Top 5 Camera Controls To Master – Mike Browne

Top 5 Camera Controls To Master – Mike Browne


the very very best bit about being a
photographer is still riding the motorcycle and what a wonderful day for
doing it too these are my top five camera controls
these are things which in my opinion you really do need to be able to master
because your camera isn’t infallible there are times it’s gonna get it
horribly wrong and you do need to be able to step in and take control these
are the things which I think you truly need to be able to do that everything
we’re going to talk about in this video is covered in depth in my five week
online ultimate beginners course click little thing popping out up here right
now if you want to go and check it out you can also go and click it at any time
during this video but first I need to show you my camera being a complete and
utter cock right stop looking at that and come and have a look at this because
this is where your camera is going to get it wrong that is just the sort of
thing that the camera will actually get perfect but when you go off piste a
little bit like you’re on a skiing holiday or you’re out on a frosty bright
morning or photographing anything really bright I bet you’ve had shots that come
out looking gray and dull and really rather lifeless and uninteresting
imagine these bricks are your bright shiny scene of snow-capped mountains if
you take a picture of them and I’m going to do this with video because I want you
to be able to see what goes on here we go they’re looking pretty gray aren’t
they they don’t look very white now if I move down here and I go into a coal mine
which is dark see how that just brightened it up let’s get back up to
the snow and it darkened it down your camera doesn’t know how much light is
falling on something it only knows how much light is being reflected by it
therefore it can’t make choices about what an exposure should be and getting
the exposure right is really really really crucial so therefore there are things
you need to know how to control this really isn’t rocket science but it
is very very important because if you don’t understand what your camera is
doing when it cocks it up like it did over there with the snowy mountain peaks
how are you going to step in and put it right big question mark
look manual exposure all you’ve got are three controls imagine light is
water if you’ve got a great big tap with a spigot like that tons of light is
gonna come gushing out of it isn’t it if you’ve got a little tiny one like that
Litttle eeny thing not so much is gonna come out
even though they’re at the same pressure that is your aperture how big or small
your spigot is now shutter speed that’s how long you turn the tap on for so if
you’ve got a big spigot and you turn it on for a long time you’ve got a flood
of light coming roaring out through your camera and if you just do a little like
that you’ve only got a little bit you’re just
dancing between those two now the third one that’s your ISO think of ISO as
being like skin – skin type for example I’m insensitive I can go and
stand in the Sun for ages and I don’t really get burned not for a very long
time Jilly who’s on camera at the moment she’s much fairer skinned if Jill goes
and stands in the Sun for even a fraction of that amount of time she will
get burnt Jill is a high ISO she is very very sensitive to light I’m a low ISO
I’m not I can take an awful lot more light before anything happens
so a low ISO means it needs more light before it records the image and a
high ISO means it leaves less that allows you to play around with the other
two for creative reasons that I’m not going into right this minute let’s make
a manual exposure I’ve got a shot set up over here but I’ve got my t-bird against
a nice sort of neutrally background so all the shiny shiny stands out now let’s
set up a shot and take it and I’m going to talk you through the exposure and the
settings let me line up a shot hope we don’t get run over out here in the
carpark because it’s getting a bit busy all right I think I want to be down here
somewhere so look we have got here the shutter speed here we have got the
aperture which is currently on 7.1 and here we’ve got the ISO for sensitivity
of the skin on the left is the light meter right now it is showing that this
shot is about just under two stops overexposed to get the correct exposure
what I have to do is adjust spiggott the length of time the taps open for and the
sensitivity until that little dot there is on the zero so simple isn’t it look
so I can either make the spigot smaller we’ve got a smaller tap we’ve got a
there we go look it’s now on the zero our exposure is perfect take the picture
right next what else could we do well we could it says it’s too bright
let’s make this tap on for less time let’s speed up so look my shutter speed
has now gone to one two five or two 50s – dark one to five is so places to not
be a problem and we just take the picture that you can also of course
control how bright or dark your image is with your ISO but changing the skin
sensitivity here I can make the picture brighter or darker all you have to do is
dance between those three but what if we go into a situation where the camera
might get it wrong well if we go back to those snowy pristine white alpine peaks
which you saw it make a mistake with what if we make a manual exposure over
there same scenario different mountain range
because there’s a car parked in front of the other one let’s make a manual
exposure look at the light meter on the left there it’s saying – two stops
underexposed what do we got to do we’ve got to do let’s just turn the tap on for
longer and move the little pointer up to the zero here it comes here we go we’re
on the zero camera says that’s the correct exposure
take it doesn’t look very white to me I don’t know about you – to make that white
what do we got to do? We got to make it brighter but the
