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How I Shoot: A Closer Look at the Camera Settings I Use

Whether it's isolating my subject with a large aperture or trying to maximize the overall sharpness of a sweeping landscape, I always keep an eye on my aperture setting. If I do have a need to control the action, I use Shutter Priority. If I'm trying to create a silky waterfall effect, I can depend on Tv to provide that long shutter speed that it will deliver. When trying to grab a shot of my fast-moving two-year-old daughter, I definitely need the fast shutter speeds that will freeze the action. While the other camera modes have their place, I think you will find yourself using the Av and Tv modes for 90 percent of your shooting.

The other concern that I have when I am setting up my camera is just how low I can keep my ISO. I raise the ISO only as a last resort because each increase in sensitivity is an opportunity for more digital noise to enter my image.

To make quick changes while I shoot, I often use the Exposure Compensation feature (covered in Chapter 7) so that I can make small over- and underexposure changes. This is different than changing the aperture or shutter; it is more like fooling the camera meter into thinking the scene is brighter or darker than it actually is.

One of the reasons I change my exposure is to make corrections when I see the "blinkies" while looking at my images on the LCD, which indicate that part of my image has been overexposed to the point that I no longer have any detail in the highlights. The only unfortunate thing about this feature is that it doesn't work with the full-screen preview mode. You have to set your camera display to the Histogram display mode (see Chapter 1) to see the highlight alert (Figure 4.11).

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.11 You can only see the highlight alert ("blinkies") when in the Histogram display mode.

As you work your way through the coming chapters, you will see other tips and tricks I use in my daily photography, but the most important tip I can give is to understand the features of your camera so that you can leverage the technology in a knowledgeable way. This will result in better photographs.

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