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AV or Manual

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  • #16
    With my limited skills at holding the camera still, Av often screws up the shots when indoor and not using flash. I use a f/1.8 50mm for my family events and it is almost exclusively indoor this time of the year and often in "cozy light" which is no good for pictures.

    Some tips (some subject to camera features)
    1) Use M mode with auto-ISO
    2) Set max ISO to something you can de-noise in post.
    3) Set shutter speed to something you can handhold and only fiddle with shutter speed when the max-ISO cannot give you enough light. Then let the ISO vary from shot to shot.

    This combo is perfect for beginners who want to go beyond A+ mode. Av sometimes get some strange shutter/ISO combos and on an entry camera with only one dial, setting it to M+autoISO means you get to control both shutter speed and ISO with a single dial. If you are not happy with the camera picking a certain ISO, roll the dial and increase shutter speed until it bumps down. It is a bit like a "learner mode" for getting your mind wrapped around the exposure triangle.

    And most importantly:
    4) Shoot RAW

    After I switched to RAW I now have the luxury of going to through images in the comfort of my office and only discard the ones that are blurred or has bad compositions/poses/facial expressions.
    Anything related to WB can be fixed in lightroom (or similar).
    This has increased by keeper rates significantly. Sure you need more memory cards, but those are cheap these days and I have already earned back mine in the form of pictures of loved ones that money can't buy. Many where the JPEG was ruined but a few moments in Lightroom with the RAW and they turned into frame-able shots. If you make the switch, you will quickly take off the training-wheels (RAW+JPEG) as well, when you realize that the JPEGs are just a waste of space since you almost never use them. And on entry-mid cameras the burst rate is really bad with RAW+JPEG (my 650D can do 5-6 RAW burst before it slows to 2FPS, while it can only do 2 RAW+JPEG).

    Another good tip for WB sync'ing when you shoot indoors with multiple different light sources. Take extra "sync shots". Most of my family photos are taken during family events. I do not have the luxury of setting up lights and usually I make do with whatever is there.
    A trick I often use is to snap off a few extra shots of people in the "key spots". Having multiple shots of, for example your sister, from various light sources will help you use their clothing to sync WB. I then use my "reference" shots to copy WB settings from one picture to another in Lightroom to better get the colors right. At the end of a day you often have multiple shots of people in a couch for example, and clothing is much easier as WB reference than skin tones, assuming you know what color the clothing is supposed to be.