Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You’ve been dabbling in photography for awhile now, but find yourself wanting to learn more.
You have a good handle on artistic elements of photography like composition, and even a solid understanding of technical matters like depth of field.
Yet, you have a fancy camera with all sorts of buttons, dials, and menus, many of which still perplex you.
You’re in the zone between being a beginner and an enthusiast photographer!
It’s an odd place to be because the chances are that you take some pretty good photos that make you proud, yet you feel like whenever you have your camera in hand that you just don’t quite know what to do next.
The key now is to develop an understanding of some advanced camera controls that will help you take your photography to the next level.
Let’s explore a few of these essential controls.
Aperture Priority Mode
For many beginners, all those lettered stops on the camera mode dial are confusing. Yet, these various modes can open up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of how you use your camera.
Aperture priority mode (indicated as A or AV on your camera’s dial) is the natural next step up from shooting in fully automatic mode.
In aperture priority, you get to determine the aperture and ISO while the camera handles the selection of the shutter speed.
That means that you get more creative control over how your photos look, but without all the stress and pressure of shooting in full manual. See how Wayne Moran explains aperture priority mode in the video below:
As you no doubt already know, aperture is one of the factors that influence depth of field, so shooting in aperture priority mode allows you to manipulate depth of field with greater ease.
If you want a nice, bokeh-filled background like in the image above, simply select a large aperture like f/2, a low ISO like 100 or 200, and fire away knowing that the camera has your back for the shutter speed.
If you want a large depth of field with everything in focus, as is common in landscape photography, select a small aperture like f/16, an ISO of around 400, and, again, start firing off shots knowing that the shutter speed will be automatically selected for you.
That doesn’t sound too scary, does it?