10 Important Camera Functions for Beginners

learn how to take stunning photos if you’re new to photography. You are going to know your new camera’s basic features.

I’ll outline the 10 important camera functions for beginners you should be familiar with to take better images.

Cameras from all brands will have these features. You may thus use this manual with cameras made by Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, etc. All brands of cameras will be compatible.

Essential Camera Functions for Beginners

Camera Functions for Beginners

Aperture Priority Mode

The first option you should choose in your camera after turning it on if you use an interchangeable lens camera for photography, such as a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, is the camera mode.

It is recommended for new users begin with the Aperture Priority setting. Yet, if you’re serious about learning photography, avoid using your camera’s Auto setting.

Your camera’s aperture priority setting should be selected. It may also go by the name of “Aperture mode” on certain cameras. In the camera, it will be identified as Av or A. You may choose the Aperture value here, and the camera will provide the shutter speed and ISO numbers that are necessary for the desired exposure.

Use a big aperture if you want more light to enter your camera (small f-number). You may get a faster shutter speed at lower ISOs thanks to it. Lower ISO settings aid in reducing picture noise. A small depth of field will be possible. Portrait photos may be taken using it.

You may choose a small Aperture if you want a larger focus area (large f-number). In landscape photography, when you want the whole image to be in focus, it is helpful.

Image Zooming 

Are you certain that you always receive a crisp, clear image when you take a picture?

The picture is constantly visible on your camera’s LCD screen. Yet, the typical size of these screens is just 3 inches. So, it will be impossible to tell if a picture is crisp from a preview alone.

To examine and confirm whether the picture is crisp or not, you must use the zoom option on your camera to enlarge the image to 100 percent and see every part of the image.

Some cameras include a magnification button that you may push. Several cameras have touchscreen functionality. Your hand can squeeze and zoom in on this.

Read my article on different types of cameras for photography.

Back Button Focus

With the majority of cameras, the focus and trigger buttons are combined. A half-push of the shutter button will start the focusing process, while a full press will start the picture-capturing process.

The problem with this arrangement arises when the subject is something like a bird sitting on a tree limb. It will do several tasks. As a result, you will take several pictures.

The camera will attempt to concentrate on the subject once again every time you click the shutter button to take a picture.

Time and the camera battery will be wasted as a consequence. As a result, it’s wise to utilize your camera’s dedicated focus button in these circumstances.

You just need to press the shutter button to take the picture once you have the subject in focus.

Back Button focus is an option that is included with all interchangeable cameras. This button may be set to concentrate on a certain topic.

Auto Focus Modes 

The Autofocus function on a digital camera is what you’ll be utilizing. There are three different focusing modes included with every DSLR and Mirrorless camera.

These are AI Focus AF (AF-A), AI Servo (AF-C), and One-Shot AF (AF-S).

Among these three choices, you must choose the appropriate AF mode. For still subjects, use the One-Shot AF mode. The AI Servo mode works well with moving objects. The camera will be in continuous autofocus mode in this setting.

A hybrid mode is the AI Focus mode. You may utilize this mode if your subject moves for a period of time but then stops moving. Decide on the autofocus mode for your scene.

Exposure Compensation 

The cameras’ exposure compensation dials will be set by default to “0” (zero). Nevertheless, not all circumstances will allow for this 0 value for exposure compensation.

In certain circumstances, you’ll need to either underexpose or overexpose your scenario. You must modify the exposure compensation value to do that.

You are overexposing your scene if you drag the slider to the right (positive numbers). The picture is underexposed if the slider is moved to the left (negative values). You must thus adjust it appropriately.

For instance, you will need to overexpose your photo if you are shooting a scene covered in snow and ice.

The camera’s meter will attempt to make the picture 18% gray, which is why. As a result, an underexposed photograph will have a greyish tone if you shoot with no exposure adjustment. To get the ideal exposure, then, raise the exposure compensation.

Blown Highlights Detection

In many circumstances, blown-out highlights might be problematic. You won’t see the true issue with this until you open the picture on your computer, which is a concern. There are two approaches to solving this problem.

The picture histogram may be checked first, and blown-out highlights can be found there. The right side of the histogram graph must then be examined. Blotted highlights in the image are shown by the graph spilling out from the right side. You must lower the exposure of the photograph in such circumstances.

The camera’s highlight alert feature sometimes referred to as the Blinkies, may be turned on as a second method of spotting blown highlights.

As you preview this photograph on the camera, you can see the red blinking of the blown-out highlight area. The best and simplest method for blown-out highlight detection is this one.

Any of these approaches may be used.

Metering Modes

Your camera will have a number of metering settings. It has spot, partial, center-weighted, and evaluative metering modes.

These metering modes require that you have a solid grasp of them. Only then will you be able to choose the proper option for various lighting situations?

According to my observations, the Evaluative metering option is effective in 90% of the scenarios.

White Balance

It might be challenging for many novice photographers to adjust the white balance properly. A camera’s white balance settings include Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, and others. These white balance values translate into a specific Kelvin color temperature.

Daylight white balance will work well for you if you are taking pictures outside throughout the day. For pictures in the late evening, choose Cloudy. In a similar manner, you may choose a different white balance setting for various lighting scenarios.

If choosing one proves challenging, you may always choose AWB as the white balance. Auto White Balance is referred to as AWB. If you take the photo in RAW format, you may quickly and simply correct any sort of white balance problems during the editing process.

Read more about important camera parts.

Image File Options

With your camera, you may see two file types: RAW and JPEG. You have three ways to save your finished picture. It may be saved as JPEG, RAW, or RAW + JPEG.

I highly advise storing the picture in RAW format. More information will be captured in the image as a result. You will have more editing choices with the RAW picture. You may choose JPG if you don’t intend to modify your photos.

Picture Profiles 

Every digital camera has a unique image profile. Picture profiles that are often used include portrait, landscape, standard, neutral, etc. If you want to capture the image in JPG format, you may also create a picture profile.

Choose the Portrait image profile if you’re taking pictures of people. Giving the skin the appropriate color tones, saturation levels, and sharpness can aid with your portrait photography. You may choose the Landscape image profile if you like taking pictures of landscapes.


Now that you are aware of every fundamental camera feature, you may begin taking images.

Now get your camera out and get familiar with all these functions. While learning these capabilities, it is a good idea to have the camera’s instruction booklet with you as well.

If you’re a beginner photographer and have a high-end DSLR or Mirrorless camera, you may be reluctant to use it outdoors for shooting.

It is wise to get camera and lens insurance if you have such worries. It will enable you to relax and take pictures. Being at ease in your thoughts is crucial while taking photographs. You won’t be able to get the required frame if you don’t.