Aperture Priority

Aperture Priority is where my camera sets most of my time these days unless I am shooting with a strobe (that’s another topic altogether).  I used to be a manual only type of photographer.  I did that because I wanted complete creative control over my exposure.  Then I realized that when you are in a priority mode whether it is shutter priority or aperture priority you still have complete creative control but with more options.  With exposure compensation you can make adjustment to your exposure even in a camera controlled mode.  I am sure you are already saying to yourself “but if you have to make adjustments isn’t that just like being in manual mode”.  The answer is yes and no.  Let’s look at why. 

  • What Aperture Priority Does.  Aperture priority allows you to set your aperture exactly where you want it to be and the camera changes the shutter speed to ensure a proper exposure.  Aperture is one of the greatest creative assets you have as a photographer which is why I use this mode most often.
  • Moving subjects or Changing Light.  If you are in a situation where your subject(s) are moving around a good bit or the light is changing being in aperture priority mode allows you to take photos quickly without stopping to make adjustments.  This is because as your subject moves into and out of different light the camera keeps the relative exposure by changing the shutter speed automatically.  This works too if the light itself is changing such as at sunset or sunrise. 
  • You can still make adjustments.  If you take a shot in aperture priority mode and are unhappy with what you see on your LCD screen and/or histogram you can dial in exposure compensation.  This allows you to make exposure adjustments and still be using the quick acting meter and cpu in your camera.  This way if the light varies just a bit the camera can compensate rapidly for the changes.

The next time you are out give Aperture Priority a shot and see what you think.  I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.