Digital cameras have made it waaaaaaay easier to learn photography. We’re all super lucky to be photographers right now! You no longer have to wait to develop your film—only to realize you’ve underexposed the whole roll! And then you’re stuck with the problem of trying to remember your settings to understand where you went wrong.
With digital you now have instant feedback. You can see how your changes affect your photos, and make adjustments immediately.
A lot of new cameras also have a function commonly known as “Live View“, where you can see the image on the LCD screen. Most point and shoots have it, and even some DSLRs now!
This awesome feature allows you to see the effect of the changes you make to your settings in real time. This can make it way easier to wrap your mind around the concepts of photography, and learn way faster than has ever been possible!
Now, Live View is a bit slower and more cumbersome to use than looking through the viewfinder, but it can be super useful if you’re just getting started! So let’s take a look at a few ways you can use it to learn photography faster!
How to Use Live View to Learn Faster
Depth of Field
Depth of field refers to the range of sharp focus in your image. The way it relates to the aperture value can be a bit tricky to understand at first, but Live View makes it a breeze! Simply change your aperture, going from one end of the spectrum of values to the other, and see how the depth of field changes.
Learning how the different controls affect exposure can be a bit confusing. With Live View you can adjust each control (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) and see how each can make your image brighter or darker. Put your camera in Manual mode to get this to work!
Light / Contrast
Light is a HUGE part of photography, and learning how to see it, shoot it, and understand its different properties is key to becoming a better shooter. But when you’re just getting started it can be hard to learn to “see” light. Never fear though, Live View to the rescue! See, most cameras have a black & white picture style mode that can be used with Live View. And shooting in B&W will actually force you to be more aware of light! You’ll focus less on colours, and more on shapes, how the light is affecting the scene, and the amount of contrast created by the light. So slap on black and white mode and practice shooting—it can really up your game!
Composition is all about arranging the elements in your frame in an interesting way. But it can take a lot of practice to get good at seeing scenes in terms of composition. With Live View you often have the option to turn on grid lines in various arrangements. Suddenly you’ll start to think and see in terms of arranging your elements in relation to the grid! A great one that most cameras have is grid lines that follow the Rule of Thirds, making it easy to practice one of the most fundamental compositional techniques in photography!
Keep in Mind!
- Live View is useful some of the time, but not all of the time! It can be a bit slower to use than looking through the viewfinder, and in bright sun it can be difficult to see.
- Try not to use Live View as a crutch. Use it to learn the essential concepts faster, then once you’ve mastered them, make sure that you’re using the best tool for the job. Sometimes it will be the viewfinder, and sometimes it will be Live View! You’ll get a feeling for when to use which one the more you practice!