How to Take Professional Photos With a Canon 350D

Written by suzette barnard
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How to Take Professional Photos With a Canon 350D
Take many shots, each a little different, to learn to create a professional-looking result. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The Canon EOS 350D/Digital Rebel XT is an 8-megapixel single-lens reflex camera that photographers can switch between fully automatic and fully manual shooting modes. That flexibility gives photographers more control over the exposure of their images, a key step in creating professional-looking pictures. The camera weighs just over a pound and is easy to carry. At 5 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep, the Canon EOS 350D/Digital Rebel XT is smaller than other Canon DSLR cameras available on the market.

Skill level:

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    Use the largest image size available, either Fine JPG files or RAW files, if you have a photo-editing program that will read them. The larger the file size, the better quality the print will display, and the more you are able to crop and edit your image files. Change the 350D's image size with the "Camera 1" menu. Choose "Quality," and then either "L" for the large fine JPG setting or "RAW" to shoot raw image files.

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    Use the 350D's program modes when they match your subject and environment. The 350D has five options, found on the mode dial: Portrait, which widens the aperture to allow in more light and soften the background; Landscape, which increases the aperture to sharpen the background and add depth to the image; Close-Up, which tells the lens to use its closest focus settings; Sports, which sets the autofocus to be able to track a moving subject and sets the camera to continuous shooting mode; and Night Portrait, which uses the flash and a slow shutter speed.

  3. 3

    Resist using the pop-up flash indoors. Instead, put your camera on a tripod and shoot with the available light or move your subject closer to a window or other light source. The flash is more likely to cast strange shadows, overexpose the image or create a "red-eye" effect in people and pets. Turn off the 350D's flash using the Flash Off setting on the mode dial.

  4. 4

    Adjust the lens aperture, or f/stop, to control the depth of field. A lower aperture setting allows more light through the lens and causes the background of the image to be shallow, or blurry. A higher aperture allows less light through the lens and sharpens the depth of field. To do this on the 350D, set the camera to its aperture-priority mode, marked "Av" on the mode dial. Set the f/stop using the main dial, found in front of the mode dial. Find the setting in the upper-left corner of the LCD panel. The camera selects the appropriate shutter speed.

  5. 5

    Master the effects of shutter speed. A faster shutter speed will freeze motion. A slower shutter speed will allow a moving subject to blur. Set the camera to shutter-priority mode, meaning you select the shutter speed and the camera selects the correct aperture, by turning the mode dial to "Tv." Change the shutter speed using the main dial. The shutter speed appears as the number inside brackets on the LCD panel.

  6. 6

    Change the white balance from Auto. The purpose of manipulating white balance in a photo is to achieve colours in your images that reproduce as accurately as possible.

    Auto settings allow the camera to analyse the light. Instead, you choose the correct white balance to add tone to a picture and keep one set of tones from dominating. On the Canon 350D, the daylight and tungsten light settings add blues to balance out orange and yellow tones. White fluorescent light adds warm tones to balance out the bluish-green cast created by fluorescent lights. Shade and cloudy settings add warmer tones to balance the blues and greys that appear in shady conditions.

Tips and warnings

  • Engaging composition also creates professional-looking pictures.
  • If you're photographing a person as the primary subject of your photo, avoid putting his head and shoulders in the centre of the picture. Get close enough that his face fills as much of the frame as possible.
  • Use the rules of thirds. Place the subject of your picture in the right- or left-third or in the top- or bottom-third of the frame. This will make your picture more challenging and unexpected to the viewer's eye.
  • Notice what's behind your subject. A too-cluttered background can be distracting. When you identify this issue, reposition yourself or your subject. Watch out for the classic-but-common photographic gaffe of objects such as trees or telegraph poles seeming to protrude from the top of a subject's head.

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