How To Turn On a Canon Camera

Piper O'Shanassy11 Apr 2022

So you just purchased a brand new Canon.  Congrats, you're about to embark on a whole new world of photography opportunities. But, when you unbox your purchase and go through the thick instruction manual, you might find yourself wondering how to start using and get the most out of your new camera.

There are several reasons to enjoy Canon cameras, regardless if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the city or the splendor of the great outdoors. And it all boils down to features. Canon cameras are packed with incredible features that make your digital photography much more interesting.

How to Use a Canon

The Rebel series cameras are Canon's entry-level SLRs. These cameras include professional tools to manually adjust the exposure as well as automated features that effectively transform the camera into a point-and-shoot. The Canon Rebel series includes numerous sophisticated capabilities, such as the ability to capture both images and video.

Turning Your Canon On and Off

It's pretty straightforward to turn your Canon on and off. You can easily find the on/off button on the camera. Simply toggle the button to on to turn the camera on, and off to turn the camera off.

Holding Your Canon

When shooting photographs, make sure to hold the camera with two hands - your right hand on the handle with the shutter button, and your left hand with your palm facing upward beneath the lens. This is the optimum position to keep the camera steady and minimize the possibility of accidentally dropping the camera. To enhance stability, keep your elbows in and your feet split apart, one slightly in front of the other.

Setting Your Canon's Picture Size and Quality

To adjust the quality of your photographs, hit the menu button in the camera's top left corner. Then, using the cross keys, go through the various menu selections. To navigate between menu tabs, use the left and right arrow keys, and to choose your selection, tap the set button.

Taking Photographs

By pressing the green A button on the top of the camera, you can begin shooting photos immediately with the exposure settings set to automatic. Alternatively, you could manually alter your settings to better suit your needs.


Most Canon lenses include an autofocus switch and, in certain cases, an image stabilizer switch. To activate autofocus, ensure that the autofocus toggle is switched to AF. If you wish to manually focus a shot, turn this toggle to MF and use the front ring on the lens to draw it into focus.

Shutter Button

The camera's shutter button is technically two buttons in one. To set up the camera for snapping a photo, push the button halfway down. Pressing the shutter button halfway down activates the autofocus, charges the flash, sets the exposure, and prepares the camera for a photo. A photograph is taken by fully pushing the shutter button. If you push the shutter button all the way down without first holding it halfway, there may be a little lag before the camera takes a photo.

How To Turn On Flash on a Canon Camera

The built-in flash on your Canon is a quick and efficient way to add light to a dark setting. However, whether or not you can utilize flash and what flash capabilities are accessible are determined by your exposure mode.

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Flash

  • The ISO setting impacts the camera's light sensitivity.
  • If the flash is too close to your subject, the light might not always completely illuminate it.
  • When shooting with a long lens, the light of the flash striking the lens might create undesirable shadows.
  • A lightning bolt in the viewfinder indicates that the flash is turned on. The term "Busy," together with the lightning bolt, indicates that the flash needs to recharge for a few seconds.
  • Slow down the shutter speed to get lighter backgrounds in flash photos.


Turning On Flash on a Canon

The exposure mode controls the flash.  Here's how it all works out:

  • Scene Intelligent Auto, Portrait, Close-Up, and Night Portrait: If the camera detects that more light is required, it activates and raises the built-in flash. Otherwise, the flash is not activated.
  • Landscape, Sports, and Flash Off modes: The flash is turned off.
  • Food mode: Flash is deactivated by default, and Canon recommends that you resist using flash in this mode to prevent casting distracting shadows or reflecting on the surfaces on silverware, glasses, etc. Nevertheless, if you wish to use flash, you could do it using the Quick Control panel. When the flash is turned on, the built-in flash illuminates when you push the shutter button halfway.
  • Creative Auto mode: There are three flash modes to select from:
    • Auto Flash: The camera controls when to activate the flash based on the light levels.
    • On: Irrespective of the illumination condition, the flash displays, and fires. Even in bright light, using a filler flash is an excellent approach to illuminate people's faces.
    • Off: The flash stays off, even if it is elevated because you used flash in the previous photo.

The current flash setting could be viewed in the Shooting Settings and Live View screens. To change the flash mode, use the Q button to bring up the Quick Control menu. To cycle among the three flash settings, use the cross keys to indicate the flash setting and then turn the main dial. You may also use the Set button to bring up a selection screen with all of the possible flash settings.

My Canon Camera Won’t Turn On

Canon has unquestionably been a dominant player in the camera industry, with photography aficionados preferring Canon due to their cameras' unrivaled features. Although Canon makes the greatest cameras, you may have issues with your Canon, such as the camera not turning on.

Here are some fixes you can try:

  • Make sure the batteries are in good shape. If the battery is old and worn out, it may need replacement.
  • Check if the batteries are inserted properly. 
  • If using rechargeable batteries, inspect if your batteries are fully charged.
  • Ensure that the battery compartment is closed. If it's not fully closed, your camera won't turn on.
  • Assess if your battery slot is dirty. If so, clean it carefully, reinsert the batteries and try turning on the camera.
  • Remove and reinsert the lens and memory card.

As a photographer, your camera is your lifeline. Thus, you need to be aware that you may experience problems with your Canon camera from time to time, like your camera not turning on. Troubleshooting can be somewhat tricky but follow the steps above and hopefully, you'll get your camera working and ready for your next photo op.

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper grew up with a love of animals, which quickly turned into a love of photographing them. She shares her tips and tricks on photography, and hopes she can help you shortcut your expansion of a passion.

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