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5 reasons to think of aperture priority over manual mode

The post 5 reasons to consider aperture priority beyond manual mode first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by John McIntire.

Choosing the aperture priority mode in difficult lighting situations can free your mind from the things that matter most to the photo, such as timing, instead of messing around with the buttons to get the same result.

There is a lot to be said for the manual exposure mode on your camera. When you start, you learn how to shoot in a manual shot and you learn the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. This ensures that you learn what the camera does every time you take a shot. It also forms the basis for you to take what you learn about exposure and correct for the inability of the camera to cope with extreme exposure situations and to make creative choices for your images.

However, after you've learned the ins and outs of manual mode, there are a few reasons why you might want to remember your hard-to-learn skill for the Aperture Priority mode. This article outlines five of these reasons and explains what the Aperture Priority mode can offer you and your photography in some situations.

1. Aperture priority does the same job as manual mode

In manual mode, the meter in your camera takes a measurement based on your set ISO (if you do not use automatic ISO). There is a good chance that you have chosen a conscious aperture setting before you even lifted the camera. To get your exposure, you now have to adjust the shutter speed so that the indicator on your camera matches what the meter dictates, is a correct exposure.

Aperture priority does exactly the same except that the camera sets the shutter speed for you.

In cases where you trust the light meter of your camera (let's be honest, that's usually), this results in the same exposure every time, whether you're shooting in manual mode or aperture priority mode.

What aperture priority mode works is that you do not have to set the shutter speed yourself. It makes you free to concentrate on things like composition without constantly having to keep an eye on the meter.

Exposure to the meter in manual mode resulted in an exposure of f / 11 at 1/50 of a second.

Exposing the scene in aperture-priority mode only a second later resulted in exactly the same exposure. f / 11 at 1/50 of a second.

In situations where you need to compensate for dark or light subjects, the aperture priority mode still gives you full manual control over exposure through exposure compensation. Do you take photos of a dark subject like a black dog? Just call exposure compensation once in -1 and keep shooting without constantly adjusting your settings to achieve the same result. Do you take pictures of a downy white dog? Again the same. This time, add +1 exposure compensation stop and leave.

With dark subjects you have to underexpose them. In the Aperture priority mode, you can easily do this with exposure compensation. Once you turn on exposure compensation, you are ready to change until it needs to be changed again. For light-colored subjects, you must overexpose them to maintain the correct exposure.

High contrast subjects, such as the white surface of this sheep, directly illuminated by the setting sun, should also be underexposed by at least a few stops.

The only difference between the aperture priority mode and the manual mode in these circumstances is that you will spend more time taking the photos than the buttons on your camera.

For the sake of clarity, I am not arguing not to learn how to use manual mode. For the best results it is important that you understand how your camera works in relation to exposure. Using manual mode is the best and fastest way to do that. So, please do not completely skip the manual. However, once you are downstairs, using other modes in addition to your exposure knowledge and how it works will help you and your photos in the long run.

2. Speed

The background lighting in this image created an extremely high contrast situation. By opting for -3 stops exposure compensation, I was able to ensure that the problems in a series of images were treated with one turn of the button.

As mentioned earlier, using the aperture priority reduces the amount of time you spend looking at the camera's meter. Because the camera now sets the shutter speed for you, the only thing you need to worry about in most situations is exposure compensation. After setting your camera to aperture priority mode, you can adjust the exposure compensation settings with just one finger (on all modern cameras ' s I used).

Need to be underexposed by a stop? Simply turn the one (relevant) watch face three times. Done.

The only other thing you need to worry about is whether you have a desire or want to change your ISO. But that will be more unusual.

3. Aperture priority still gives full manual operation

At the risk of repeating myself, but I believe that this point really needs to be driven home. With the Aperture Priority mode, you have full manual control over your exposure. It is not automatic or automatic mode, in no way more than it allows the camera to set the shutter speed based on the meter you are already using. At any time in aperture priority mode, you still have full manual input on the exposure that the camera is recording. You just have fewer physical steps to continue before you get there.

4. Helps to create a constant exposure with changing light conditions

A scenario in which the Aperture Priority mode really shines is to change the lighting conditions. For example, if you are on a windy and cloudy day, the light levels may change constantly. In Aperture Priority mode, your camera changes the shutter speed for the correct exposure (taking into account any exposure compensation that you may have set). This way you can ensure that all images in a series are displayed consistently. This is especially useful if you take a series of images to attach to a panorama later.

When you create a series of images for a panorama, aperture priority can help to ensure consistent exposure throughout the frames.

If you record this series in manual mode, you must constantly look at the meter and change your shutter speed settings as required. This is not a big deal, but if you use the aperture priority mode, you can achieve the same results without having to hold the settings.

At sunset the light changes quickly. Add a moving subject to that high-contrast scene and you have a nightmare for exposure. Aperture priority can help to maintain fairly consistent exposure between frames.

This is not perfect and extreme shifts in lighting can have drastic consequences for your images and your exposure. You still have to pay attention to the details to make sure nothing goes wrong. However, it works fine on normal days.

5. Flash with TTL and HSS switched on

The use of aperture priority with flashing TTL and HSS flashes is perhaps the perfect match.

If you use a flash with TTL (via the lens measurement) and HSS (High-Speed ​​Sync) switched on, there is a good chance that you will still work with a fixed aperture.

Remember that the shutter speed does not affect the flash exposure, only the exposure of the environment. The Aperture Priority mode gives you the freedom to set the desired aperture and then lets the camera do whatever it takes to fit the meter.

You not only have full control over the exposure compensation for the environment, but you also have full control over the exposure compensation with the flash.

Again, this allows you to get the exposure where you want it once, and then you are free to focus on the actual photos.

That is it

Aperture priority can be a fantastic tool for any photographer. At the end of the day it does exactly the same as the manual mode. It simply removes a number of physical steps that you have to go through in manual mode to set the exposure.

That said, like just about everything in photography, it's not perfect, and it won't always be a solution.

If you are only one thing away from this article, let it be this way: only shooting in manual mode does not make you a better photographer. Aperture priority and shutter priority modes do exactly the same, only in a different way. Use the method that works for the situation you are in.

Are you using aperture or shutter priority? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

5 reasons to think of aperture priority over manual mode

The post 5 reasons to consider aperture priority beyond manual mode first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by John McIntire.

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