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Getting to know your new camera

get to know your new camera parts

So the big moment has arrived! You finally have your new camera and can’t wait to start using it. But where do you start? What should you do first? And what are the most important things to learn about your new camera?

In this article we show you how to get to know your new camera.


First things first

Before you get started doing anything, there are five things that you should really do first. Tempting though it is to dive straight in, it is worth putting in the effort to make sure you are getting off to the very best of starts. So take a bit of time to:


  • Read the instruction manual. Or at least the quick start guide. This may be online rather than a printed manual, but track it down because there may well be a few tips and hidden functions you would otherwise not be aware of. 
  • Make sure your battery is fully charged. Most manufacturers recommend a full charge before use so get this going as soon as you can.
  • Ensure that you have the correct memory card and that it is formatted properly. The best way to do this is usually from within the camera itself.
  • Set the time and date correctly, so that you get accurate information on your photos.
  • Sort the technical stuff out. If your camera has a Wifi feature, get that set up to sync to your Wifi : you may need to download the camera app to do this. Also check that your camera has the latest version of any software it needs, and that you set it up to back up photos to your cloud storage if you want to do this.


Decide on the camera settings you want

Your camera is likely to have a wide range of different settings, and it’s a good idea to set these up before you use it, then tweak as you go. Your camera manual will have more information for your specific make and model, but as a general guide you might want to look at:

  • Viewfinder focus

If your camera has a viewfinder you should be able to adjust it to your specific visual requirements using an adjuster called a diopter, which is a tiny dial near the eye piece. This will prevent the viewfinder looking blurry.


  • Default image format

You can set the default format and quality of the image to fit in with your typical use of the image. So for example if you anticipate doing a lot of post-processing on your images, you could set your camera to photograph in raw format. Otherwise you may prefer to use high resolution JPEG format. And most cameras even have the option to create both versions at the same time. 


  • Drive modes 

The drive mode of your camera determines how your camera will behave when the shutter button is pressed. The most common are Single Shot, which takes one shot at a time, and Continuous (or Burst) which will keep shooting until you remove your finger from the shutter button. But there are many other modes including Self-timer, Remote, Panorama and Multiple Exposure which are worth looking into for different uses.


  • Autofocus options

Autofocus is a useful function, and you can change the settings in Autofocus Mode so that the focus points are going to achieve the results you want. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to set them so that the camera uses the centre point to focus.


  • Metering modes

The camera’s metering mode determines how the camera measures the light coming into the frame and determines the proper exposure level. You can generally choose between:

  • Automatic Mode (also called Evaluative or Multi-Segment) – which decides it for you;
  • Partial Mode – where the camera uses the central part of the shot to measure light;
  • Spot Mode – where the camera uses just one small area of the shot to measure light.


Another setting you may want to decide on is whether or not you want your camera to beep. Many cameras do this when you turn them on or take a shot, but it can be disabled from the menu. Also start becoming familiar with your camera’s menu so that you are able to navigate round it quickly when you want to change a setting or use a different function.



Cameras come with a wide range of accessories and you don’t need them all. So avoid the temptation to spend a huge amount of money on an equally huge bundle of accessories. It’s much better to start small and build up as you go, and understand more about what you actually need.

Having said that, you are likely to start off with basics such as a good camera strap, battery grip, tripod release plate, and perhaps lenses, filters and screen protectors. So make sure you take time to fit any of these to your camera as needed, and safely store the rest.


Protect your kit

Before you take your fabulous new camera anywhere, just spare a thought for how you are going to protect it from loss or theft. For starters, it’s a good idea to label as much as you can with your contact details so that if anything is found by a good samaritan it can be reunited with you.

You should look into the best insurance for your camera in case of loss or theft. Specialist camera insurance can also cover your camera and accessories for accidental damage, mechanical breakdown including when travelling. And it’s also worth registering your camera on Immobilise – the UK’s National Property register which is used by the police to help identify the owner of recovered property.

Taking a few minutes to sort out these practicalities means that you have a better chance of getting your lovely camera back if for any reason it goes astray.




Go out and shoot!

Last but not least, you are now ready to go out and shoot! This is how to get to know your new camera in action. Take time to have some fun photography sessions to give yourself a chance to learn where all the functions and buttons are on your camera. This will enable you to become confident in using your camera and able to react quickly when a perfect photo opportunity arises.

Ensure that you experiment with the three settings of the “exposure triangle”:

  • Aperture – the amount of light coming into the camera lens.
  • Shutter speed – the length of time during which light enters the camera lens. 
  • ISO – the camera’s sensitivity to light. 


You can read more about the exposure triangle and the above three settings in our article Want to learn about photography? Start here!

Remember, the more you use your camera, the more familiar you will become with what it can do, and the better your results will be.


We hope that this guide has given you some useful information on how to get to know your new camera

Good luck on your journey, and remember to check back here soon for more helpful photography guides from Print Your Memory.


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