When To Use Shutter Priority Tv Mode

• When working with fast-moving subjects where you want to freeze the action (Figure 4.3); much more on this is in Chapter 5

• When you want to emphasize movement in your subject with motion blur (Figure 4.4)

• When you want to use a long exposure to gather light over a long period of time (Figure 4.5); more on this is in Chapter 8

• When you want to create that silky-looking water in a waterfall (Figure 4.6)


Even the fastest of subjects can be frozen with the right shutter speed.

155mm lens

155mm lens


Even the fastest of subjects can be frozen with the right shutter speed.


Slowing down the shutter speed allows your photographs to convey a sense of movement.

86mm lens

86mm lens


Slowing down the shutter speed allows your photographs to convey a sense of movement.

Shutter Priority Mode Canon T2i

ISO 400 25 sec. f/22

30mm lens


A long exposure coupled with a small aperture and a steady tripod helped capture this beach scene at night.

100mm lens


Increasing the length of the exposure time gives flowing water a silky look.

As you can see, the subject of your photo usually determines whether or not you will use Tv mode. It is important that you are able to visualize the result of using a particular shutter speed. The great thing about shooting with digital cameras is that you get instant feedback by checking your shot on the LCD screen. But what if your subject won't give you a do-over? Such is often the case when shooting sporting events. It's not like you can go ask the quarterback to throw that touchdown pass again because your last shot was blurry from a slow shutter speed. This is why it's important to know what those speeds represent in terms of their abilities to stop the action and deliver a blur-free shot.

First, let's examine just how much control you have over the shutter speeds. The T2i has a shutter speed range from 1/4000 of a second all the way down to 30 seconds. With that much latitude, you should have enough control to capture almost any subject. The other thing to think about is that Tv mode is considered a "semiautomatic" mode. This means that you are taking control over one aspect of the total exposure while the camera handles the other. In this instance, you are controlling the shutter speed and the camera is controlling the aperture. This is important because there will be times that you want to use a particular shutter speed but your lens won't be able to accommodate your request.

For example, you might encounter this problem when shooting in low-light situations: if you are shooting a fast-moving subject that will blur at a shutter speed slower than 1/125 of a second but your lens's largest aperture is f/3.5, you might see that your aperture display in your viewfinder and the rear LCD panel will begin to blink. This is your warning that there won't be enough light available for the shot— due to the limitations of the lens—so your picture will be underexposed (too dark).

Another case where you might run into this situation is when you are shooting moving water. To get that look of silky, flowing water, it's usually necessary to use a shutter speed of at least 1/15 of a second. If your waterfall is in full sunlight, you may get that blinking aperture display once again because the lens you are using only closes down to f/22 at its smallest opening. In this instance, your camera is warning you that you will be overexposing your image (too light). There are workarounds for these problems, which we will discuss later (see Chapter 7), but it is important to know that there can be limitations when using Tv mode.


1. Turn your camera on and then turn the Mode dial to align the Tv with the indicator line.

2. Select your ISO by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera, and then turning the Main dial (the ISO selection will appear in the rear LCD panel).

3. Point the camera at your subject and then activate the camera meter by depressing the shutter button halfway.

4. View the exposure information in the bottom area of the viewfinder or by looking at the rear LCD panel.

5. While the meter is activated, use your index finger to roll the Main dial left and right to see the changed exposure values. Roll the dial to the right for faster shutter speeds and to the left for slower speeds.

photographer toss around. The mode, however, is one of my personal favorites, and I believe that it will quickly become one of yours, as well. Av, more commonly referred to as Aperture Priority mode, is also deemed a semiautomatic mode because it allows you to once again control one factor of exposure while the camera adjusts for the other.

Why, you may ask, is this one of my favorite modes? It's because the aperture of your lens dictates depth of field. Depth of field, along with composition, is a major factor in how you direct attention to what is important in your image. It is the controlling factor of how much area in your image is in focus. If you want to isolate a subject from the background, such as when shooting a portrait, you can use a large aperture to keep the focus on your subject and make both the foreground and background blurry. If you want to keep the entire scene sharply focused, such as with a landscape scene, then using a small aperture will render the greatest amount of depth of field possible.

• When shooting portraits or wildlife (Figure 4.7)

• When shooting most landscape photography (Figure 4.8)

• When shooting macro, or close-up, photography (Figure 4.9)

• When shooting architectural photography, which often benefits from a large depth of field (Figure 4.10)

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  • jennifer
    What is the blinking 9 on the canon eos screen?
    8 years ago
  • Pamela
    When to use shutter priority?
    7 years ago
  • doderic
    Why is my photo bluring canon 550d?
    8 years ago
  • azzeza
    How to use shutter priority on canon?
    7 years ago

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