By Sarah Donoghue

We here at and SMEDIAs 2024 are pleased to announce that Canon will be working with us to sponsor a category in this year’s awards!

Canon Cameras have been around since the early 1930s and are the brand most people think of when they picture a camera. They are a Japanese company that quickly spread worldwide. This year they are a sponsor of the 2024 student media awards, the SMEDIAs. Canon cameras are everywhere, from Hollywood movie sets to amateur photographers, these cameras are easy to make look professional so are the top pick for most camera enthusiasts. Mastering the basics of Canon’s beginner cameras is easier than you think and will leave you with impressive pictures and videos to wow your friends and family. 

What Camera to Buy: 

Canon cameras always seem to feature on any “Best Cameras for beginners” lists you can find. They make cameras specifically designed to be easy to use but also to introduce you to the world of photography, making it easy for you to graduate to a more advanced camera in no time. To begin with, Canon recommends these cameras. 

  • Canon EOS 2000D: This camera is a DSLR which is perfect for those looking to capture and share memories in high quality. The camera boasts great clarity and vibrant colours. It also comes with different filters to unleash your creativity. The settings can be put into automatic mode too if you are finding them hard to master. 
  • Canon EOS 4000D: This camera is another DSLR and is very similar to the 2000D. However, this camera can shoot in Full HD video. It also connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to make sharing your photos easier than ever. It is considered Canon’s best camera for beginners.  
  • Canon EOS R100 Mirrorless Camera: This mirrorless camera is another camera perfect for beginners. It is the best at capturing memories in pin-sharp focus. Its best attribute is the autofocus which detects and tracks people providing sharp focus and a blurred background.  

What mode to shoot in: 

Excluding automatic mode, there will usually be 4 modes on your canon camera: Programme mode, Tv Shutter priority, Av Aperture priority, and Manual mode. These modes will be indicated on the dial on the top of your camera using the letters P, S, A, and M. Programme mode is usually recommended for beginners, however, if you want to learn how to shoot like a professional photographer, manual mode is the one for you. Manual mode allows you to independently change the aperture, shutter speed and IOS. Once you choose manual mode you are going to need to master the different settings. And that’s where I come in. 


Exposure is the term that relates to how much light the camera records when you take a picture. If you take a photo with a digital camera and the image is too dark it means that it’s under exposed, if you take a picture in his too bright it means it’s overexposed.  

Exposure begins when the shutter opens and finishes when the shutter closes. So, the longer the shutter is open for the for, the more light can be let into the photo. If you’re taking a photo at nighttime and it’s too dark, you can change the shutter speed, so the shutter is open for longer and more light is let in. You can do the opposite if you are taking a photo somewhere very bright.  

  • How to change to shutter speed: On your screen there will be what looks like a number line from primary school. It will range from –3 to +3. -3 is a low exposure and +3 is a high exposure. You can select the number line with the arrows and okay button then change it with the dial on top of your camera. This is changing the shutter speed. You may need to take a few testers to get the perfect speed.  

You can also control the exposure by changing the ISO. The ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO means the camera has a higher sensitivity to light, this means it will capture more light and have a higher exposure. If you are shooting during the day, the general advice is to select an ISO that is 300 or lower. 

  • How to change the ISO: The ISO is easy to change, it will be on your screen while in manual mode. You select it using the arrows and okay buttons. Once its’ selected you can use the buttons or the dial at the top of your camera to choose your preferred ISO. You may need to select and test out a few to get the perfect ISO. 

The last way to control your exposure is using Aperture. Aperture is the size of the opening in the lens. The size of the opening controls the amount of light let in and therefore the exposure.  

  • How to change the Aperture:  The aperture is indicated on your screen with an F followed by a number. On the back of this camera there’s a button marked AV. That stands for aperture value. If you hold that button down with your phone and then turn the dial on the top of the camera, you can change the aperture position. Dial it to the right for a bigger F number dialling through the left for a lower F number. The lower the F number the bigger the aperture.  

If you get the perfect camera for you and master these three settings, you’ll be taking the perfect pictures in no time.