Moving towards manual
Whilst Program AE and the basic shooting modes (portrait, landscape, sport, etc.) are very convenient and give good results, they don’t let you put your own personality on your photographs. So try shutter-priority (Tv) and aperture-priority (Av) modes.
With Tv, you set the shutter speed and the camera selects a suitable aperture for correct exposure. A fast shutter speed, such as 1/250 second or 1/500 second, is good for ‘freezing’ movement, overcoming camera shake during the exposure. A slow shutter speed can introduce blur into a moving subject, giving the impression of speed.
With Av, you set the aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed. Aperture controls the depth-of-field, which is the area of the subject that appears sharp in the image. A wide aperture, such as f/4 or f/2.8, gives a limited depth-of-field; perfect for portraits so the face appears sharp, and the background out-of-focus. If you are shooting landscape then select a small aperture of f/16 or f/22.
Choosing between Tv and Av comes with experience so experiment and see what happens.
Make use of Live View
Live View is Canon’s name for the real-time image presentation on the LCD display of your camera. It is a standard feature of all current Canon digital cameras. In fact, a number of Digital IXUS and PowerShot models have done away with a traditional viewfinder completely. For EOS cameras, the viewfinder is vitally important – it is what makes them a true SLR.
Framing the image with the camera to your eye is simple and what you see is what you get. It also helps you to hold your camera more steadily, so camera shake is reduced. Live View on EOS cameras comes into its own when using the camera on a tripod, especially for close-up work or night photography.