has said that is the correct manual exposure the camera’s an idiot we’re
going to have to go brighter let’s go to full stops brighter the light meter
screaming you have overexposed this but it isn’t that’s correct that’s white and
if you’re doing the same thing with black it’s just in the other direction
what you’ve got to understand is that when you’re shooting a manual exposure
is not just putting that single little pointer on to the zero you’ve got to use
this thing and understand how the whole that whole concept works otherwise if
you just follow what the light meter says it’s the same as shooting on auto
only you are twiddling the knobs and dials instead of the camera twiddling
them for you but it’s the same thing you’ve got to understand how manual
exposures work and how the light meter works – and my next top five is really
going to help you do that A histogram isn’t really a camera control it’s a
feature but it’s probably the most useful feature they ever put on a camera
ever because by using your histogram you need never ever have a bad exposure
again look what we’ve got here we’ve got quite dark shadows on myself and the
t-bird but look at the sky really really bright what you’re looking at right now
is kind of a balance between the two but if you’re shooting stills particularly
if you’re shooting raw your histogram will tell you how much data you need in
your picture you need never ever have a bad exposure again so let’s take this
shot and I’m going to set a manual exposure but I’m going to do precisely
what the camera tells me I should do so here we go let’s line up the shot what is
my camera telling me I need to do? It’s telling me that I need – there we go it’s
about there – it’s telling me I want about a four thousandth of a second at f5 on
the 200 iso if i look at that histogram it’s kind of bunched over to the left a
bit isn’t it it’s a little bit dark we have got a bright sky so what do we need
to do we need to brighten it up a bit histogram will tell you how far to go if
I line up the shot again and then start to brighten the exposure I’m going to
take the shutter speed down a bit we’re down to about a two thousandth, we’ve now got more
information in our highlight in our shadows and we’ve still got pretty good
highlight let those guys go and there we go You see your histogram is just one of
the most useful things in the world learn to use your histogram all you’ve
got to do is keep it within either end it really doesn’t matter if things spike
off the top. Histogram one of my absolute top fives. Now you know why it’s so
important for you to be able to make a manual exposure and you understand that
awesome feature which will tell you when your exposures correct you never need
get a bad one it’s completely safe for you to start using semi auto modes
shutter priority aperture priority and indeed P mode I use them tons you don’t
have to shoot in manual all the time you just need to know manual so that you can
step in when those modes get things wrong like they did with the black and
the white there is a tool to help you with those too and I’m going to come to
that in a moment because that’s my next of my top 5 but shutter priority you set
a shutter speed the camera goes away finds an aperture to work with their
aperture priority you say an aperture the camera goes and finds a shutter
speed to work with it and P mode it kind of takes care of both but my next top
tool still gives you control over that as well
so if you’re in a semi auto mode the light is pretty even like it is here
it’s not at all like it was over there with the bike all you need to do and I’m
in aperture priority is concentrate on the cool gray sexy stuff like light and
Composition and where to stand and when to click the decisive moment that’s real
photography there you go semi auto modes they’re one of my
absolute top five because they take a pile of work away from you so now you understand why you’ve got to
be able to make a fully manual exposure and it’s not that difficult you’ve also
got tools to help you ensure that exposure is always perfect because you
can do that and you know about manual you can use semi or auto modes now let’s
start looking at an amazing little thing called exposure compensation that allows
you to use semi auto modes and still be able to control the exposure this isn’t
great when you have creative critical settings you want to work with such as a
specific shutter speed for movement control or a specific aperture for depth
of field control but where most times it’s not really that important you can
just use your exposure compensation most cameras it’s a little button with a plus
and a minus on it that looks like this on this one on my x-series Fuji it’s a
little dial which I can just roll with my thumb when it’s up to my eye I know
that all I have to do is roll to the right makes it bright roll to the left
makes it dark how simple is that? if I set up a shot here we’ve got very
very contrasty just like we had with the bike earlier now what’s going to happen
if the camera is left to its own devices? I reckon something like that loads the
sky cuz I kind of like that and let’s look at the histogram yeah as always the
camera wants to put it in the middle because that’s what cameras want to do
we know that this scene is brighter therefore we got a brilliant brain what
we have to do is to brighten the picture up now instead of having to think about
shutters and apertures and things what we’ve got to do is add some exposure so I’m just
gonna add what just over plus one stop because I’m guessing and also I’ve been
doing this for a long time so with my guesses I’m usually fairly accurate that will
be just right let’s have a look at the histogram and get in that’s not happens
we’ve been doing it for a long time so exposure compensation combined with a
histogram combined with a semi auto mode is a fantastic thing and it can save you
hours of pondering when you’re shooting in a fast-moving situation if you’re leaving your camera on full
