Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture Priority Mode

What is aperture priority mode? How do you use it? How does it work? Why would you want to choose this camera mode for shooting? Watch below to find out!

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Video Transcript

Hi! It’s Julie here, from Ultimate Photo Tips. For today’s two minute tip, I want to talk about using "aperture priority mode" on your camera. It’s one of the semi-automatic modes that gives you some creative control, but also lets the camera do some of the heavy lifting for you. I’m going to talk about how to use the mode, how it works, and most importantly why you would want to use this mode.

First the how-to: If you are a Nikon user, then it’s very simple. On most Nikon DSLRs, just turn your mode dial to "A" — A for aperture It’s just as easy for Canon, only your setting is labelled "Av." For other than the big two brands, there will be something similar; just check the manual for your camera. Even some of the so-called point and shoot cameras will let you activate aperture priority mode. You might just have to dig through the menus a bit instead of getting access through one of the main dials.

Now, how it works: Once you’ve set the camera to use this mode, your main control dial will change – you guessed it! – the aperture. Now here’s the key part. You get to pick the aperture you want, and then your camera will choose a corresponding shutter speed to give you a correct exposure, based on the available lighting conditions. So you pick the aperture, and your camera picks a shutter speed.

Now the "why." Why shoot in this particular mode, as opposed to any other? I use aperture priority mode a lot — any time I’m photographing things that don’t move. If I’m photographing things that MOVE, then shutter speed is important to me because it determines how that motion will be rendered. But if I’m shooting something that doesn’t move, then my creative control comes from the depth of field. And depth of field is directly controlled by aperture. If I want a shallow depth of field, with not much in focus, then I choose a wide aperture. If I want lots of depth of field — lots in focus from front to back — then I choose a small aperture. So when my subject isn’t moving, then aperture priority mode fits the way I think through my shot. My priority is choosing the best depth of field to tell my story. I let the camera worry about getting the exposure right.

Now, you do need to pay attention to the shutter speed that the camera chooses for you; if it gets longer than about 1/60 second, you won’t be able to hand-hold without the camera shaking and creating blur. In that case, you need to consider putting your camera on a tripod to keep it steady.

That’s your two minute tip for today! If you like this video, please like it, tweet it and share it with your friends. For more great tips, be sure to visit ultimate-photo-tips.com and sign up for my newsletter, where I share tips, ideas and inspiration that I don’t share anywhere else!

Happy shooting, and see you next time.

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