I started my journey with photography before consumer digital cameras were affordable and available to the general public, so I had the advantage of learning how to photograph and develop film with a fully manual camera. When I finally upgraded to a camera with shooting modes, I had a solid understanding of how aperture and shutter speed worked together and knew how to create the look I wanted using certain settings. Because the majority of my work both then and now involves photographing people, I tend to want to control the depth of field in my images so that I have creative control over what parts are in focus and what areas are blurry. So, as you have probably guessed, the majority of my work is photographed using the Aperture Priority (Av) mode. Since I also do work in a studio or controlled-lighting environment, my second most frequently used mode is Manual (M).
Now, don’t get me wrong—I play around with the other modes depending on what I’m shooting, but I find that I prefer to have as much control as possible so that I’m creating images that fit my style of photography. If you handed me a camera that had only Av and M and no other modes, I would probably be able to photograph in any environment and capture the images that I wanted without any trouble.
What I love about Canon cameras is the ability to change the exposure compensation quickly when I’m using the Av mode. This can make shooting in Av or Tv mode very similar to using the Manual mode, because you regain control over your exposure. The internal light meter does an amazing job, but I find that when I’m in a tricky lighting situation, the Quick Control dial can work wonders to help bring the exposure back to where it should be.
The last thing that I always have enabled on my camera is the Highlight Alert. This tells me when my images are overexposed
or whether I have lost detail in an area of a properly exposed image. The ability to quickly adjust the exposure using the Quick Control dial makes it easy to capture as much detail in my images as possible.
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 you is to understand the features of your camera so that you can leverage the technology in a knowledgeable way—and produce better photographs.