Pressing your camera’s shutter button may seem like the simplest thing in the world, something you can do with no thought at all. What is there to it? You just press the little button, right?
Well, not exactly. Actually, how you press your camera’s shutter button can have a big impact on the quality of the image you create.
First, it’s important to know that pressing the shutter button should usually be a two-step process. The two-step process involves first composing your image and then pressing the shutter halfway down. When the shutter is pressed halfway, it tells your camera to get ready to take a picture and the camera responds by calculating the correct exposure and focus for the scene you have composed. Then, once that process is complete, you finish snapping the shot by fully pressing the shutter button down to take the picture.
By taking this two-step process, you can avoid the dreaded shutter-lag problem that plagues a lot of smaller compact cameras. And, even if your camera doesn’t have a shutter-lag problem, the two-step process gives your camera a chance to do all its image calculations and the result is that you are much more likely to get a well focused and exposed image.
In addition, the two-step process helps to slow you down when you are pressing the shutter button. And that can help you avoid camera shake because pressing the button too quickly or too harshly can cause the camera to move and that can cause blurry photos.
Slow, easy and gentle is the way to go when you are snapping your photo!
So, let’s go over the two-step process again:
First, compose your image. Then press the shutter button halfway down. You will feel the shutter button stop at this halfway point and you will see notice your camera’s automatic focusing mechanism kick-in.
You camera will give you some kind of signal—it may be a beeping sound or a light—to indicate that it has locked focus and exposure on your subject. At this point, complete the shot by fully (and gently) pressing the shutter button to take the picture.
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f you are just getting started in photography, exposure is one of the first things you need learn.
But even beyond that, getting a good handle on exposure and how the different components of exposure work together is essential if you want to take control of your photography and the images that you are creating.