Last May, I found myself looking at my photo's and feeling like something was missing. They just weren't up to the calibre that I wanted. So, I set out to learn as much as possible about my camera and photography in general to get the most out of my photo's.
There were 3 main changes I made that drastically improved my photo's.
#1 - I started to shoot in Manual Mode.
I had been coasting along using the Aperture Priority mode and it just wasn't cutting it. But, I have to admit, I was SO intimidated by the idea of shooting in Manual. It's kinda like putting together Ikea furniture without the instructions. Difficult, but it can be done! I put my camera in Manual and forced myself to take pictures ONLY in this mode. It meant I really had to learn how all the camera settings - aperture, shutter speed, & ISO - interplayed with each other and how to manipulate them to get the image I wanted. I can't even say how much this small change improved my photo's. Absolutely worth every minute of frustration!
#2 - I switched to back button focus.
I wrote about when I first made the switch to back button focus and I am still just as in love with it. I love the ease of pushing the button and being able to choose my own focal point instead of letting the camera try to figure out what exactly my focus is. Takes practice but again - so worth it!
#3 - RAW instead of Jpeg
This was the easiest change I made - switching from using Jpeg files to RAW files. It just takes one quick change in your camera menu and it made a HUGE difference to post processing and the overall quality of my photo's. Read a really great and more in depth article comparing RAW & Jpeg here. One note: You must have a computer program able to read RAW files and convert them to Jpeg - I use Lightroom (also where I do all of my editing).
Putting all 3 changes into use at Troy & Alison's wedding!
Hope that helps even just a tiny bit if you are wanting to learn more about your SLR camera and improve your photo's!