What is Aperture Priority Mode

Close Up of A Selection on Camera
A is for Aperture Priority

Believe it or not, the A on your cameras selection wheel does not stand for Awesome.  It stands for Aperture Priority mode.  That’s the mode where the camera selects the shutter speed depending on what conditions your trying to shoot in and you as the photographer get to choose your desired aperture, ISO, etc..  The S on the dial stands for Shutter Priority and, as you probably guessed, that is where the camera determines your aperture and you get to select the shutter speed.  We will focus on Shutter Priority in another article.  When do you use Aperture Priority mode?  Great question, Read on.

When To Use Aperture Priority Mode

The single best time to use this mode is when you’re trying to be creative with your depth of field.  We have all seen the pictures where the subject being shot in a photo is nice a crisp but the background is all blurred to put all the viewers focus on the subject.  It looks cool.  And if you remember from our article on how to blur a photos background, you’ll remember that you would open your aperture way up (something like f/1.4) before taking the picture.  In aperture priority mode, when you adjust your aperture, the camera will automagically adjust your shutter speed to compensate so that your exposure is still ideal.

Now if you want to take a landscape photo with everything in focus you would close your aperture (like f/2o’s) and the camera would compensate by adjusting your shutter speed a little slower.  Be careful!  When you are adjusting your aperture and your camera is magically adjusting the shutter speed always remember that once your shutter speed slows to below about 1/60th of a second that you’re liable to lose a little clarity in your pictures because of camera shake.  Use a tripod if this occurs and set your shutter to a timed release so that when you press the button you don’t inadvertently shake your camera.

Next time we will take a closer look at Shutter Priority, until then grab your camera and experiment with Aperture Priority and send your amazing pictures into Photo Journal for a chance to be featured on the site.
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