auto focus by which I mean it knows a little sparkly flashes every time you
touch the shutter button it means you’re not in control of where your camera is
focusing your camera is choosing where to focus for example if I was to take
your picture as represented right this minute by Jilly with the video camera if
I took your picture now I can choose whether to have you in focus like that
or whether to let the background be in focus your camera hasn’t got a brain it
doesn’t know and there’s times when it’ll get it wrong I bet you’ve tried to
photograph things and then gone why is it that’s all blurry and out of focus
that’s what I want in focus your camera doesn’t know that you have to tell it
and there is a plethora of auto focus modes built into your camera my little
Fuji’s they don’t have many – but it’s fine and I’m not going in depth with all
of them now anyway they’re all in my course they’re all available online do a
search you can wade through it on your own or I can show you it’s up to you but
look if I have my camera on single point focus and I come back here again and I
want to take a picture of you guys as represented by Jilly with the video
camera if I come forward and I don’t change that focus what’s going to happen
she is gonna be or rather you are gonna be blurry yeah but let’s say you put it
onto a continuous focus mode because you’re photographing your friend who’s
running a marathon they’re running down the street towards you, you think what do
I want my composition to be? I want audience or whatever they’re called
standing there on the side of the road watching and I want my friend running up
the left-hand side what we’ve got to do is choose say a continuous mode and choose
your single point autofocus where you want to focus within the composition
which I’ve just done I’m just going to pop my camera onto video mode
I’m just going to show you what happens as I change the distance
if I put that dot on Gilly’s face and start rolling some video as I walk
towards you the camera will keep you nice and sharp the background will start
to go blurry you should see it starting to happen now it is there and as I come
in here the background is really blurry you’re really sharp imagine how useful
that would be if you are photographing your friend running a marathon go and
learn how to use your auto focus modes they will make sure all your pictures
are sharp well you’ve got to do is set them up and use them appropriately So those are my top 5 camera controls you really need to know how to use them but
I have a bonus for you focal length this bad boy focal length is just the most
amazing thing it dances and is completely in love with composition let
me show you I am going to roll some video I’m going to take a picture of you
again as represented by Gilly and the video camera there you are watch what
happens as I change the zoom as I change the focal length and move back as I
change my distance look what’s going on look at the background I know it’s a bit
wobbly but look at that black house look what it’s doing it’s going to disappear
in a minute look at those beach huts behind Jilly they’re sneaking out behind
her look at that look that is a very very different thing to what we had
earlier let’s come back in the other way if I just sneak that in look the house
come back the black house I know it’s wobbling I can’t help it
tough live with it deal with it look you see how that is completely changed I’ll
do a quick still just to prove it here we go here’s our shot quick still of Gilly on camera big long lens take the same shot hope
there’s no one behind me if there is they will be trodden on… So look what
an immense difference it made between those two focal length it’s just an
amazing thing it doesn’t just make far-off thing
come closer it’s a really really useful creative tool the thing is the most
important thing in all of photography is you and you are often overlooked in
favor of some gadget upgrade new lens some other doodad or gizmo the great
photographers of the past had three controls on their cameras they had a
shutter they had a focus ring and they had an aperture that’s all they had and
their pictures were blowing us away and they still are today so with your
whiz-bang DSLR why can’t you do it you need to take control of your camera then
you can concentrate on real photography the decisive moment when to click when
the light comes out from behind the cloud and lights up little cottage in
the valley where to stand how to align the elements of a
composition so they’re harmonious and they look great
this is the real photography you have to be able to control that thing with the
top five that I’ve just given you in order to do that you can’t concentrate
on everything at once so I hope you found that a value everything we’ve
talked about is in my ultimate beginners course if you haven’t clicked the little
thing above well you can go and have a look now try a free sample if you like
you can of course find all this out for free online what you’re paying for when
you buy a course is for me to be your guide to coach you to feed you the
information in the correct order so you don’t miss a bit out and then find it
doesn’t work later on so I hope you’ve enjoyed this and found it of value
please if you liked it like share it subscribe to the channel helps me make
more free videos if you didn’t like it you did a thumbs down that’s completely
cool but please tell me why I want to know what you didn’t like can’t please
all the people all the time but I can’t do anything about it you don’t tell me
what you didn’t like and it’s interesting to know so leave it in a
comment below if you’d like to see more of my work more of my images there’s a
load of links again below this video in the description section go and check
them out this and cool stuff there for you meanwhile take care I’ll see you
next time I’m off to go and play on my thunderbird

