4 Photography Terms You Should Know

Camera capturing a landscape

Digital camera modes give photographers greater control over the parameters of exposure. Although specific modes automate camera exposure, others tend to allow photographers to manually control either a few or all of the exposure parameters. This topic is best discussed in terms of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. There are namely 4 digital camera modes found in cameras today:

1.      Shutter Priority

Usually indicated by (S) or (Tv), the shutter priority mode allows you to set the shutter speed manually. However, the camera picks the correct aperture based on the light intensity experienced by the lens. Thus, it’s best used to capture intentionally blurred images or for when the motion must be frozen. Allowing the camera to automate aperture enables it to control the depth of the field but significantly compromises your control over subject isolation.

2.      Aperture Priority

(Av) or (A) is the opposite of shutter priority. It gives you the authority to manually set a value for lens aperture, but the camera automates the shutter speed to expose the image properly. This setting gives you (i.e., the photographer) more control over subject isolation and depth of the field. With too much light, the camera automatically increases the shutter speed, whereas it decreases the shutter speed in low light. Still, there’s no potential risk of an over-or under-exposed image as the shutter speed fluctuated between 30 seconds and 1/4000th to 1/8000th of a second, depending on the camera.

Canon camera lens

3.      Program

Indicated by (P), this camera setting automates the aperture and shutter speed values based on the light passing through the lens. This is best suited for quick snapshots as the camera finds a balance between the two by increasing or decreasing the values as per light intensity. Generally, when pointed towards a bright area, the aperture increases alongside the shutter speed that accelerates to keep up. On the other hand, the aperture degrades to a lower number when pointed toward a dark area, but the shutter speed retains speediness. However, if the light is not enough, the aperture takes the lowest number, and the shutter speed decreases steadily to reach proper exposure.

4.      Manual

(M) or manual mode is used when the camera is unable to remain steady on the correct value for exposure, which is usually the case in extreme lighting conditions. With complete control over the shutter speed and aperture, you fully control the value for exposure. This is particularly useful when you wish for the values to stay consistent across multiple exposures, such as stitching a panorama.

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