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Canon 30+

first edition

Digital Edition


in-depth tutorials

Everything you need to know to get to grips with your Canon DSLR

Master all of the essential settings Learn how to shoot stunning images Enhance your shots and edit to perfection

Contents Essential guide 8 Quick guide to Canon cameras Learn to pick your perfect Canon


Shoot shallow


Go the distance

Getting started

Core skills

16 Back to basics

82 Broaden tonal range

100 Wide-angle wildlife

84 Geotag – you’re it!

102 In the shallow end

86 Panning for gold

104 Shoot light trails

88 Backlit portraits

106 Shoot at light speed

90 ND filters with flash

108 Candlelit winner

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned EOS enthusiast, we’ll get you on the right track with our refresher course

26 Customising your EOS

Learn how to set up your camera to suit your style of photography

30 Master your Canon lenses

Get the most out of your Canon DSLR lenses with our essential guide

40 Maintaining your Canon kit

Now is the perfect time to carry out some maintenance on your DSLR and lenses

44 Canon crash course

Learn the fundamentals of Canon DSLR photography in half a day with our guide

56 10 steps to stunning summer landscapes

With long and dreamy days, summer is a fantastic season for photography!

68 37 top tips for portraits

Discover these ways to hone your skills, learn new editing tricks and master techniques guaranteed to improve your people photos

6  Canon for Beginners

Learn killer skills to help capture a full range of tones in sunny scenes

Save the location of your photos with Canon’s in-built GPS tracker

Slow down action and blur the backgrounds of your moving subject

Shoot into the sun for dramatic results

Blur and darken backgrounds to capture more dramatic portraits using a combination of flash and filters

92 Fantastic filtration

Use ND filters to lengthen your exposures

94 Classic clifftops

Discover a few tips to improve your photos of beautiful coastal seascapes

98 Food, glorious food

Take mouth-watering pictures of food with our simple styling and lighting tips

Take the in-the-face approach to wildlife by getting your camera up close

Get creative scenic shots using a fast prime and break with depth-of-field rules

Capture and combine images that transform passing vehicles into streaks of colour

Use HSS mode for better fill-flash portraits

Learn how to capture atmospherically lit portraits at home

110 A touch of frost

From landscapes to close-ups of the natural world, a dusting of frost turns the mundane into the magical

112 Lights fantastic

Set up a home studio flash kit for beautifully lit portraits


Capture the aurora


Action sequences


Freeze paint drops

The next step 116 Paint drops in water

Learn how to capture amazing paint shapes as they drop under the water

120 The magic of UV photography Discover how to use a combination of UV light and body paint for glowing portraits

124 Create light rays

Find out how to make atmospheric shafts of light in your photography

128 Stroboscopic action photos Use rapid-fire flash to capture action

132 Shot in the dark

The darkest hours can result in dazzling portraits if you know how to find the light

136 Capturing the action

Learn how to capture and edit amazing action sequence photographs

142 Chasing the aurora

Head north to capture the aurora borealis in the Arctic

146 Catch a wave

Explore some fun ways to use an underwater housing with your DSLR

Editing skills 152 Improve exposure

How to use the Light panel effectively in Lightroom CC

154 Transform and boost colour A walkthrough of the revamped and powerful Color panel

156 Master the Effects and Detail panels

Drastically improve the results of your hazy shots

158 Watermark your images

Protect your photos by adding watermarks

160 Explore Photoshop’s creative brush tips

Enhance your creative projects with natural-looking brush strokes

162 Turn a dull landscape

into mono masterpiece

Transform your landscapes into beautiful black-and-white long exposures

164 Sharpen your skills

Apply creative sharpening in Photoshop CC


A-Z of photo lingo

Glossary 166 A-Z of Canon photography

Your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about Canon DSLR photography, from camera features to learning the lingo

Canon for Beginners  7

Getting started


Got a new DSLR? Essential setup advice for new cameras out of the box

What to do first!

First things first, and the best place to start is to get everything out of the box and check it’s all present and correct. It’s likely that there will only be minimal charge in the battery, so pop it on charge while you get a few other things sorted out. It’s well worth attaching the supplied neck strap to your camera, to avoid expensive accidents later on. This is also a good time to install Canon’s excellent free software onto your computer, like Digital Photo Professional for processing Raw files, and the EOS Utility program. Once the battery is fully charged, remove it from the charger and insert it into the camera’s battery compartment.

The Canon 200D is an excellent first DSLR that’s small and user friendly


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On the menu

Insert a memory card, attach the lens (see Tip 5), and you’re ready for the first switch-on. Set the time and date, as this will be recorded in the ‘EXIF’ information of each image file. Now, press the Menu button, go to the Setup menu and select the ‘Format card’ option. Lift the camera to your eye, lightly press the shutter, and check that the viewfinder information looks sharp. If needed, rotate the dioptre adjustment to give the sharpest view.