100 thoughts on “Top 5 Camera Controls To Master – Mike Browne”

  1. Great video! As always you are very informative. One general question for you, when you have (or have found) yourself in a photography slump, what do you do? After almost 5 years of photography I find I am taking the same pictures (just different places or scenarios) over and over and getting a little bored. I try keeping my post processing skills up, improving my composition and the like. Just curious as to what you have done or do.

  2. Well done. This is on subject that is difficult for many. For still photography these are must know. But for fast pace shooting you need to commit to something. I use comp button and the histogram on all my pic for a quick glance and quick changes.

  3. Like the bike Mike….thunderbird very nice,I sold mine and camera 10 years ago (to get married)before that I was using film and a darkroom pre digital.so I'm learning again photography but now digital I have now a Sony a58 which I'm learning about but thank you for all your videos on YouTube very very informative cheers.

  4. Thanks Mike. I too have been around for many years with you and have learned tons from your courses. Best bang for the buck and you have a bit of fun with it as well. Always something to learn on this gig. Cheers! P.S. If your ever in Canada, let us know.

  5. This is a great video to begginers and experience as well. Its all about how you control the camera and not the specific model or lens. I have old dslr and once learned those things and how to build a picture properly expose and framed , I'm getting amazing pictures.

  6. Following your channel for years now and again a superb lesson. Thanks for your enthusiasm.
    Greetings from Austria.

  7. Have to say Mike, nothing in this video was news to me but I wish there was someone like you 40+ years ago when I was learning it would have been so much easier. Well presented easy to follow good advice. Great tutorial.

  8. appreciate the way you talk to us in your video as one photography person to another, some youtube video's i have come across the people have a tendency to talk down to beginners like i am. i know they didn't learn it all in a few months but at one time were beginners just like me, so thank you for your method of teaching

  9. Mike, as always a create sharing of information. I am surprised that white balance is not one of those top level controls. On one of the shots of your camera I saw a large K which I assume was the white balance control. Can you comment?

