Welcome to Design House Digital’s School of Design. Today, and every single day in September, we’ll have new blog posts; informative, detailed, and FREE classes that will take your digital scrapbooking to the next level. Each subject will have a new post weekly, and at the end of the month you won’t believe how much you’ve learned!
Hello, and welcome back! I’m here to bring you lesson number two about you and your camera. Today we’re going to venture out of automatic mode and explore semi-manual modes.
Let me share with you the picture of my camera mode dial again. Keep in mind that I am using a Canon Rebel XSi. Your camera may look different but should still have all of these modes (unless you’re using a point and shoot, in which case it varies from camera to camera), refer to your manual to find out what picture matches a particular mode on your camera.
We are going to start with the P and work clockwise.
P: Program Auto Exposure. This mode is similar to full automatic exposure in that it sets shutter speed and aperture for you. There are some key differences though. The first is that you can change the white balance (Allison will be explaining this to you next week). The second is that you can chance exposure compensation. This is especially helpful when you have a dark subject with a light background or vice versa. It prevents the camera from exposing the photo wrong. The third difference is that you can save photos taken in this mode in RAW format. RAW is the preferred format for a lot of photographers because you can edit more of the photo without sacrificing quality. A RAW file saves more information than a JPG. Finally, in this (and all semi-manual) mode you can chose if you’d like to use flash or not.
Tv: Tv stands for time value, and it is the mode for shutter speed priority. It allows you to choose your shutter speed and the camera automates everything else. This is a good mode to use to capture something that is moving because you can choose a very quick shutter speed to freeze that motion. Remember that you need to be aware of your light conditions as you choose a shutter speed. You’ll notice in my photos below that the brighter photo had a slower shutter speed (1/8th of a second) and more blur. The second photo had a quicker shutter speed (1/1250th of a second) and less blur but is much darker because the lighting was not optimal.
Av: This is the aperture priority mode, which means you choose your aperture and the camera automates the rest of the settings for you. This is my favorite mode. I use it 99.99% of the time. Aperture is a bit backwards when you’re first learning. A larger number means a smaller aperture, which means more depth of field. Confused? Have a look at my photos below:
In the first photo the only clear parts of the photo are that little bit of rug and the red toy tweezers. I used the largest aperture available on my lens (smallest number), which resulted in a shallow depth of field – the amount of the photo that is in focus. In my second photo I used a small aperture (large number) which resulted in more depth of field.
M: This is manual mode, and will be explained by Allison next week.
A-DEP: This mode is for automatic depth of field. It uses the camera’s focus points to figure out where to put the primary focus of the photo. This is helpful for a group shot or if you have several items at different distances from the camera. This mode will automate your shutter speed and aperture for you.
Notice the small aperture? It allows for more depth of field, which ensures all bottles of nail polish are in focus despite their different distances from the lens. You’ll also notice that the shutter speed is very long (1.3 seconds). That is because the lighting in my living room isn’t very bright in the morning. To prevent camera shake I simply placed my camera on the same surface as the nail polish.
Are you feeling a bit less shy about breaking out of automatic mode? I love having a bit more creative control over my photos and I hope I’ve given you the confidence to try it for yourself! Before I end today’s session I’d like to share with you a cheat sheet that may help you better understand some of the things we’ve talked about today. Allison will be covering them all in much more depth next week so be sure to come back and learn how to take your photography even further!