EOS tutorial

In this month’s tutorials, we’re exploring what happens when you throw the photography rulebook out and let your instincts guide you to spectacular images. When you shoot more spontaneously it can lead to accidental, beautiful, striking images which perfectly capture a moment or feeling.

Your EOS camera is perfect for capturing spontaneous moments. Why not challenge yourself this month to go out and find new sights and details to photograph? For example, you might look more closely at some of the things you see on your journey to work. What interesting architecture, street art or people could you capture?

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Nani Puspasari, Street Artist
Usage Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/


  • Try different lenses
  • Zoom to capture the details
  • Use the Vari-angle LCD and Live View
  • Move the focus point
  • Be ready for moving subjects: Use back button AF
  • Shoot using Manual mode and get creative


Try a different lens

Standard zoom lenses (kit lenses that often come with your EOS) aren’t the most challenging to master, so we suggest trying something new.

A DSLR can use a huge range of lenses. Use this to your advantage and see how each different lens can change your viewpoint. For example, you could hold your camera low to the ground and use a wide-angle lens tilted upwards to make tall buildings look more dramatic. With a wide-angle lens, such as the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, you can get closer to your subject and still get it all in the frame.


Zoom to capture the details

You might also try a longer zoom lens, such as the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, which isolates small details and closes the distance between camera and subjects. This is great for capturing details you might have missed using a standard zoom lens and can help you shoot architectural details, candid images of people and spontaneous shots of animals.


Use the Vari-angle LCD and Live View

When you’re out and about with your camera, be on the lookout for different viewpoints. If your EOS camera has a Vari-angle LCD, try positioning it so that your camera is no longer at eye level. Combine this with Live View mode to see the image on the LCD screen.

For example, by turning the LCD screen to face upwards and positioning the camera low to the ground, you can capture people from the feet up, which can make for an interesting shot. What can you learn about a stranger from their shoes?

If you’re interested in people-watching, then using the Vari-angle LCD at ninety degrees means subjects may be more relaxed, as they don’t realise the camera is focused on them. This can help you capture a shy person or pet in a natural pose.

Did you know? The sound of the shutter is quieter when using Live View mode, which is great for photographing candid and spontaneous shots of animals you may spot while outdoors.

Professional photographers often need to work fast, reacting to changing environments and settings. In order to be able to do this, you must be comfortable with the placement and function of your camera’s key controls. Being able to change the exposure with an instinctive feel for the controls means you can become a human light meter, adapting to light and shadow quickly.


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Wesley Eller, Look Up, Look Down
Usage Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Move the focus point

DSLR cameras have many focus points around the frame, but it’s easy to become transfixed on the centre. Moving the AF point can change your composition, making it even more interesting. EOS cameras have an AF selection button positioned on the top right corner of the rear of the camera, press this with your right thumb and move the AF points using either the multi-controller, main and quick control dials or the buttons on the rear of the camera (depending on the model).


Be ready for moving subjects: Use back button AF

Many photographers switch between the One Shot and AI Servo AF modes depending on the subject. Changing between the modes is straightforward but you may miss the shot in doing so.

One of the approaches used by professional photographers to avoid this is back button focus. With this technique, the camera is customised with Custom Functions or Custom Controls so that it can be used in the tracking focus mode AI Servo, yet the camera only focuses when the specific back button is pressed, not the shutter button. This can be really useful when capturing moving subjects and creating your own style.

Did you know? All EOS cameras can be configured for back button AF so that the AF-ON or AE Lock buttons are used to activate focus and the shutter button does not drive focus.


Shooting static subjects

For static subjects press the “back button” to start AF and once the subject is focused release the back button and if necessary recompose the frame and take the picture. For a moving subject just keep the back button pressed and the camera will track the moving subject continuously. It takes some practice but will make you ever-ready to respond to a changing scene.


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Perry McKenna – Faster than a speeding bullet
Usage Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/


Shoot using Manual mode and get creative

Working in Manual mode means you need to be ready to adapt to changing light conditions. Turn the Mode dial to M and choose the aperture you need for the depth of field you want and then adjust the shutter speed and ISO to get the correct exposure. If your subjects are in motion, you can choose to capture them sharply or with fluid motion by selecting your own shutter speed. Experiment with this as you can create some beautiful and unexpected effects.

When you look through the camera viewfinder, you can see how your settings are different from the camera’s automatic mode choices, but just use them as a guide – it’s your image after all.

If you’ve felt inspired to use your instincts to capture remarkable images, why not share your images with the world. Upload them to The Gallery.