There’s lots to learn if you want to get the most from your DSLR but lets start by digging into each of these topics. The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens through which light is allowed to pass whenever the shutter is opened – the larger the aperture, the more light passes through. Whereas a shallow depth of field (achieved by using a large aperture (small f-number)) would produce an image where only the subject is in sharp focus, but the background is soft and out of focus. So when using aperture priority, you can get complete control over your depth of field, whilst the camera takes care of the rest. So whilst you worry about what shutter speed you need for a given photograph, the camera will determine the appropriate aperture required to give the correct exposure. Aperture and shutter priority shooting modes may be semi-automatic, meaning that some may deride their use because they’re not fully manual, however they are incredibly useful modes to shoot in that can give you enough creative control to capture scenes as you envisage them. Practically Speaking: you want to keep the ISO as low as possible, as the lower the ISO, the less noise and the higher the quality of the resulting image.
Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all facotrs that influence your exposure, and are all linked.
They all have the net effect of reducing the amount of light by a factor of 4, countering the change in aperture. Using a combination of the semi-automatic shooting modes and auto-ISO would mean you won’t necessarily need to think about adjusting your exposure in such a way initially, however understanding the relationship that ISO or aperture has with shutter speed, and knowing the practical implications is a big step in mastering your DSLR .
Through out all of the above discussion, I have said that the camera calculates the exposure depending on the amount of available light, but what is it actually doing? Average – The camera will assess the tones across the entire image form corner to corner, and expose the scene to 18% grey from that assessment.
Centre-weighted – The camera weights the exposure reading for the area in the centre of the viewfinder that can total up to approximately 80% of the scene, ignoring the extreme corners of the image. If a scene contains primarily bright tones and is being rendered too dark, for example, a bright white snow scene (that will typically be reduced to 18% grey by the default metering system), you can apply positive exposure compensation to let the camera know that the scene should be lighter than middle grey.
Conversely, if a scene contains primarily dark tones and is being rendered too light, for example, a dark night scene (that will typically be increased to 18% grey by the default metering system), you can apply negative exposure compensation to let the camera know that the scene should be darker than middle grey.
You will have the option to be able to change the size of the images that your camera records, and in which file type. Practically speaking: When starting out with your camera, using jpeg is the most straight forward. If shooting in jpeg, as recommended above, you will need to make sure you set your white balance before taking a picture. Different light sources (such as the sun, light bulbs, fluorescent strips etc) emit light of different wavelengths, and therefore colours, which can be described by what is known as colour temperature. Left: The image captured using auto white balance has a heavy yellow tone from the artificial street lighting.
Shade – To be used if shooting in the shade, as shaded areas generally produce cooler, bluer images, so need warming up. Tungsten – Used for shooting indoors, under incandescent light bulbs, or under street lights, to cool down the yellow tones. Flash – the flash will add a cool blue cast to the image, so used to add some warmth.
I absolutely love this article, I just got my first DSLR camera today and this put my mind at ease and now I am ready to start. The shooting modes are located on the mode dial, which is the large dial located on the top left of the camera. Not all cameras have the same shooting modes; these are the basics mode settings on a Canon 40D.
The full automatic mode on almost all digital SLR cameras is the mode where the camera chooses all of the settings: focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, among many others.