  10. Once again, a great video tutorial and always a pleasure to watch, for photographers of all abilities…A really direct and concise way of getting the important information across, without being 'preachy' or condescending…it's super easy to watch and get engaged with and one will always pick things up much more quickly as a result…and I think a really important point of this video, when the basics are mastered and you are comfortable with and can control your camera (and the points you mention and to master are obviously the foundation on which to launch forwards and build on as a photographer), is the super-important part of 'you', the individual, in the development and progression of your photography…I see so many people obsessed with the latest kit, accessories, software etc etc, as if this was the golden key to the magic door of photography.."get the latest camera, get the latest gizmo, get the latest upgrade and all will be great."…of course you need the latest upgrades to software like Lightroom and Photoshop etc, if you have it, but don't become gear obsessed and think the really great camera you had a couple of years ago and loved is all of a sudden obsolete and no good, because a sparkly brand new one has just been released, unless you have really deep pockets.
    Only yesterday I was looking at various YouTube videos on the new Canon 90D release and was stunned by some of the comments…
    In my opinion, learn the absolute essential basics as Mike says, get some decent kit (and it doesn't have to cost a fortune), a decent entry level DSLR, 18-135mm kit lens (or an 18-55), 64MB memory card, tripod, shutter release cable, camera bag and a few other accessories, will get you started!..get out, learn the basics and take photos and practice!
    If you are a beginner in photography, follow the basics Mike has laid out here, track down some stuff on basic composition, framing and the importance of light, again, no doubt Mike will have these in his videos and courses, and you will have a nice platform to launch your photography adventure…enjoy and take photos!…practice, practice, practice!!!
    Nice job Mike………………….and thankfully, no mind-numbingly inane music in Mike's videos!
    Mmmm, Mike's videos concise and to the point and my YouTube comments not..ah well…lol

  11. For your first example, I just take a meter reading of my palm (that happens to be ~18% gray, but for others, just noted the +/-EV), for a substituted Incident meter reading. That was the trick I learned four decades ago and used for both film and digital.

  12. Wow! How well done was that? You should be doing courses or something. 🙂 BTW, great motorcycle. I ride an Enfield 500 in India.

  13. Nice bike, always fancied getting another but SWMBO has banned me. Great video, we all can refresh our basics from time to time irrespective of how long we have been taking pictures. Nice done and put in a way that everyone from old farts like me to newbies could understand. Nice one.

  14. Maybe the best 20 minutes I've ever spent watching an Informative video!!
    Great Tips SIR..
    Thank you so much!!😍
    .
    .
    .
    .
    BTW.. those 8 disliker are dead..
    (thank me later tho)😉✌️

  15. I've been concentrating on composition of late, and as a result, the camera has stayed in the bag and the Samsung s9+ has been getting more use. Nice to get a reminder of the basics though.

  16. An important aspect of Aperture Priority is how it overcomes the problem with working with variable aperture lenses such as my f/4.5-f/6.3. If I correctly expose for a zoomed out wildebeest at f/6.3 then suddenly change my composition to the zoomed in crocodile at f/4.5 that is chomping on your leg my camera will automatically correct the exposure. It’s important to have the ability to capture those decisive moments.

  17. Mike, this was very helpful and a great reminder. I always get so much out of your videos. I wish there was a way to access the courses, but my ISP continues to block email from your course server so my only option is to watch what I can on YouTube. It's better than no Mike Browne. Mike, you truly have a gift, not only as a photographer, but as a teacher. Many thanks from the US.

  18. Great video. Mike what fuji mirrorless camera are you using in this video and why the mirrorless and not one of your nikon reg dslr"s. Thanks again for your great 5 tips.

