Home Digital Photography Basics Shutter Speed Meets Aperture
Shutter Speed Meets Aperture

In digital photography, to get a properly exposed image, you need X amount of light to be recorded by the sensor, known as exposure. All Canon digital cameras come with a lovely Auto setting , the infamous green square. It controls all the settings in your Canon, shutter speed and aperture included, in hopes of giving the sensor exactly X amount of light. Unfortunately, it also controls most of the fun in digital photography. How would you like it if your parents controlled all your fun? You'd probably hate it. We'll let's not let Canon do that to our cameras. Let's get off that evil green square and put some fun in your photos.

To achieve a nicely exposed image, you can use a very small aperture, but you will need a long shutter speed to give enough light. Conversely, if you want a very fast shutter speed, you'll need a large aperture to gather enough light for that perfect exposure. It's a fine balancing act that WILL make all the difference in your photos. These 2 variables will give you a huge set of creativity tools at your disposal.

I know it is all still sounds a little complex, but you don't have to think about all these factors all the time. Canon cameras come with built in light meters that will do most of this funky math for you. All you need to do is tell it what you want to control (aperture or shutter speed), and it will do the rest of the work for you. Here are a couple easy Canon camera modes you can use to take back some of the control in your digital photography.

Av (aperture priority) - This allows you to manually set the aperture, the camera will automatically figure out the correct shutter speed to use.

Tv (shutter speed priority) - This allows you to manually set the shutter speed, the camera will automatically figure ou tthe correct aperture to use.

Go out and play with each of these settings. Put your Canon in Av mode and take a bunch of pictures of the same thing with different aperture settings. Do you notice any difference with each setting? Do the same the Tv mode.

There are other fun things you can do with metering and lighting, which we'll get to in a later post. This post is just to give you a picture of the balancing act between shutter speed and aperture.


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