Photography for Beginners – Part 1 -Shooting modes

Photography for Beginners -Shooting modes:

Digital Photography is my passion.I am a beginner myself , learning with every new click ,experimenting and improvising my skills. I took a few  classes and workshops from a professional and that has been really helpful.This is an attempt to share what I learned and is hopefully useful to someone who is a beginner using the digital camera and is ready to explore out of the automatic mode .

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T2i ,but most of the aspects discussed here are available in all the digital cameras and all you need to do is to find the equivalent in the one you use.

One of the first things I learned , is a photographer should think of the following aspects while taking a picture:
  1. Composition
  2. Focus
  3. Color and
  4. Exposure
 These are the main pillars and strengths that make your picture  noticeable and unique from the rest.The composition includes the placement of your object, theme and your perspective . It helps to be creative here using one’s imagination to bring out the best in the final product. The focus and color are other elements using which you could create an unique picture. Last but not the least, is exposure which consists of the three main pillars of photography also called the exposure triangle:
  1.  Aperture
  2. Shutter speed and
  3. ISO
Shooting modes : Make the first step and explore out of the auto mode , check out the other modes by turning the knob on the top of the camera .You should be able to see M, Av, Tv, P etc, the equivalent may be different in other cameras ,for example you may see  M,A,S,P etc .Please refer to the user manual and find the same. When you shoot in the auto mode, the camera determines all the 3 aspects i.e the aperture, shutter speed and ISO .In the other popular modes mentioned above ,you have control on the settings and values and can set it as per your preference.
Aperture Mode or Av : In this mode , you have partial control of the settings or in other words ,this is a semi-automatic mode .This is a good mode to experiment for first time users who are only familiar with the auto-mode.
  • You can select the aperture or the f value and the camera automatically determines the shutter speed. It could be set to any values f/2.0 , f4.0, f5.6, f/24.0 etc.
  • The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens through which light is allowed to pass when the shutter is open.
  • When the aperture is large ,it allows  more light to pass through . With a smaller aperture , only less light passes through.But keep in mind, larger aperture means more light and lower f-stop values.
  • Similarly smaller aperture means less light and higher f-stop values.
  • Every time you reduce the f-stop you are reducing the light by halves into the camera.
  • This mode can be used for taking portraits or wildlife.
  • The aperture also influences the depth of field or  the part of the picture in focus. With a higher depth of field or higher f values ,you can cover most of the picture with sharpness whereas using the lower depth of field or lower f values the subject focussed  is sharp but the scenery behind is blur or gives the ‘bokeh’ effect. This is especially used in portraits.
  • The other way to get the ‘bokeh’ effect is by increasing the distance between the subject and background and photographing the subject closely.
  • This can also be effective when photographing close-up of flowers and other objects in nature like insects .
Shutter Priority mode or Tv:  This is another mode where in again ,you have partial control of the settings like the previous mode .
  • The difference from the prior mode is here the shutter speed is set by the photographer and the aperture will be automatically set by the camera.
  • The shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second it could be 1/4 ,1/10, 1/100,1/2000 etc.
  • Depending on how long the shutter is open , more light is passed through the sensor to be captured.
  • If you want to capture a moving car or a sports activity ,you would use this mode and with a short shutter speed like 1/2000 basically ,you can freeze the movement and capture it.
  • But if you want to capture water from a sprinkler or waterfall and capture the water ‘s moving effect you would use longer shutter speed like 1/10.
  • It is also advisable to use a tripod in this case so the hand is steady when the shutter is open to get the best effect.
Program or P : This mode is in between semi-automatic and full manual control.
  •  Here you can set either the shutter speed or aperture and the correct exposure is automatically set by the camera by adjusting the other value.
  • This mode gives the freedom of avoiding to switch between modes  Av and Tv and you only need to set one value and all the other values are automatically set.
Manual or M: This mode gives you full control of the camera as the name suggests and is literally the  “manual” mode.
  • The aperture  ,shutter speed and ISO the “exposure triangle” values are all set by you.
  • The exposure can be also seen on the viewfinder or screen of your camera and that will show if the image is over exposed or under exposed and that can be corrected.
  • From the viewfinder you can find the light meter which will look similar to this
  • – 2 . . . 1 . . . 0 . . .1 . . .2 + and you need to adjust the vertical line standing on the values to get the light meter to zero adjusting the exposure triangle values of aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
  •  If the ticker is on the zero,It is considered a properly exposed picture.  Some prefer the  ticker to be one tick to the positive so that the photo is overexposed ,it is each one’s individual preference and what looks pleasing to their eyes!

More details coming up in the next post …

 Disclaimer: I am not a photography tutor or professional .This is only an effort to share the lessons and tips I learnt , refresh the concepts from the class I attended and compile my experiences using the digital camera .

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  • Reply
    March 13, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    You are so informative! Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2019 at 1:11 am

    Many Thanks Diane!

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