Thursday, January 21, 2010

photog tip thursday--shooting in AV mode

today we are going to be livin' on the edge and talking about shooting outside of the box HA! and by "box" i mean in a mode other than "auto" (the green box).

just a reminder, i'm keeping these posts very basic and they are really meant for a mom who wants to take better pictures of her kids. we will be taking BABY steps each thursday, so if you already know this basic photography information, i apologize for boring you and check back in on fridays!

back to our lesson today....

with a little courage and some tools, one step you can take to improving your pictures is to NOT shoot in automatic. yes i'll admit there are times where i've only got one second to grab a picture of my kids doing something really cute before they move and ruin the moment, and i'll quickly flip to auto, but most of the time i do NOT shoot in "green box" mode. the main reason for this is that in auto the flash will most of the time automatically come on and not give you the best pictures (see post from last thursday).

i have gotten REALLY comfortable shooting in "AV" mode and when i'm really living on the edge i go full throttle and shoot in manual. shooting in manual is where i really learn the most about photography because i can change settings and see what that does to a photograph. i digress......

what IS "AV" mode?

"AV" mode is the mode that puts the "aperture" as the priority. what does that mean? again keeping things simple aperture creates what i call the "magic" in a photograph. it's that crystal clear subject that pops at you with the blury background behind. it is what we all love and adore about the photographs of our children, besides the munchkins themselves!

here's a quick example i could find, but you'll see how my son "pops" from the background and the trees, etc have a blur to them. you can also see how thrilled he is to have his picture taken ha!

how do i get in AV mode?

on my cannon rebel, you simply turn the dial to "AV". you should have this on most SLR cameras i believe and also some point and shoot cameras. check your owner's manual to see how to get into "AV" mode on your particular camera.

i'm in AV mode, now what?

here i am going to speak from my experience with my personal cannon rebel xt since that is what i know best, if you don't have a rebel, your camera probably operates very similarly so this information should at least send you in the right direction.

on my camera, when i am in AV mode, my camera will give me the lowest number aperature given the current lighting conditions and set the shutter speed. for this lesson, just understand that the lower the number of the aperature (this will be determined by the numbers on your lens that have a decimal, mine is f 1.8) the MORE "magic" or blur you will get. so AV mode will get you the best blur your lens can offer in the current conditions you are in.

the one thing you WILL have to set in the mode (at least on my camera) is the ISO. without getting technical at all, when i'm inside with less lighting, i use a higher number (consult your manual to determine how to change the ISO) and when i'm outside i use lower numbers.

homework for the week, follow these steps:

1) learn how to change your mode from "auto" to "AV"

2) learn how to change the ISO on your camera and set it

3) once you can do these two things, take several pictures in AV mode inside using both the highest ISO number your camera will go and the lowest number. compare the differences in the photographs.

4) go outstide and repeat step 3.

5) have fun and don't forget to take chances and take lots of pictures! that's the beauty of digital!



These Are The Days said...

Umm, since I just purchased a Nikon D200 w/ 2 awesome lenses (but am clueless), I'll stay tuned each week. Thanks, Jess