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Setting the scene

Current entry-level cameras have an on-screen features guide. Enable this in the Setup menu to help you find your way around. The 200D and 800D boast a ‘Scene intelligent auto’ mode, signified by a green square with a + symbol. This automatically analyzes compositions, and makes optimal adjustments to shooting parameters. Using scene modes, you can manually select anything from portraits to landscapes. Basic+ modes come with ‘Ambience’ options like vivid, soft, warm, and intense, available via the Q (Quick menu) button.


View & review

All current Canon DSLRs boast a Live View mode, which enables you to compose shots on the rear screen. The LCD is also essential for reviewing and checking images. Press the Play button and you can scroll through your photos. Press the magnify button to enlarge images on the screen, so you can check the sharpness in critical areas. Repeated presses of the Info button will also display a histogram (graphical representation of brightness) with a flashing highlights alert, to show where very bright parts of a picture may be washed out – if this happens, dial in some negative exposure compensation and re-shoot.


Fitting and changing lenses

Using proper technique avoids unnecessary lens damage and premature wear

01 Press the button

First, ensure that the camera is switched off. To remove an already attached lens, you’ll need to press the lens release button. While keeping the button depressed, gently rotate the lens anticlockwise. You can then remove it.

02 Keep it clean

Dust is the enemy of DSLRs. Ideally, only change lenses in dust-free conditions. It helps to keep the camera’s lens opening facing downwards, to avoid dust falling into the camera. Always fit a body cap if storing the camera without a lens fitted.

03 Attaching the lens

Canon lenses use either a white square or a red circle alignment symbol respectively, which needs to be lined up with the relevant marking on your camera. Then you simply twist clock-wise until the lens clicks into place.

Canon for Beginners  19

Getting started

canon crash course Learn the fundamentals of Canon DSLR photography in half a day with our guide Illustrations: Andy McLaughlin


ne of the most enticing things about photography is that it’s such an easy hobby to start. Yet it offers untold depth to those who choose to look for it. Anybody can take a picture, and almost everybody you know has a camera. But just a little extra knowledge is all it takes to separate the real Canon DSLR enthusiast from the occasional happy snapper. The Canon Crash Course we’ve lined up for you over the following pages puts the focus on the fundamental aspects of photography that matter most. Turn the page now and get ready to learn, relearn and discover how to use the incredible features on your Canon!

44  Canon for Beginners

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Canon for Beginners  45

Getting started


Editing tip

Create clones

Multiplicity portraits are easy to create, even if you’re a Photoshop novice, as long as you shoot all the images you need on a tripod. Set your camera up on a tripod and capture your subject in various poses spread around the frame. Then, in Photoshop, copy and paste the images on top of one another (CC users can go to File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack). Next go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All, then paint with white to reveal the hidden pose. Select the next layer and repeat until the images are all combined fully.


Camera tip

Zoom-blur a portrait

A zoom blur effect can create a sense of movement in your portraits, as well as drawing the eye straight to the centre of the scene. Using a zoom lens, twist the zoom barrel during the exposure to create streaks of blur that angle towards the centre of the frame. Set up on a tripod, frame your subject centrally and use a shutter speed of around 1/10 sec. If you want to cheat, you can use Photoshop’s Radial Blur filter (Filter>Blur>Radial Blur) set to Zoom for a similar effect on any image you like!


Posing tip


If you want unpredictable poses, great expressions and a sense of fun in your portraits, then ask your subject(s) to jump. Get down low to emphasise the height of the jump, and use a fast shutter speed to capture the action. Even if the shot doesn’t work, it can be a great way to loosen up subjects at the start of a shoot, and it works especially well with kids.

72  Canon for Beginners


Posing tip

Plan group shots

When it comes to photographing large groups, a little time spent on positioning people will lead to a much more successful shot. The key is to look for ways to mould the mass of people into a recognisable shape, like a triangle. Another option is to make the shape symmetrical – tall ones in the middle, shorties at the edges. Or you could use the environment, perhaps by sitting people on a flight of stairs, or by spacing them out so that they each occupy their own portion of the frame.

Backlight the face Light source



Some faces look fantastic when lit from behind and to the side, especially ones with strong bone structure or features. Lighting like this highlights the edge of the face and throws the front into shadow, so it works best when the subject’s face is side-on to the camera (see left). Lighting one side of a face like this is sometimes called ‘short’ or ‘narrow’ lighting, because the light falls on the narrower side of the face, that’s facing away from the camera. ‘Broad’ lighting is where the side facing the camera is lit. Short lighting has a slimming effect. We used a flash for the shot here, but all kinds of light sources can be used, from window light to low-afternoon sunlight.



