So, you have made the decision that you are ready to upgrade your point and shoot for an entry- mid level SLR but you have no idea where to begin. You’re confident that you understand subject placement (rule of thirds), you have mastered finding the best angles to create a clutter free background and have adapted to understanding available light and how to work it to your best advantage. If that sounds like where you are at in your photography journey, get ready to embark on a whole new world of beyond auto shoot mode.
Although most cameras offer several shooting modes, there are three, which lend themselves to the professionals – AP (Aperture Priority), SP (Shutter Priority) and B (Bulb). You may be asking yourself, that is great that I know what the abbreviations stand for, but when do I use them and what do they do. In this column I am going to attempt to simplify each of the three modes.
In AP mode the camera selects the correct shutter speed for a properly exposed image once you have selected your f-stop. This is the choice mode when you want to control your depth of field. A small aperture or larger f-stop is good for photographing landscapes where the goal is to keep everything in the frame in focus. On the flip side, a large aperture or smaller f-stop is preferred when shooting portraits, as this creates a sharp subject and a blurred background. When exploring this mode it is recommended that you shoot the subject on various F stops, so that when you download the images you can determine the look you want to achieve the next time you shoot a similar subject.
If you are not sure what f-stop you should be using then I recommend selecting SP mode. This mode picks the best f-stop according to your selected shutter speed and is primarily used for shooting subjects in motion. A slow shutter speed with produce an object in motion with artistic blur whereas a fast shutter speed with freeze motion, however it is all dependent on how fast the subject is travelling and how far away you are from the subject. If you are shooting a person riding a bicycle you might want to start with a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second, in comparison to a racing bike where a good shutter speed would start with 1/2000 of a second. These examples are merely guidelines and the only way to truly determine if you have captured the action is to review your shot on your LCD monitor and enlarge to make certain that the edges are not blurred. If they are, up your shutter speed and reshoot.
The third mode that is frequently used by the professionals is B mode. This is an excellent option for capturing night scenes, fireworks and low light conditions. Bulb mode is a time exposure and allows the shooter the option of how long they want to hold the shutter open by pressing and holding the button. For long shutter speeds it is highly recommended that you use a tripod and a remote or cable release trigger to avoid camera shake and ensure a blur-free photograph.
After mastering these modes, which you will continue to use as you gain experience and confidence the next lesson is full manual mode. You have the choice to select everything from the shutter speed and f-stop to the ISO and white balance. Your creativity can go on an incredible journey when you explore variations of these options together with a variety of subjects.
Until next time Happy Clicking!Tags: AP, ISO, LCD, new, SLR, SP, work