Build a Resource Library for your Camera

Getting Started

In early days of photography, the process of taking images was considered a significant advancement of science. Early film cameras were rather primitive and relatively simple to use (if you knew how to operate them). Digital cameras have long since replaced film and the technology in today’s DSLR’s is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Photography is what you make of it and your camera is basically a tool to create a photograph. And that tool you have in your camera bag is far more powerful than you can image and capable of creating amazing images, but only if you learn to use it properly. As we start to go through various photography courses, you need to understand how a camera works and must learn important settings on your camera.

Some of the basic settings include; ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture. As we get into more advanced lessons you need to know the settings for White Balance, Focusing Modes, and Exposure Compensation. For illustration purposes, we’re going to use the Canon EOS Rebel T6i in our examples.

Camera Resource Library (first step)

Our goal is to teach you how to take great photos. Your first assignment is to build a Resource Library of owners manuals, training videos, and other model-specific materials will help you master your camera inside and out.

Regardless of your skill level, building a virtual and hard copy resource library consisting of camera owners manuals, user guides, and bookmarks to product overviews, and tutorials for your specific camera model.

Camera User Manual

Canon EOS Rebel T6i manual coverReading a camera owners manual is a painfully arduous, but necessary task. It really is the best place to start. If you lost your manual, see if you can buy a replacement from the manufacturer or possibly on eBay.

Bookmark or download a PDF version of the manual as well. It’s better than carrying a hard copy and you can search for what you’re looking for in a PDF.

Download Canon User Manuals here.


Camera Books (model-specific)

Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D For Dummies book cover
Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))

Camera user and owner’s manuals do a respectable job of telling you how to turn on and use various features and settings. But they fall short of telling you when, where, how and why you can or should use specific features.

Camera books written by independent authors bridge the gap between settings and techniques. For example, you should know how to enable Continuous Auto Focus, but it just as important to know under which circumstances you might use this feature. Most books are available in both hard copy an eBook formats.

Camera user manuals are getting smaller and smaller (and are sometimes very difficult to read. Some third party model-specific books come are in full color and include helpful screen captures and illustrations not found in the manufacturers manual.

Product Videos

Camera manufactures, retailers, and independent third party photographers and companies frequently review new cameras (sometimes in extensive detail). These reviews can be very effective because independent reviewers often highlight a camera’s strengths and weaknesses without having to read painfully long reviews. Most of these reviews include examples and illustrations. Search YouTube for your specific model and bookmark the video reviews you find most helpful.

Hands-On Review: Canon | EOS Rebel T6i and T6s (Free Video)

Camera Manufacturer Apps

Most major camera manufacturers offer an app for your smartphone. Some of these apps connect with your camera (if you have wireless), while others give you access to the manual. Either way, it’s helpful to install the app so you have a resource available at all times. CANON CAMERA CONNECT is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Photography Forums and Blogs

There are several photography forums and blogs where both amateur and professional photographers share photos, techniques, and review camera gear. Search blogs and forms for discussions on your camera and read the comments as they can provide helpful insights into your specific model.

Retail Camera Product Reviews

Take time to read reviews left by other owners on Amazon, B&H, BestBuy, and Adorama. Often these unbiased reviews left by users just like you provide valuable time-saving tips, as well as helpful insights into your camera’s strengths and weaknesses.


One way to get a sense of your camera’s capabilities is to check out images on Flickr taken by a specific model. Search for your camera model and you’ll probably see thousands of images taken by both amateur and professional photographers alike. Most photographers will also display EFIX data. Exif data are the settings used on a specific photography. This information is embedded into the file for each image and can be automatically displayed.

This is especially helpful if you see an image you like and want to know what settings the photographer used.

PhotoBert Photo Cheat Sheet’s

PhotoBert Photo CheatSheetAnother great tool is a CheatSheet by PhotoBert. These one page laminated quick reference guides are available for digital cameras and some accessories. These guides can help you find the settings you’re looking for without spending precious time searching menus.

Most of these cheat sheets fold up for easy carrying and storage.



Study Hard

We’re going to assume you’re on because you’re serious about being a good photographer. If you’re brand new to photography or accustomed to using fully automatic settings, the the initial learning curb may seem overwhelming. Having a small library of resources in your toolbox from various sources will help facilitate the learning process.

Lastly, don’t stress out! You don’t have to commit all of cameras advanced features to memory.


  1. i keep at least one field guide in my camera bag. These guides are small with alot of quick info about various styles of photography.

  2. I really appreciated having lesson 1, i read and revised it many times but can you please give us lessons as PPT and also show as links for tutorial videos in you tube?

  3. I like your lessons because they are not boring and not too now um looking for lesson number2. Thank you

  4. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity for people like us who is just starting out to learn from your wealth of experience and also from your past mistakes.. Your kind services is well appreciated.. Looking forward to lesson 2

  5. Thanks so much for this informative piece. Learned so much from just a few short paragraphs. The quick reference camera guide “Cheat Sheet” is a no-brainer. And the Flickr photo database specific to one’s camera model will easily become an invaluable resource for me (Canon 6D user here). Thanks again!

  6. I have no idea how to set shutter speed on my Canon D60…I am a true beginner. Have used it on AUTO ONLY but don’t want just a point and shoot camera…

  7. Thanks Guys I like the way you did this lesson up nice tips without going to long like most Great right to the point

  8. Will get started right away with reading my manual…great lesson, I can see I wil be learning a lot in coming lessons

  9. Very useful . Just started with photography bought nikon D3400 . Have found your tips very useful and have downloaded manual onto phone .
    Easier than scannning through all the small print .
    Looking forward to lesson 2
    Keep up the good work

  10. New to photography and already I can feel the vast amount of knowledge this site has to offer! Can’t wait for lesson 2

  11. I have Sony slt a55v model camara and I have 2 Lens also which is 18-55mm,75-300mm but I don’t have flashlight so that’s why I want to shoot outdoor photography if can you possible to send me that idea if you have any format for the setting, Sutterspeed, ISO,and any other things which is I can fixed it .

  12. just started photography from Canon Eos 750D, I am beginner level. Thank you very much for your lesson, Help to us.

  13. I’ve been using cameras but now it’s when I want to get serious about photography and this has been so helpful. Thank you very much. Looking forward to 2nd lesson.

  14. Wow this is a great website for beginners I just started to have interest in photography and even thinking of a carer in it and I need something to start on and I found this I recommend this for the people that are interested in photography and I can’t rate till the next class! once again thanks so much for making this website.

  15. wow its really good place to start even good for tjose who are in the profession but dont know more about their camera capabilities and what they capable of doing. keep ot up! good job.

  16. wow its really good place to start even good for tjose who are in the profession but dont know more about their camera capabilities and what they capable of doing. keep it up! good job.


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