LEE Filters


Lighting tip

Camera Subject


Editing tip

Retouch the face

Most faces will benefit from subtle retouching. The trick is to keep things natural, so don’t go overboard and remove absolutely everything. A good rule of thumb is to make the subject look their best, as if they’ve just had a great night’s sleep after a weekend spa break. So spots, blemishes and eye bags can all be softened. Camera Raw (or the near-identical tools in Lightroom’s Develop Module) offers some useful tools for this. Load the Adjustment Brush with -50 Clarity and paint over the skin to soften it slightly, without making it over-smooth and plasticky, then use the Spot Removal tool to paint over spots and marks. For eye bags, open in Photoshop, grab the Clone tool, set opacity to about 20% then sample a clean bit of cheek underneath and gradually clone over the bags.

Canon for Beginners  73

Core skills After


Shoot light trails

Learn how to capture and combine images that transform passing vehicles into glorious streaks of colour


e photographers have a bit of a love/hate relationship with movement. Sometimes it’s a real pain and we strive to keep it to a minimum. At other times, we want to celebrate it in all its blurry glory. The motion of traffic at night falls into the latter category. By using a long exposure in the low evening light, the smooth motion of their lights creates wonderful streaks of colour through the frame. This is one of those camera skills that reveals the true magic of photography – and anyone with a DSLR and tripod can do it. As such, it’s a great way to get started with long-exposure photography as there’s no need for extra filters

104  Canon for Beginners

or even a cable release. The real challenge of capturing light trails is finding an interesting composition for your shot. On a recent photoshoot in Norway we found these mountains and winding roads that worked perfectly, but why not try a busy motorway, city street, or a knotty junction for an even more dramatic, light-streaked result? Another challenge you’ll face when shooting long-exposures is timing – we want a decent array of lights, but at night especially, traffic can be rather sparse. However, you can always shoot several frames then combine them with simple editing skills, as we’ll explain…

Capture the light Be a trailblazer

01 Get set up

Fix your DSLR to a tripod. Look for an angle where the winding road begins close up then recedes into the distance, as this’ll make more interesting lines than, say, a side-on view. Try a low-down or high-up view, and frame loosely to account for different-height vehicles.

02 Switch to manual

Rather than shooting in pitch dark, try just after sunset so there’s still detail in the sky. Even so, autofocus can struggle to lock on in low light, so focus on a point a third of the way into the scene, then switch to manual focus to lock it. This’ll prevent hunting between frames.

Using Manual exposure

03 Set your exposure

Switch your DSLR to Manual exposure mode. All scenes are different, but here’s a good starting point for exposure: set the aperture to f/16, shutter speed 30 secs and ISO100. If the image is too bright or dark, try adjusting the aperture until you’re happy.

05 Combine several images

04 Time it right

Shoot lots of frames as vehicles zoom by. Differences in height make the trails more varied (as will flashing lights, which appear as dashes). Take care not to nudge the camera between shots, as we need all the frames to be in alignment if we intend to blend them together.

Open the images you want to use (we blended seven) in Photoshop. Choose one frame as the base image, then go to another image, Select All (Cmd/Ctrl+A), Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) then go back to the base image and Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V). Repeat for all the other images.

A project like this is a gentle introduction to Manual exposure mode. In order to get long shutter speeds, we have to adjust our other exposure settings to compensate. We can use a high f-stop like f/16. This decreases the size of the opening in the lens and restricts the flow of light. Secondly, we can use a low sensitivity, such as ISO100, so the sensor requires more light for a correct exposure.

06 Blend the layers

Go to the Layers panel (Window>Layers) then change the blending mode of all layers to Lighten, which effectively overlays the trails on top of one another. If any other areas, like the sky, look messy, use a layer mask or the eraser to remove them from the mix. Canon for Beginners  105

Editing skills 160

Creative brush tips

Discover how to enhance your shots with some simple editing tips 152 Improve exposure

How to use the Light panel effectively in Lightroom CC

154 Transform and boost colour A walkthrough of the revamped and powerful Color panel


Transform & boost colour

156 Master the Effects and Detail panels

Drastically improve the results of your hazy shots

158 Watermark your images

Protect your photos by adding watermarks

160 Explore Photoshop’s creative brush tips

Enhance your creative projects with natural-looking brush strokes

162 Turn a dull landscape

into mono masterpiece

Transform your landscapes into beautiful black-and-white long exposures

164 Sharpen your skills

Apply creative sharpening in Photoshop CC

150  Canon for Beginners





Go mono in the edit


Sharpen your shots

Canon for Beginners  151

Profile for Future PLC

Beginners Bookazine 2592 (Sampler)  

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Beginners Bookazine 2592 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @