This is tip five in the series about photography called, “Ten Things All Photo Geeks Must Know.” It is for the more serious amateur photographer who shoots with a digital camera. These ten tips are the basis for a solid foundation in photography. Once you have these skills in your proverbial camera bag you will be able to advance quickly. Some of the posts will apply to film cameras as well but I am writing this series with an aspiring digital photo geek in mind.

AV versus TV

I am a Canon camera user. No matter which brand of camera you are using, the manufacturers have developed some different drive modes for various photographic situations. In a Canon camera I am referring to Av (aperture value) and TV (time value). For a Nikon camera A is aperture priority and S is shutter priority.

Photo geek footnote: Using aperture priority my exposure was ISO 1250, 1/160 at f/2.8. I also used exposure compensation (see Tip 3) + 1/2 stop.


Aperture Priority: In this mode you set the desired aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed automatically to obtain the correct exposure. I use this mode usually when I am photographing a portrait and want shallow depth of field (f/2 to f/5.6) or a landscape in which want deep depth of field (f/8 to f/22). In the image above I am photographing a portrait of my cat, Eve. I want her to be tack sharp but I would prefer that the curtains and the window are blurry so they become interesting vertical, graphical elements, rather than unnecessary distractions.


Photo Geek Footnote: Using shutter priority I shot at ISO 800, f/9 at 1/400 of a second.


Shutter Priority: In this mode you set the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the shutter speed automatically to obtain the correct exposure.  I use this mode most often when working with people or objects who are moving quickly. In the photograph above my son, Roman, was running and jumping off the diving board. I wanted to capture him in sharp detail even though he was moving at the speed of light. If you knew Roman, you would understand why I say that! So I set the camera to shutter priority (TV or S) to a 400th of a second. For fast moving subjects I use 1/250 or higher. I love these modes because I only have to worry about one element and the camera takes care of the rest.


If you missed the fourth part of this series read it HERE.

Please be sure to ask any questions you may have! I am also always open to suggestions for photo stories. You may write me at If you don’t want to miss any Snapshots from the Hill posts, please subscribe to the RSS Feed.Thanks for reading!