Beyond the Basics Overview of Tafe Southport course Night 1

So last night I started a “beyond the basics” photography course at TAFE Southport. I’m going to see what is taught, to get an idea of the level of understanding of photography in the community and ideas on how to inform our customers and to hang with a mate who is starting out. #MultiFaceted Me.

After initial introductions we start to explore our cameras. The mix is about 40/40 Canon Nikon and the balance is made up of other brands but our lecturer (Miss C) is a Canon shooter so, hard luck the rest of you. Just kiddin, most of the dials etc translate to other brands.

We started on the left side dial, the Shooting Mode Dial, that has settings such as P and AV etc. The big subject is the famed Green rectangle. Much time is spent attempting to instill shame using the green “i will figure it out myself” says the camera, setting. The thing with the green rectangle is that the camera is making all of the decisions which gives you the shooter, zero control and zero creativity. So I agree, stay off “the green”.

Next is the P setting. P is for program or perplexed or “professional” but nah, P is for Program. This P setting is one up from “the green” and yep in this setting you can make some adjustments but the camera is still making the bulk of the decisions for you. Little creative control. Not why you bought the camera right. So unless you are at a party and snapping away and can’t be bothered (for instance), stay off P also.

shutter speed control

shutter speed control

The next on a Canon is TV. Why TV? Well time value of course duhhh. Hey Canon, SV would have made a pile more sense. Shutter Value or Shutter speed. Rant over. When would you use TV? When you want to give “priority” to the shutter speed (with ISO set as desired) and let the camera work out the aperture value for you. AND you would do that when you have the desire to freeze action or to stop camera shake. So 1/1000 is plenty for say photographing sport such as AFL in most cases. If you want to freeze say a moving car but not freeze the background, you would pan with the vehicle for instance. Just a few uses.

Aperture Priority - Creepy Depth of Field

Aperture Priority – Creepy Depth of Field


The next is my fave, the AV setting. Canon got it right calling it Aperture Value. Just like TV, in AV you set the aperture you want so then (with the ISO already set) the camera works out the Shutter speed.  Aperture is about depth of field which is about what is and what isn’t in focus in a shot (topic for another lesson) and to force a faster shutter speed at f5.6 versus slower at the other end say f16.

The only proviso of TV and AV is that you must have enough light / aperture available to you from your lens. Ahhh a tale for another day maybe. 

Then be big one. The holy smoke setting. The “you mean I have to work it all out for myself’ setting. The penultimate M. M for marvelous. M for Mummmmy helpppp. No, M for Manual of course.  Lots of reasons to use M. Topic for another lesson possibly.

Canon Shooting Mode Dial

Canon Shooting Mode Dial


Next? B for Bulb. Bulb is a setting to use when you want to have your shutter open for longer than a preset-able setting. Many of which will be 30 seconds. For use in say Astronomy or Streetscapes with movement and so on.

I am sure that there was something else, but hey I can’t remember.

When we went on to the Menu button and talk was of the poor Nikon shooters who have wayyyyy too many options. Tough luck, Canon wins.

Image Quality is the first to appear at the top of the far left (not extreme far lefty). Here is where you can select the size of the file you want and if it is to be a Raw or Jpeg file. Which one is best? Well, hmmmm that’s like the Holden v Ford argument for some. To me it is about work flow for the professional / money shots / don’t care shots / “I like mucking with the shot” shots / “I wish I had a Raw shot but didn’t” shot etc. You make your own mind up. To me however if I am shooting for fun and can’t be bothered to edit much later, it is Jpeg. If not, the other. BUT one thing I will say is that unless you are 100% sure that you will edit the Raw file then do not shoot in as a second copy or as the first copy, in anything other then full Jpeg.

Further down, on the Canon you have “Flash Control”, which if you are forced to use a pop up flash (ugg) then you can at least adjust the power output there.

Then we moved onto things like UV filters, compatible batteries, etc etc

Miss C did mention that she loves Eneloop batteries, me too.

One other biggie. Format your memory card to your camera. When? 1. When you get a new card and this includes swapping a card from another device (I am not a fan of this btw). 2.When you want to clear the card of all images. 3.When you are going on a shoot and can’t remember if you have already formatted the card. 4. Just do it OK. Important!

There was more but I better get to work packing orders. Cya.

PS. I think I recognised a couple of customers there. Sorry if I don’t make the connection.


#photographybasics #BeginnerPhotography #BasicPhotography