What are all those settings?

When we bought our first SLR camera, my husband and I knew very little about how to use the camera. All we knew was that it took great photographs compared to the 1.3 MP Casio Exilim we had been using.

So the husband got to reading. He read the manual from front to  back. I was a slacker and didn’t but listened to instruction from him. After all, I was busy planning a wedding!

So for a bit I just used the green setting, automatic. ::gasp:: Shame on me! You can do so much more with your camera!

If you don’t get off the green icon then you’re simply shooting with a super large, super expensive point and shoot.

So what are all those settings?

The little icons set the camera modes according to what you’re taking a picture of. The running guy is sports, for example, and the flower sets the camera for macro photography.

The settings I’m talking about are the manual settings.

Program (P) – In this mode you have slightly more control of the camera than you do on auto mode (which is no control). You have control over the flash & ISO. The aperture & shutter speed are calculated and set by the camera.

Aperture Priority (AV or A) – You set the aperture (also called f value) and ISO. The camera chooses a shutter speed that will give you the best exposure.

This is useful if you know you want to blur the background and aren’t overly concerned with shutter speed. Since my main subjects are fast moving, I want control over the shutter speed.

Shutter Priority (S or TV for time value) – You set the shutter speed and ISO. The camera chooses an aperture value to best expose your photograph.

When I’m trying to catch my 2 year old in action I need a shutter speed of at least 1/125 second. The faster, the better. But, slower shutter speeds can certainly make for more interesting photos so don’t be afraid to slow it down. Sometimes you’ll be surprised with what you capture.

Manual (M) – I use this setting most often. I don’t want the camera thinking for me. I am a control freak, and manual mode gives me total control.

The downside to shooting in manual is if you have changing light conditions you will need to adjust your settings. This may not be so great if you’re shooting a wedding, for example, and the sun decides to come out from behind the clouds. You will have to take time from the ceremony, and potentially important shots, to fix your exposure.

I recommend trying manual mode while you’re learning about exposure. Messing with the settings and learning about the cause & effect of those settings is the best learning experience you can get.

As always, feel free to leave a link to your work. I love finding new inspiration.

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