Do you want to have more control over your exposures but are overwhelmed with shooting manually? The Aperture Priority setting is just what you need.
Aperture Priority is the second most used camera setting on my Canon 5D Mark II. My usual setting is Manual, second choice is Aperture Priority and my third most frequently used camera setting is Shutter Priority. The great thing about aperture priority is that it gives you more creative control than Auto while assisting you with the exposure. For that reason, it’s a great (and under utilized) tool for anyone who wants more control over their images but finds themselves overwhelmed with the manual camera setting.
What is Aperture Priority?
When shooting in aperture priority, you choose your aperture setting (f-stop) and the camera adjusts your shutter speed accordingly for a good exposure. By taking control of your aperture, you control the depth of field in your photograph.
How to Use Aperture Priority?
- When you want to soften or blur your background, chose a wide open aperture, such as f/2.8.
- When you want a crisp image, from foreground all the way through to the background, choose a small aperture, such as f/22.
- When you’re photographing a flat scene, chose an aperture in the middle of your range, such as f/8.
When not to use Aperture Priority?
If you’re shooting in extreme light, then you may not want to trust your in-camera meter to choose the property shutter speed for your exposure. Camera meters are designed to exposure for middle grey (of 18% grey). For example, if you were photographing snow with your in-camera meter, then your snow would look grey – 18% or middle grey, to be exact. In this case, you’d want to shoot on manual so that you could capture white snow. Other times when you may not want to rely on your in camera meter are in dark light, such as in a cave or bar.
If you’re shooting sports, action or motion, you also wouldn’t want to shoot with aperture priority. In those scenario’s you’d want to maintain control of your shutter speed. Shoot in shutter priority or manual mode, instead.