Tips: Which Shooting Mode should be used in DSLR

After a few of my friends have also picked interest in photography and posed several questions to me, I have decided to start a series on tips of using DSLR and as result this is the first in the series.

All DSLRs have creative modes for Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program Mode. In Canon cameras these are denoted by symbols M, Av, Tv, P and as M, A, S, P in Nikon cameras.

Program Mode (P) – While you are learning to get grips with a D-SLR, the point-and-shoot Program mode ensures you will be able to get great shots from day one because with Program mode, you are allowing the camera to take control of everything. However, unlike Full Auto mode, the Program mode allows you to set the white balance, ISO speed, AF mode, Metering mode and flash firing. The drawback with this mode is that this may actually bias the camera towards a faster shutter speed and this would be more appropriate for action shots (too slow shutter and you will get blurred images from subject or camera movements). In summary, this may be a mode for starting but isn’t the way to go with.

Shutter Priority (S or Tv) – Shutter Priority mode gives you the control to create movement effects such as frozen or blurred i.e. by using a long shutter speed will gives you the effect of blurring water or light trails and a fast shutter speed to freeze the water splash. You can select the shutter speed regardless the brightness level. The range of shutter speed varies depending on the camera model and make, however, generally it ranges from BULB (shutter will remain open as long as u keep the shutter fully pressed) to 30 seconds to 1/4000 of a second. The faster shutter speed will enable to freeze the action and slower shutter speed will give effects of flow, blurring of water, light trails.

Aperture Priority (A or Av) – Aperture Priority mode put you in control of the zone sharp focus (Depth of Field) in a shot and because it will always give you a usable exposure setting. Nevertheless, Aperture Priority mode isolates your main subject and create professional-looking portraits. Moreover, use this mode and a large aperture setting for a shallow depth-of-field and blurred background. Aperture Priority mode is dependent on the lens fitted and as a result, it will always give you a setting that can take a picture. Hence, use this mode as a ‘Default’ shooting mode, which is most recommended for everyday shots! Most of the times I keep Aperture mode as default on my camera. It enables you to control focus area in your shots, leading to greater control on your end shot. It’s widely useful when clicking portraits, landscapes, group photos and when you want to isolate the subject from background or foreground.

Manual Mode (M) – Manual mode gives you complete control over your exposure settings. It is necessary with studio flash, in low-light conditions or if you’re after a specific effect like ‘painting with light’, but it’s too slow to set-up for everyday use. Use this mode when you have grown in confidence. To master this mode will take considerable amount of time and practice. My suggestion is to move to this mode only after you are comfortable with previous listed modes.

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About Retvic Bisaria
Hi, I am Retvic Bisaria, a finance professional working for an US based IT offshoring and Outsourcing company. Besides a finance professional, I am a photography enthusiast and love visiting places.

2 Responses to Tips: Which Shooting Mode should be used in DSLR

  1. Pingback: Learning to Focus in Photography | pixelogist.me

  2. Pingback: Getting off Auto – Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes explained | Yasmin Ibrahim For Photography

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