- by Thomas "TJ" Gillespie
Why not just photograph in Program / Auto mode?
I know, you’re probably thinking the camera is a technology wizard and can adjust to the lighting conditions instantly and it will get the perfect exposure settings every time, right? Unfortunately, not every time. In fact, not very often.
Perfect exposure is subjective and what you like may not be what the camera manufacture thinks you’ll like. If you just wanted to point and shoot your camera to capture your photographic memories you wouldn’t have spent hundreds (maybe a thousand+) dollars and bought a DSLR camera, right? To start taking story telling photos you need to understand the basic settings of your DSLR camera. You absolutely need to know why and when to adjust the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Otherwise, your expensive DSLR camera is no better than the pocket point and shoot camera or the camera on your cell phone.
Program mode isn’t all that bad is it?
Absolutely not and some pro’s call P mode Professional mode! Sometimes the pro’s don’t even have time to adjust the camera in manual mode.
Rule number 1: taking pictures is about capturing memories. So, ALWAYS take the photo before the opportunity passes. But, as you learn about what makes a good picture great, you’ll want to take great pictures more often. You’ll know when to shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority or full manual. No matter what mode you shoot in, though, always have fun! Practice, practice, practice.
What is the difference between Program mode and Auto mode?
On some cameras there may be a (P) Program mode and an Auto mode. They are nearly the same in that the camera will set the aperture, shutter speed and, in some cameras, the ISO to get what it feels is the correct exposure. However, the difference is that in Program mode the camera will allow you to override it’s settings such as shutter speed or aperture whereas in Auto, no overrides are possible.
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Find me on:
- Great starter book
- Medium sized travel book. Beginner - Intermediate
- Capturing the Eye, Fall Colors and Unreal Blur (PDF)
- Portraits, Flowers and Silhouettes (PDF)
- Unusual Point of View, Glowing Light, Stopping Action and Showing Action (PDF)
- Ultimate Field Guide to Photography (PDF)