Learn Photography – Lesson 4 – Set up your camera

DSLR cameraWelcome to part 4 of our “Learn Photography” series.

In this part, I am going to finish up with setting up a camera, just a few more things to go through.

You know quite a lot about setting up your camera already. There are a few things left:

– White Balance


– Formatting

Let’s get to work, then.

White Balance

White Balance Settings on cameraWhite Balance is used to tell the camera what light source is being used for lighting a scene, and how the white should look in these conditions. Human eye adjusts automatically to the lighting conditions, but the camera cannot do it.

Here are just some of the White Balance settings:

Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Flash, Fluorescent.

Here’s an explanation of the White Balance settings on the left.

If you shoot JPEG, you need to make sure you set the White Balance right as it is going to be embedded into the file and cannot be changed later on.

If you shoot Raw, you don’t have to worry about it too much, Auto will be fine, as you can change it in software when post-processing images.


ISO sets the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to the light (it’s like in the past – in the film era- we had films with different ISOs, i.e. 100, 200, 400 etc). By changing the ISO you can use the camera in different lighting conditions, i.e. when shooting landscapes you set it to as low as possible, usually ISO 100, for night shots you set the ISO quite high, usually ISO 800 – 1600.

In general, try to keep ISO quite low as this will give you better quality in terms of less noise on the images. On a sunny day keep it at ISO 100-160. On a cloudy day ISO 200-400.


As you import images to your computer, after the images have been downloading, you are going to delete them. And instead of deleting images one by one, you can just format your memory card. Formatting a memory card has some additional features:

– it “cleans” a memory card,

– it helps avoid memory card corruption,

– it keeps a memory card in “great condition” for a very long time.

I personally format my memory cards every time I have downloaded all the images to the computer (remember to do a back up as well).

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