On this episode of the Creative Corner, I talk about the different camera modes.
Since I was little I’ve always had a camera in my hand, but I never knew how to use it out of auto mode. Two years ago I came across a flyer at the library for Free photography classes. I immediately signed up and attended my 1st class. The first class was about the exposure triangle, which was the creative corners previous episode (To learn about the exposure triangle click here). That day in class I was super confused, everything was so foreign to me and I had no idea there was so much to photography! The teacher then started talking about the camera modes and how the class objective was to get us all out of auto and into manual mode. Below are the 4 primary modes.
Auto mode: (Auto)
Auto tells your camera to use its best judgment to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash to take the best shot that it can. Basically the camera has full control of all the settings. Auto mode will give you nice results on a sunny day outdoors where you have plenty of ambient light. Once you get indoors with low light, that’s where you run into trouble or if you want to capture motion.
Manual Mode: (M)
In this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish. Of course you also need to have some idea of what you’re doing in manual mode and how the exposure triangle comes together to produce a properly exposed image. This is ultimately your goal, but it will take lots of practice, and I know that day by day I am starting to understand it more and more.
Aperture Priority: (A on Nikon / AV on Canon)
In this mode you choose the aperture and your camera will choose the other settings (shutter speed, white balance and ISO) to give you a balanced exposure. Aperture priority mode is useful when you’re looking to control the depth of field in a shot (usually a stationary object where you don’t need to control shutter speed). So depending on the type of photo and the depth of field rang you want you will adjust only your aperture. Keep an eye on your shutter speed to make sure you don’t get lower than 1/60 (hand held).
Shutter Priority: (S on Nikon / TV on Canon)
This mode is the opposite of aperture priority. Here you select the shutter speed and the camera will choose the other settings. You would use this mode for sports or fast moving subjects to freeze motion (fast shutter speed). Shutter priority can also be used to capture movement as a blur like waterfall, star trails or car headlights (slow shutter and tripod). In low light situations shutter priority is also recommended.
Program Mode: (P)
Program mode is like auto mode, but it gives you some control of the camera. Here you can set the flash, white balance and ISO and the camera will set the aperture and shutter speed for you. This mode is a great way to start your transition from auto to manual. Try it on a nice sunny day, set your ISO to about 400 and white balance to auto. If you image is to bright decrease your ISO, if it’s too dark increase your ISO. Just play with it and see what you get.
Well I hope this helps you out and motivates you to go out there and practice and learn how to fully take control of your camera. If this post/video helped you please share it and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out and leave a comment.
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