better evaluate the picture. And you become one step closer to being a Pro. I’ll be shortly coming up with a new article on more advanced details, Color Histograms.

Please leave a feedback and share it if you found this helpful.

20 Reasons not to date a Photographer

In conjunction to my previous post 20 Reasons to date a Photographer, here is the next post on “20 Reasons not to date a photographer”.
Dating a photographer is not easy. Here are the 20 reasons you should know before proposing or accepting proposal from a photographer.

Here are the 20 Reasons not to date a Photographer

1. They do not care about Rules

Photographers are known for their habit of breaking rules. Trespassing to any abandoned building or any restricted area is not rare. They often put themselves in a situation, realizing later that they are not supposed to do that.

2. They don’t travel light

So if you ask them to bring their camera along, you are asking them to bring his Tripod, Flash, Cleaners and few additional lenses with them.

3. They are control freaks

Getting a portrait from them is not easy. They will try to control you, your gestures, face expressions and pretty much everything. Because every minor detail matters, and asking for one portrait means 10 different portraits.

4. They are too honest about your looks

Well, do not expect any photographer boyfriend or girlfriend for an insincere compliment, not even to make you feel happy. They are way too honest about what they think of your looks. So if they says that you look fat or your hairs look dull, they really mean it!

5. Romantic sunsets will not be romantic anymore

The non-photographer sighs and says, “Ah, this is so beautiful”
The photographer sighs and says, “F/8 at 1/8th of a second”

6. You’ll never enjoy fresh cooked meals

That is because they will spend initial 10 minutes for getting the right shot of it. After all, every photographer begins its career as a food photographer.

7. They will be annoyed , if your friend compliments the camera they own, not their photography skills

So you’ll often hear the words “Camera doesn’t matter” from them

8. If you use Auto mode, they will laugh at you.

Try programmed auto mode instead 🙂

9. They won’t be in most of your family and vacation pictures

You’ll have a hard time to prove you both were on a vacations together because they’ll be clicking most of pictures without being themselves in front of the camera.

10. Your have to be extra careful about handling their gear

Or you owe them thousands of dollars if you accidentally break their stuff.

11. If they are looking deep into your eyes, don’t be fooled.

They are probably thinking about the best angle.

12. They are weird and dirty.

They won’t think twice about lying down on ground when it comes to taking a shot, and they won’t care how they behave when they have a camera in hand.


13. They will often put you in awkward situations.

If they find an interesting light passing by a street, they’ll beg you to pose for them in public, just to get a beautiful shot. So be ready to be a subject, and yes, like always, do not expect them to send you the picture.

14. You’ll spend about a third of your life waiting around for them to get just the right angle!

🙂 🙂 🙂

15. If you are on long walk together, be prepared to stop after every 10 steps.

16. They’ll stare others in public.

If they are staring too much on any girl or boy in public, don’t worry, there is nothing dirty going on in their mind. They are just imagining the photo they would take. Either way, this doesn’t make it less embarrassing though.

17. They’ll always point out mistakes in your family photos

And if they don’t, that means they are not just saying it to you

18. Photographers are always lusting after somebody else’s equipment.

No comments on this 🙂

19. You’ll feel jealous sometimes.

Because they will spend their most of time with more cool people like models, designers and artists

20. They prefer walking

And they will drag you into this 🙂

20 Reasons to Date a Photographer

Photographers are the most creative and out of the box breed you will ever find. They love cameras, light! Unlike others, they can see world differently. They are not the boring kind, they are the creative kind. These are not actually their inborn qualities, it is the camera which teaches them how to see, and yes, people around them are influenced by them. In fact intentionally or unintentionally, they have an effect on others, kind of impression. And if you are dating a photographer, you can be the luckiest one in your friend circle.
Not sure why?? Here are the 20 reasons why you should date a Photographer

Here are the 20 reasons why you should date a Photographer

1. You’ll never miss a moment

Even if there is nothing interesting going on, it is a photographer’s habit of pressing shutter at least once a while. So you’ll never miss a moment. At some time, you’ll find a full photo record of that part of your life.

2. You’ll get to travel a lot

Photographers are meant to travel, It is their job. So if you are dating a photographer, you’ll get to travel and explore new places occasionally.

3. You’ll feel much beautiful than ever

Well, you are the closest one to him, and you’ll be on the top of his model list. You’ll see yourself differently every day, he can make you feel special and much beautiful than you ever felt

4. They know about latest fashion and trends

Photographers know what is the latest trend going on, whether it is gadgets, cameras or clothes. So if you are going shopping with a photographer, you don’t have to worry about getting a wrong thing.

5. They are very social.

Most of photographers are very social, not self centered. They will talk a lot, they have their own lovely senses. So if you are dating a photographer, don’t be nervous when he is talking to your sister or parents, they’ll love talking to him.

6. You’ll never get bored.

They always have something interesting to talk about

7. In case of any family event, you always have a backup photographer

Even if you have hired a photographer for your cousin’s wedding, your partner will be there, for free , snapping around for the fun of it. Or because he can’t help himself. Either way, the photos are covered.

8. They can give great technical advice.

Especially when your friend is going to get a new camera.

9. You’ll not feel fear facing the camera anymore.

He won’t skip a day without clicking, so if you are with him, get used to face the camera. And yes, do not pose, he’ll hate that, just be natural when he is clicking.

10. You’ll always get an excuse for shopping.

Photography is an expensive hobby or profession. His photography gear is much more expensive than your clothes, phones or even your car. So there are less chances of negotiation on shopping if you two get married.

11. You’ll spend more time together.

You just have to say, “I got a new dress, will you do a portrait shoot for me”. And he’ll spend hours with you.

12. He’ll talk less about sports and action movies.

They have much better and nice things to talk about, and obviously ladies, talking about nature and sunsets is always better than action movies 🙂

13. Selecting birthday gifts will be easier than ever.

Just pickup any accessory or even a photobook, there is no chance he won’t love it.

14. They will help you see world differently.

That’s because it is in their blood to look for different perspective. and obviously, he is going to share it with you.

15. You Facebook profile will always look fresh and interesting.

Well, Comments are useless on this 🙂

16. You’ll always remember dishes you tried on your date.

That’s because he’ll always click the picture of dishes first before you start. And yes, do not make him angry by touching the dish until he get his picture.

17. They’ll never get late on a date

It is their natural inclination to be on time. If he can get on time for a sunrise, reaching on time for a date is not a big deal.

18. It is easy to make him smile in hard times.

If he is angry or sad, just say something nice about his latest work.

19. Great sense of security

You will always have a sense of security with him as he often keeps a Tripod with him, and that can be easily used as a weapon.

20. Lucky sometimes

They are often mistaken as media person, so sometimes you can be lucky to be treated as VIP with him


Related Article: 20 Reasons not to Date a Photographer