  19. To be honest I think digital has made photography more complicated. When I started taking pictures in 1978 with my new Praktica MTL3, I thought getting a perfect exposure was fairly straight forward. I used manual focus that rarely failed and I got good results considering I was only 15. I'm not putting digital down but I've just this afternoon loaded my Nikon FM2 with 35mm slide film and will go off next week taking photos. I do have a D810 as well but that's staying at home.

  20. Great video, speaking instructions seems much more natural whilst on camera. Don't think my Canon 1300d has exposure preview correction. I have a tendency to underexpose most scenes (by at least a stop) for shadow effect. Thanks.

  21. Mike is the reasen I spend since 3 years my summer hols in GB…. 👍👍👍👍👍 thank you for your enthusiasm and advices! Great tutor! 👏👏👏👏 gruss crazzy swiss 😜🇨🇭

  22. Great video Mike. Most of what I know now is from watching your videos, and I'm sure many other photographers would say the same. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom!!

  23. Very informative video. Mike whenever you focus an object, please let us know what is the focus point as well as what metering mode you use. Like when you are explaining histogram which part/section of motor bike did you focused. I really appreciate if you let us know at the same time these two things. I mostly take airplane photos. And whenever I used exposure compensation it brighten my pics instead more color full. I know you always says buy your course. But due to financial problems I cannot. Sorry for that.

  24. Clear Precise and Interesting top 5 / 6. Makes a nice change from the usual top 3 most people talk about. Cheers Mike.

  25. Always something to learn from you, in fact (without you knowing it), you have been my mentor and inspirator since I first discovered your videos. I learned a lot from you!
    Remember the first one I saw, it was pt. 1 of the Street photography videos, and since then, I've seen them all several times. Never get boring, so keep on making these kind of videos. Love'em!!

  26. "I need to show you my camera being a complete and utter cock" and "Your camera is an idiot" 😆
    Phew glad to know its not just my camera that acts like a dumb ass at times. 👍

  27. Love your clear reminders of the basics. Those beyond beginner stage know all this but it is so easy to forget to apply the points you make every time shooting!

  28. I like this video, of course. Take Mike's "tips" to heart and you're on your way into your "photography" journey. Again, thank you Mr. Browne.

  29. Always love your videos mike you really know how to explain the subject well, but in an approachable fun and friendly way. Your videos always inspire me to pick my camera back up and get out there and pratice.

  30. Fantastic video great explenation and use of props.
    If im honest ive lost the love of photography a little bit recently as i just dont seem to be able to get enough time in the day for it however this has made me want to get back on it again.
    Big thanks to you mike

  31. Mike I did see all you YouTube videos and then you behave on the web all around and I believe that I need to say, thanks to you.
    I am French Canadian and you are also one of my English teachers.
    Merci

  32. Thanks for another informative video, Mike. Learning a lot. Even practiced while watching this video by taking a few photos of you and the videographer on screen. Delighted that they actually came out rather well, Sylvia.

  33. Great video. Well explained and straight to the point with excellent examples.
    Another good example would have been at a waterfall, or waves crashing against rocks. Fireworks is a third good one to test people. All really make you work your camera settings hard for a desired shot (in particular if you aren't using ND Grad filters).

  34. Ahh Mike, this video should be issued with every camera sold! Direct, to the point and easy to understand, trade mark of your videos. A must watch for those stuck to auto, ps love the bike. Cheers to you & the team.

  35. Clear, concise and invaluable in formation Mike. I particularly found number 6 “focal length” of great interest and helped me with my lack of understanding of how creative the compression aspect can be if used correctly.

  36. Even though I don't use a DSLR camera anymore as it's much easier for me to just carry around my smartphone, I still really enjoyed watching this video. All the things that I learnt from books back in the day were reinforced in your video. You also have such a relaxing way of explaining things. Keep up the good work, Mike.

  37. Man I've always loved your photography tuturials. You are brilliant. I learnt and still learning so much from you. Thank you so much.

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