Digital camera modes allow photographers to control all of the elements of an exposure.
The camera automatically chooses the aperture and shutter speed (use if you aren’t yet confident in how to set your camera)
Shutter priority (S)
The camera automatically chooses the aperture and you manually set the shutter speed you want (use for moving objects)
Aperture priority (A)
The camera automatically chooses the shutter speed for you and you manually set the aperture you want (use to set what you want in focus i.e. if you take a picture of a person you may want to blur the background)
You take control over all camera settings.
Here’s three videos that will help you to understand what each of the modes on your camera does:
Think of your camera’s aperture as the pupil of an eye. The wider the pupil opens the more light it lets in.
Aperture is measured using the f-stop scale. On your camera you will notice an ‘f’ followed by a number. The number defines how wide the aperture is which affects exposure (how much light you are letting in) and ‘depth of field’ (how much focus/detail you want in your photograph).
The scale is as follows: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22.
The lower the f-stop the more light your camera lets in.
This may seem a bit confusing; surely the higher the f-stop the more light can get in? Well…no.
There’s a reason for this and it’s all down to math’s but i’ll let you watch the videos below as a video is worth a thousand words.
Large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field
In this picture of a Proboscis monkey that I took in Borneo I wanted to focus solely on the monkey’s face so I used a large aperture f2.8
And in this picture I took in El Chalten, South America I wanted to capture detail all the way through the picture and into the distance so I used f22