AV or A mode is Aperture priority mode. This allows you to set what you would like your aperture to be while the camera adjusts shutter speed. You can choose to have place your ISO in Auto mode and it will set both shutter speed and ISO for you. You can adjust all other settings manually. All you need to know is what aperture you would like to use, but how do you decide that. In order to make this decision you need to understand what aperture is!
Ok, Time for for a quick review….What is aperture?
Do you remember as a child ever wanting a light left on as you were sleeping? I do. If you think about a bedroom door at night time. The room is very dark when the door is shut all the way, but the more open the door is the more light is allowed the shine into the room. The same is true for your camera’s aperture. Aperture is the opening of the iris in your lens also know as f-stop. The lower the number, the wider the opening. The higher the number, the smaller the opening. The size of the opening determines how much light is let into your camera’s sensor.
You aperture also controls you depth of field. Depth of field is all about what is in focus. It is the space between the first thing that is closest to your camera that is clearly in focus to the furthest thing from your camera that is clearly in focus. When you choose a lower aperture the depth of field will be shallow or shorter and when you choose a higher aperture the depth of field is deep or longer.
Having control over your depth of field allows you to better decide what will be the emphasis in your picture. When you are taking a portriat and you want to have the viewer focus on the subjects eyes. Is it important that your background be in focus? Or will having the background in focus just distract from your photo? This is not a question that anyone can answer for you. You have to decide this for yourself as the artist. Aperture priority give you to control to say no I want you to focus here not here.
- Low F-Stop Number
- depth of field is shallow/shorter
- the iris in your lens has a wide opening
- More light is let in
- foreground in focus with a blurred background
- High F-Stop Number
- depth of field is deep/longer
- the iris in your lens has a small opening
- less light is let in
- the foreground and the background are in focus
When your camera is in manual mode (which is a totally different irresistible burst blog! coming soon) you have to find the happy medium between the settings to adjust the exposure of the picture while getting the results that you want. The best part about AV mode is it takes the guess work out of figuring out what the ISO or shutter speed needs to be to compensate for the amount of light being let into the sensor.
If you are taking a portrait, a paintery photo, a micro photo you might choose a lower aperture. While if you are taking a landscape photo you may want everything in focus. In the end it is all up to you. I have seen portraits that have the background in focus and are framed in such a way that they tell a story or draw your eye to the subject through leading lines. If those details were not there the picture would not have the same impact. On the other hand, the same photo was framed with a different background in focus it might take away from the photo. I might look at it and have trouble focusing on the subject. You have to keep in mind what is the focus of my photo then say to yourself it this taking away from or is the leading me to the subject. Is it distracting or is it adding to it?
Photographers are artist! We have to decide what is our vision and what do we want our paint brush (the camera) to do in order to get the masterpiece that expresses our style. Take control! Be creative! Be yourself! and Do not be afraid to play!!!!