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Why You Should Shoot In Aperture Priority?

Why You Should Shoot In Aperture Priority?

Why you should shoot in aperture priority mode Joel Nsadha photography for beginners tips tutorial national geographic.jpg

As you might already know, shutter priority (Av Mode) is my number one go to shooting mode. I find it to be the easiest mode to operate my camera in.

When I walk down the street photographing random people and moments, I use this mode almost all all the time. I have written about different shooting modes in this article here.  

Aperture Priority is basically a mode on your DSLR camera that lets you set what aperture you want to shoot at, and it will try and set a corresponding shutter speed.

Why shoot in Aperture Priority (Av mode) ?

why shoot aperture priority joel nsadha photography tutorial for beginners

1. Focus on the subject instead of the settings

In many cases you rarely have time to think about the perfect settings for every single shot. You see something about to happen and literally have about a second to compose and shoot. The last thing you want is to take half a minute trying to figure out what the best shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance would be.

If you are new to photography or just got a new DSLR camera, you probably find all the settings overwhelming and don’t know where to start.  I highly recommend to start with Aperture priority and spend the majority of your time practicing the art of anticipating things before they happen.

This will make more sense in the following point below.

why shoot in aperture priority mode joel nsadha photography national geographic tutorial for beginners

2. Choose a desired depth of field first.

Depth of field simply refers to a field of sharpness you have in your photograph. A wide depth of field simply means that you have a great degree of sharpness between your foreground and background objects. A shallow depth of field means that you have a smaller plane of sharpness in the image. Think of a portrait with a sharp subject and a very soft blurry background.

When I work, this is always one of the first things I think about when I look at a composition. I ask myself what my main subject is and how much depth of field I would like to use to tell the story of my subject.

3. Compensate for shutter speed

You have to keep in mind that based on what aperture you choose, the camera will set a shutter speed for you. Sometimes the shutter speed is too slow, which leads to motion blur. This is actually very easy to fix. You can turn down your exposure compensation and that will give you faster shutter speeds.  

Focusing your thoughts on the composition, the light and moment happening before you is more important than the mountain of setting on your camera.

4. If all fails, call F8

Not only is it true that many lenses have their sweet spot at f8 but world on the street is that lenses start to loose a bit of sharpness the farther you move away from f8. (Don’t quote me)

On a serious note however, I find that most general photos on the street will require a comfortable amount of depth or sharpness around f8. Not too much or too little sharpness.

As a beginner it is crucial to train your eye to see and capture things before your eyes. Start simple and build up. If you’d like to learn more about composition, check this article here.

Let me know what you think in a comment.


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