AV Mode

Want that sharp photo with a blurry background? Here is a simple, quick tutorial of using your “AV” mode on your camera to achieve those more ‘blurry’ backgrounds.

Please note: This is for an somewhat experienced photographer (no, you don’t have to be a pro, but practice helps… so don’t be afraid to try & try again. But don’t give up if you don’t get it right the first time).


First, set your camera dial (I am using a Canon in my examples, so if you shoot on a different camera, it may look different but essentially it is all the same). AV is your aperture priority mode, GET TO KNOW IT. Practice on this mode and get comfortable with it. I shoot in AV and Manual mode all the time, I never shoot in Auto (but that’s me and I love telling my camera what to do).

PRACTICE, and keep practicing. This is what is so great about digital photography, you have endless amounts of shots… no film that you will run out of and you can check your work immediately and adjust accordingly (to your desire). Your f/stop is how much light you are allowing into your lens (the higher the f/stop the less light you are letting in). The ISO is pretty much like your film speed… remember the days of buying 400 speed film? 200 speed was for outdoor use, 400 was a good speed for average every day stuff (a little daytime indoor and okay for outdoor too), then there was 800 and up, used for darker situations. In my opinion,  the easiest way to look at ISO and understand it is to think of the film days,… the lower the ISO setting, like 100, 200, 250… the less light you need: best for outdoor, sunlit areas. ISO of 400-600, afternoon shots, or daytime indoor shots with natural light being used. ISO of 800 and up, you need more light (and you already have your f/stop wide open). Learning to shoot in “P” mode is the very first step toward manual photography. “P” mode is your ISO. If you aren’t there yet, I highly recommend coming back to this tutorial once you are comfortable in using at least that setting. 

AV mode is almost manual mode. The camera is still doing some of the work for you, controlling your shutter speed.  I also recommend metering, however that can be another lesson in itself.

Don’t give up, practice and find your own style.  Most of all, HAVE FUN!

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