Using Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes on Your DSLR
Between Auto & Manual Modes
Using Your Camera’s Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority Settings
A Step Between Auto & Manual
As we discussed in an earlier presentation, Manual Mode
allows you to control all of your camera’s settings –
Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.
But you don’t always have to go that far. Thanks to your
camera’s Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes,
you can step between Auto and Manual modes,
controlling only two parts of the exposure trifecta.
A perfectly exposed image is ideally lit. An underexposed
image is too dark, while an overexposed image is too
light and can appear washed-out.
You can control exposure by controlling:
ISO – Your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light.
Aperture – The size of the shutter’s opening (f-number).
Shutter Speed – The time your shutter is open and able
to collect information about the scene.
Aperture Priority enables you to manually adjust your
camera’s Aperture (or f-number) and ISO. Based on
this, and the available light, your camera makes the
best guess on how to control shutter speed in order to
capture a properly-exposed image.
Using Aperture Priority
You might use Aperture Priority for:
Controlling depth of field.
Shooting in low light conditions.
Shutter Priority enables you to set your camera’s shutter speed. This
governs the time your camera has to gather information about the
scene. Shutter Priority is helpful when it comes to both freezing
action, and capturing blurred motion.
Using Shutter Priority
Use Shutter Priority to:
Freeze motion by using a fast shutter speed.
Blur motion, by using a slow shutter speed.
Note: When using slower shutter speeds, it’s imperative to use a tripod.
It’s almost impossible to keep your hands as steady as necessary
for the longer shutter speed times.
This is also true when making use of Aperture Priority to shoot in low light,
because your camera will manually adjust the shutter speed to make up for the
lack of light.
In both Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, you will set your
camera’s ISO, the number that controls it’s light sensitivity.
The higher the ISO, the higher the light sensitivity.
The lower the ISO, the lower the light sensitivity.
Note: ISO is extremely tricky. Increase it too much and your image can
be “noisy” or grainy. Set it too low and you increase the likelihood that it
will be underexposed.
Most newer DSLRs have guides to help you decide how to set the ISO.
A light meter is also a great tool for determining what ISO to use.
Light meters can also help you determine what shutter speed and aperture
You can switch your camera to Aperture Priority or Shutter
Priority, by turning the dial
on your camera to either
S (for Shutter Priority) or
A (for Aperture Priority).
As always, consult your
camera’s manual for
terminology and setting
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