What are all those settings?

Canon 5DMKII

Hi everyone, and Happy Holidays!

This is the first of many blogs where I will be teaching many of my secrets on how I create my imagery. But first, we must learn the basics. I am sure we all have some sort of camera, whether film or digital, the good news is, they all work relatively the same. In fact, all cameras have three basic factors that produce a properly (or not so properly) exposed image; shutter speed, aperture and film sensitivity. Keep in mind, for starters, everything will apply to natural light photography, that means no flash.

SHUTTER SPEED (TIME):
This defines the length of time the light exposes the film.

APERTURE (F-STOP):
This defines how much light exposes the film.

FILM SENSITIVITY (ISO or ASA):
This defines how sensitive the film is to light.

All three of these factors work together every time you click the shutter. In my next blogs I will focus on each of these factors individually, detailing the pros and cons of each with sample images.

Lets look at shooting modes. For learning purposes, ignore all the modes on your camera dial except M, Av, Tv and P.

M – This is manual mode. Yep, you guessed it, in this mode, your camera should operate just like an old fashioned film camera. In this mode, you are required to manually set the shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings. Since all three factors are set by the user, it is the most challenging mode to shoot in, but once mastered, will become your best friend. People like control, and manual mode gives you full control.

Av or Ap – This stands for aperture value or aperture priority. In this mode, you set only two factors, the aperture value and ISO setting, and the camera will automatically determine the best shutter speed to get a properly exposed image.

Tv or Tp – This stands for time value or time priority. In this mode, you set the shutter speed and ISO settings, and the camera will take care of the aperture value.

P – This stands for program. All you do in this mode is set the ISO setting, and the camera will determine the best shutter speed and aperture setting.

That is all for now! Stay tuned and we will go in depth about each of the factors that make a properly exposed image. After that, we will get into advanced settings, features and functions of modern day digital SLRs.

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