When you first start with photography, the first thing you will notice on your camera among all the different settings will be the different shooting modes.
In this article, we will explore together the different modes, and build your skills all the way up to mastering the full manual mode.
Full Auto will be the first mode you will start shooting at. All the new cameras right out of the box will be set on this mode, and when you first start with photography, this will be for sure the mode you will be shooting at.
The main drawback of shooting in Full Auto is that you don’t have any control over the camera itself. The camera will decide based on its sensors what it thinks the best settings are for the scene you are shooting. It will basically be, as if you would be shooting with the camera on the back of your smartphone, maybe even worst. You don’t know yet how to control the movement and how to get the best out of your equipment, and as a complete beginner, it’s completely normal and fine.
P = Program
Once you start to understand some of the basics about photography, you will start to explore, and to get a bit more flexibility out of the camera you will need to start shooting in P.
The “P” stands for Program, and it will allow you to have access to some of the amazing features of your camera. The camera will still be doing most of the work, but you will start to have some control over the settings based on the brand of your camera.
I suggest you start as soon as possible to shoot at least in this mode so as to unlock a bit more of creativity and gain some more knowledge before you take another step towards the Full Manual mode.
S = Shutter Priority
When you have been shooting in the “P” mode for a while (maybe a couple of months), you will for sure want to explore something new.
The first real step towards pro photography will be the “Shutter Priority” mode.
Shooting in this mode will for sure make you feel more a professional photographer (you still have a long way to go, but you are on the right path), you will gain more control over your camera and fully have control over the shutter speed.
The camera will still take some key decisions for you, setting the aperture value for you. But by starting with shutter priority and analyzing each shot you will start to understand also how the aperture of your camera work.
A = Aperture Priority
Once you have mastered the “Shutter Priority” mode, you are almost there. You are only one step from achieving your dream of playing in the professional league shooting in Full Auto mode, but first, you will need to understand and learn to master the “Aperture Priority” mode.
The Aperture mode, is basically the opposite of the Shutter Priority mode, letting you decide the best aperture for the shot you want to get, deciding the shutter speed for you.
It will for sure take a while, but with some practice and some time (3 to 6 months), you will be soon able to take the last step on the stairway up to Full Manual mode.
M = Full Manual Mode
Finally, after some time you have reached the top, this doesn’t mean that you are a fully professional photographer yet, but you have made it all the way up to the “Full Manual” mode.
The name is self-explanatory, you will have full control over both the Shutter and the Aperture, so the camera will only do what you tell it to do, it will still be able to automatically set the ISO and the White balance, but if you desire, you can turn also those setting to manual and you will have full control over the settings.
With “Full Manual” mode it will take you a lot of practice, but you will also be able to realize pictures you didn’t think were possible.
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