Quick Tip: When you are trying to focus on a subject and auto focus is not picking what you want to focus on, move your camera to center on your desired focal point, click half way down on the shutter to focus, do not release, and then move back to your original frame to complete your shot.
This automatic portrait mode setting is for when you want to take portraits or group shots. This automatic close up mode is for anything that you want to get close to, such as flowers, bugs or butterflies, and any other miscellaneous small objects. The automatic sport mode setting will help you to take stop-action photographs of sports, running children, or other fast speed objects. The automatic night portrait mode will help you take a better portrait in low light or at night.
The no flash mode is perfect for those locations that flash photography is prohibited, like museums and plays. If you would like to choose your aperture, allowing you to choose your depth of field, aperture priority is a good choice.
Shutter priority is the exact opposite of aperture priority, it allows you to select if you want a fast or slow shutter speed while the camera chooses the best aperture for the shot.
If you would like to choose some of the settings, but not all of them, use the Program Mode.
If you have a specific question on your camera, leave a comment below for us and we will help you learn more. Thanks to Brittany's creative design talents, she has helped Content Solutions win several STC competition awards for the Bryan Texas Utilities' Annual Report, Texas Co-op Power Magazine, Power Pedal, and numerous others. Elliot loves being outdoors with his camera, and is always looking to improve his own photography and share what he has learnt with others. Wanted your advise on which camera body+lens would be suitable for wildlife, bird and landscape photography.
If you are wondering how to use your Canon digital camera shooting modes, this post will hopefully answer some of your questions. These modes are very similar to some shooting modes on Canon digital point-and-shoot cameras. This mode is for every level of photographers, if you are just starting out and learning about your camera and looking through the lens, or if you are a professional and you need to take a quick picture without having the time to play with any of the other modes. This setting is perfect for when you want to take a picture of something farther away to get “the big picture,” even if it is not just a landscape, as well as for wide shots, to have everything from near to far in focus. It is highly recommended to use a tripod while using this mode since it is possible that any hand movement may blur the image. Sports mode makes your shutter speed very fast allowing for items in the scene to be frozen. If the scene is low light, but flash is prohibited, trying using a tripod or a flat surface to prevent blurring.
You will be able to choose if you want the image to be a little darker, a little lighter, or even a slower shutter speed, and you can interchange the two as needed. Aperture priority will allow you to set the aperture, again with your dials, and will choose the best matching shutter speed for you.
While on the P mode the camera chooses the correct shutter speed and aperture for your chosen frame.
It will choose a higher aperture number, which is a smaller aperture hole, to allow the foreground and background to be in an acceptable focus.
Brittany is definitely the artistic genius of the group, and she can prove it with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography.
The automatic mode will choose the settings for you based on the scene that is being photographed, if there is low light, it will choose to open the aperture and slow down the shutter speed, if it is bright outside it will close the aperture and speed up the shutter. The blurring of the background details will allow your subject to pull away from the background more.


This mode will also increase the blues and greens in your scene to make your image more vivid. If you are able to use a tripod or flat surface with this mode it will help, though it is not required. This mode is also good for taking automatic pictures of other scenes that do not require flash, or when you know you do not want to use the flash. In this mode you will see the aperture and shutter speed numbers through the viewfinder called the exposure level indicator.
This will allow you to change your depth of field manually, so you can increase or decrease the focus on your background details, as well as let you bring both into focus if you would like. If you slow down the shutter speed on a moving subject you can blur the action, illustrating the motion in the photograph. This mode is good for when you want to do something creative with your images and get different variations of light and depth of field, but still want the camera to help you with the settings. You can register these settings by configuring all of your settings, including what mode you are in, your menu settings and any custom function settings, and registering the mode by following your cameras instruction manual. She started with Content Solutions as an intern while still attending the University of North Texas, and she gradually discovered that she is just as good at graphic design, document design, and web development as she is with a camera.
The bright snowy background caused my camera to underexpose this scene by nearly two stops, which could have been corrected by exposure compensation in camera. The automatic setting also requires you to use automatic focus, so the camera will pick the focus and depth of field to be used. The on-camera flash will not be used in this mode so that you will not accidentally illuminate your foreground. If your image is still coming out not in focus, try taking the image a little further away; the standard lenses are only able to get so close.
Since the on-camera flash is used in this mode, your subject will be frozen, but hand movement may blur the background if it can not be reached by the flash. I prefer to not use the flash if it is not necessary, so I recommend this mode over full automatic so that you still get the camera choosing your settings, but you get to use the natural light. To increase your depth of field and allow more things to be in focus, make sure you change your aperture to a larger number, this creates a smaller aperture hole. Both the aperture and shutter priority modes allow you to get out of the box with your images and experiment with what you can do with your camera. These are for those settings that you change a lot of configurations for, and you wish you could save them so you didn’t have to enter them in manually every time. She continues to improve her skills and knowledge in these arenas daily, making her vital to the company. Since the flash will not automatically go, this is a good scene for night landscapes as well. In this mode you can have auto focus turned on or off, and you can choose which selectors to use for your focus if automatic focus is turned on. To decrease your depth of field, and cause some objects to be out of focus, make sure to set your aperture to a smaller number, this creates a larger aperture hole. You can keep the correct exposure and set a lower aperture or shutter speed by toggling the aperture or shutter speed dials while keeping the shutter button half clicked.
The flash will go off if you are in a low light setting with this mode, sometimes this will throw off the balance, so try to make sure to move yourself out of any shadows and use as much light as possible.



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