Blog Photography: How To Make The Best Of Your DSLR

DSLR TIPS BLOG PHOTOGRAPHY
So you finally took the plunge and invested in a DSLR Camera. Awesome! But wait, is that sufficient to take great photos for your blog? Uhm, maybe not. Let me tell you a story. 
When I started blogging, I quickly noticed that having beautiful, captivating pictures was key to growing an audience for a blog. When I started hunting for blog photography tips, I discovered the magic DSLR camera that was recommended for taking stellar blog photos. Ah, but it was a huge investment, so I paused. Meanwhile, a friend suggested that I try the DSLR from the University Library before I buy one for myself. So, I did. I started clicking photos using it, but damn, my photos looked far from those perfect blog photos that I expected to take. Why? I was doing it all wrong.

It took me six months, a ton of online research and pulling out a lot of hair to figure it out. From what I have learnt so far, here are my top tips for making the best of your DSLR to take amazing blog photos:

1. Get to know your camera: Don't throw away the manual that came with your DSLR, its important. The first thing is to get to know your camera inside out - explore the parts, settings, modes, features and capabilities of your camera. Learning exactly what each button or control on your camera does is a key step to taking great shots. There is no use shooting with a DSLR like you would with a point and shoot, right? So dig in and find out what all your DSLR can do.
2. Know the fundamentals: Learning the alphabet is the base to learning a language, isn't it? Similarly, understanding the fundamentals of photography makes everything a lot easier, so its important to get down and learn what Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO are and what exactly they do. Once you know this, using your camera becomes a lot more interesting and fun too!
3. Shoot in raw: I shot a ton of images with my DSLR without knowing about RAW format, I was completely unaware of what I was missing in terms of image quality. You can easily set your camera to shoot in raw format and this will give you complete control while editing your photos. How? When you shoot in raw, your camera does not process the data to create your image file. So all the data is preserved till you transfer your raw files to the computer. Since the computer has higher processing power than the camera, it gives you a lot more flexibility and control to process the data to produce high quality photos. But in case of jpeg format, the camera processes all the image data before its transferred to the computer thereby not giving you much control over the quality of the image. 
4. Start using Manual mode: Its time to switch off the auto mode. Using manual mode may be intimidating at first, but the amount of control it offers is incomparable. With manual mode, you have complete control over the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, so you can take photos exactly the way you want them to look. If you don't want to jump into manual mode directly, starting with aperture priority (AV) and Shutter priority modes (TV) is a good idea. This will make it easier to shoot in manual mode eventually. 
5. Learn, Practice & Repeat: You saw this coming, didn't you? Over the course of my life, I've learnt - nothing comes easy. I so badly wish it did, though. Friend, hard work is the road to success. There is so much to learn - so approach each day, each new experience with an open mind and the will to learn. I don't know if practice makes perfect, but it definitely helps improve your skills. I still have a lot to learn, but when I look back at my old photos and see how far I have come, it makes me really happy and a little proud too, and that is an unbeatable feeling, I promise :) 
Happy Sunday! 
What are your thoughts about shooting with a DSLR? Would love your tips!