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How to Make Photography Easy With Aperture Priority Mode

Discovering how to use Aperture Priority is a revelation for many photographers, especially when you know a few extra tricks to make it do even more work for you. Learn how to make the most of this incredibly useful shooting mode.

Roman Fox has put together an in-depth guide to using Aperture Priority, with a particular focus on the versatility that it can afford you when photographing on the street.

Like Fox, I shot for years using Manual mode, completely ignorant of how I could let my camera do the heavy lifting for me, especially when combined with a few shortcuts and, in particular, minimum shutter speed. Something that I’ve found useful is to switch the behavior of my Auto Exposure Lock button (which I’ve actually mapped elsewhere) so that it toggles. This means that I tap it once to lock the exposure rather than having to hold it down. I find this gives me more flexibility, especially if I then want to fine-tune that exposure with the Exposure Compensation dial, though of course, you do have to remember to switch it off once you’ve finished using it!

What would you add to this video? Let us know in the comments below.

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11 Comments

Mark Smith's picture

Good tips, but I would add one thing: bracket your shots. That way you have a better chance of compensating for the vagaries of exposure in any situation.

Rob Mulligan's picture

Better yet, manual with auto ISO - you make the two most important choices, the camera makes the one least important choice. Why not write an article on that?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Manual with auto ISO is great in static lighting conditions, but, in changing lighting conditions AP is better yet.

Rob Mulligan's picture

If you "need" 1/1000th (or whatever), and you "need" f2.8 (or whatever), manual with auto ISO is another alternative. pick two, and the camera picks one. Easy... It works just fine in changing light conditions.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I'm sure it works fine, but, it's still not as fast. With AP, you can set your minimum shutter speed (1/125th or 1/250th or whatever) + Auto ISO, and only have to change the aperture. That's it. Easier still. :) If you are constantly walking into bright and dark areas, your shutter speed can adjust much much much faster than you can. I guarantee, it can go from 1/125th to 1/8000th before you can decide what shutter you need to be in.

Rob Mulligan's picture

I hope that 1/125th works for the sports shots you need. BTW... I understand how a camera works, my first was a Leica IIIc with a hand held meter but I've moved along with the times.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

This article was not just about sports. And, the video was actually about street photography. But, at any rate, if you need 1/1000th, then you would set your minimum shutter speed to 1/1000th. If the camera needs to go faster to maintain the exposure, it will auto-adjust the shutter speed accordingly.

Just so we're on the same page, when people say "minimum shutter speed", it's the automatic feature that tries to maintain the minimum shutter speed that you set. That's why there's almost no need for manual + Auto ISO.

Rob Mulligan's picture

I was developing film and printing in my basement at 12 years old, way before you were born, and shooting digital for 15 years, as well as making a living with photography still today. I don't need tutorials, thank you.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You need to relax. You developing and printing since you were 12 has nothing to do with newer camera features you weren't aware of. And, you're welcome.

Rob Mulligan's picture

My current work cameras are a pair of D500's, my current fun camera is a Z50. Like I said, I don't need tutorials.