DSLR Photography For A Complete Newbie

Let’s just put this out there, I’m a complete newbie when it comes to photography.  Not long ago, taking a photograph meant pointing at the object, getting it in the middle of the frame, focusing and shooting.  My smartphone was really the closest I got to a camera, our big chunky one with dials that we got for an engagement present scared me. What on earth are all of those buttons, dials, letters and numbers? Pfftt…who cares. Point. Shoot. Done.

Until I got to use the Canon EOS 750D.

dslr photography for beginners
I did a super quick training session on how to use this camera, I learnt some secrets about photography that I never knew, I had 3 pages worth of scribble, I took this baby home and this is what happened. Even I surprised myself!

Here are the key things I learnt how to do on the Canon EOS 750D that helped these photographs come out half decent. It also helped that this camera was really straight forward to use too!


You know when you see all of those fancy letters on the camera knob thingy or on the digital screen and you just ignore it because that’s for the pros? Well, I learnt they are actually really important and can make a huge difference.

Aperture was my absolute favourite function to play with and you can see I’ve used it a bit in my photos.

In beginner speak, the aperture is pretty much the setting that determines whether or not everything surrounding/the background of the subject is in focus or not. It all has to do with the size of the opening to the lens.   Setting the camera to a higher aperture number means there’s a smaller hole letting light in and, therefore, more background objects will be in focus. On the other hand, when you set the camera to have  a smaller aperture number it means there will be a larger opening to the lens, more light is let in and objects in the background will appear out of focus.

I took this photograph of a bee using a small aperture value. You can see that the background is all blurred out but the bee and flower are in focus. Pretty, isn’t it?

So, have I confused you enough yet?

It may sound complicated for a beginner, and yes, it is but it does become easier and using an entry level camera like the Canon EOS 750D makes it easier because it’s a camera that is very easy to use.

Shutter Speed

I never really understood the whole idea around shutter speeds in terms of the technical aspects until I started using the EOS 750D. All I ever knew was that at night you used a slower shutter speed, but never the reason why.

Here’s the reason (if you’re a good photographer, don’t laugh). Shutter speed has to do with letting light in and is how long the shutter is open for. The more light there is (e.g. during the daytime) the less time you need for the light to get in and, therefore, the shutter speed can be higher/faster. If there is less light (e.g. night time), the shutter needs to be open longer to let more light in and, therefore, the shutter speed needs to be slower. Another funky thing that I learnt but didn’t really get a chance to play with was using shutter speed with motion. If you want to capture the ‘motion’ of a car as a ‘streak’ down the road, leave the shutter open longer (slow shutter speed). If you only want to capture an individual moment, the shutter should be open a short amount of time (fast shutter).


Another function I was always scared to touch until now is the ISO or Exposure. Again, this has a lot to do with the lighting and how sensitive the camera is to light. As the ISO number increases on your camera, it means that the sensitivity increases and can potentially lead to grainy images. As a general guide, I used an ISO of 100-200 as much as possible and increased the ISO for darker environments, for example, photographs at night or I kept the ISO setting as low as possible and kept the camera really still and waited for it to take the shot.

The rule of thirds

Have you ever noticed on your camera or phone a grid overlay? Well, I originally just thought they were really annoying lines and I’d continue to centre my subject smack bang in the middle. Wrong!!!! The lines are so much more than that! I tried really hard to keep this in mind when taking photographs but it’s a work in progress.  This definition and image from Wikipedia explains it better than I can:

The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs.[1] The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.[2] Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.

rule of thirds photography

So, that’s what I’ve learnt so far using the Canon EOS 750D and it’s been so much fun, I wish I didn’t have to hand it back.

It looked scary when I got it, I was nervous going through the functions, but in the end it just all made sense. I flicked the dial with confidence, navigated through the touch screen knowing exactly what I was looking for and wow, the photographs it took, the clarity…just amazing. This camera really helped take my photography skills to the next level, a complete novice/point-and-shoot girl like me, who would have thought!

Want to know the specs for this entry level DSLR? You can find them here.

Are you a beginner photographer? Did you know about these tips? What’s your favourite thing to photograph?


Disclosure: The Canon EOS 750D was loaned to me for the purpose of being able to experience the product, I did not receive any monetary compensation. To view my disclosure policy please see here.

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman. She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a freelance writer, a social media manager, a Mum to her six-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, six chickens and Benny the dog and wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little worker's cottage in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

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  1. October 28, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Awesome tips Eva!!! I absolutely love my Canon too!! It’s funny – until last year I had no interest in photography at all, and now I’m addicted!!!