Got a digital SLR? Great! Confused about what P, Tv, Av, M, A-DEP stand for? Don’t worry, you can ignore most of these. Here are the 10% of settings you need to know about.

Before we dive into the exact camera settings you need, I’ll admit it – I love Canon. Because of this, the settings lingo is skewed towards Canon, but for anyone using a Nikon, Panasonic or Sony don’t worry, just remember:

  • Tv (Time Value) for Canon  = S (Shutter Priority ) for other camera makes
  • Av Button (Aperture value) for Canon = Ev Button (Exposure value) for other makes

Got it? Good! Now grab your DSLR and let’s us continue…

First up, a quick lesson in aperture, light and exposure

Your camera contains something called an aperture, think of this as a water pipe. A wide pipe with a large diameter will allow a lot of water through in a short time, a thin pipe with a small diameter will take the same amount of water longer to go through.

The same principle applies to light. To get the perfect shot you need just the right amount of light passing through the aperture to be exposed to the camera sensor. You control how long this takes.

Getting the light intake just right is your goal. Do this by using a combination of the Tv (or S) setting, and the Av (or Ev) button.

Time value (Tv)  – use this for internal shots

Spin the settings wheel to Tv (or S), then use the settings cog to adjust the shutter speed to 1/5 (one-fifth of a second).

Most internal shots can be taken with this setting. Be aware, a Tv of 1/5 is actually quite a long time for the light to flood into the camera so you need a steady hand to prevent the image from blurring.

Aperture value (Av) button – us this to fine-tune the exposure for internal shots

This button allows you to quickly underexpose (darken) or overexpose (brighten) your image. It’s very handy, I use it a lot to tweak the amount of light entering the camera. If you’re on the fence about throwing your camera out of the nearest window because you can’t take a decent shot, wait, take a deep breath, then do this:

  1. Keep the settings wheel on Tv (or S).
  2. If the shot is too dark, press the Av (Ev) button and spin the cog (NOT the settings wheel) up towards +2.
  3. If the shot is too light, press the Av (Ev) button and spin the cog (NOT the settings wheel) down towards -2.

It’s a bit of trial and error until you get it just right but if you’re still not happy with how it looks on the camera screen, don’t get angry! It happens all the time.

There have been loads of times when I have thought “sod it that’ll do, it’s impossible to shoot this stupid room, damn photons!” For these troublesome images, you have to open a can of digital whoop-ass on them in the form of Adobe Lightroom.

It’s incredible the difference post production can make on under exposed (darker) images. We can help with the whoop ass part if you like.

Landscape mode – use this for external shots

For the external shots of the house and garden, the best setting to use is Landscape mode.

Spin the settings wheel to the icon of the mountain. This setting will naturally enhance the greens and blues of the grass and sky. It also keeps both near and far objects in sharp focus.

Nothing else is required, external shots are dead easy (unless it’s really sunny, but that’s another story).

Want more tips on your camera settings?

To learn more about your camera and how to take photos that stand out on Rightmove and get more click-throughs, download a FREE copy of our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography. It’s packed full of simple tips that loads of our clients use to help them take sensational shots.

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Alex Stretton