Five simple drills to move you up the ranks from recruit and put you in
control of your camera.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Control your shutter speed or your aperture to make your picture look the way you want it.
Quicken Your Shutter for Frozen Motion. To catch a fast-moving subject without motion blur, you need to use a fast shutter speed, but your camera's auto mode may not know that you're looking for a freeze frame. So choose shutter-priority mode, sometimes known as Tv. In this mode, you set the speed (at least 1/500 sec should do it for most action) and your camera fills in the aperture. If your camera warns you that there's not enough light, up the ISO to get more exposure.
HALT! Dogs run fast (left). Freeze them with a high shutter speed and let the camera do the rest (right).
Open Your Aperture for Fuzzy Backgrounds.
If you want to focus the attention on one thing, whether it's a portrait subject or an object in the foreground, blur what isn't in focus by opening your aperture. For the most shallow depth of field, choose the largest aperture -- that is, the smallest number -- that your lens can shoot. Some "fast" lenses go down to f/1.2, but your kit zoom may only get down as far as f/4.5.
Attention! In auto mode, the flash fired and aperture narrowed, leaving too much in focus (left). A wider aperture commands attention (right).