Tips for using your digital SLR camera on MANUAL…It’s not as scary as you think!

Have you ever been confused by all the different modes on your camera? Maybe you understand what each one does, but you’re not sure which mode is best for what. Well, here’s a summary of the most commonly used modes for a range of photography:

Program (P)

Wedding Photography tipsWhen you shoot in Program (P) mode, the camera pretty much makes all the decisions for you by automatically choosing aperture and shutter speed. However, it will not pop up the flash (unless you tell it to).

What it’s good for: shooting on the fly.

I’ve never found a good use for program mode when shooting nature photos, but it’s great for street photography, when the perfect moment may only last a few seconds and you don’t have time to fool around with camera settings.

Aperture Priority (Av)

Wedding photography tipsWith Aperture Priority (Av) mode, you choose the aperture and the camera decides the shutter speed.

What it’s good for: landscapes and a a narrow depth of field

I shoot almost all my landscape photos in aperture priority mode. Here’s why: with landscapes it’s important to have much of your shot in sharp focus, so you’ll want to manually choose a small aperture.

What’s worked for me is to shoot in Av mode, with exposure bracketing at -1/+1, because when you shoot landscapes at sunrise/sunset you’ll often experience harsh shadows and strong contrast between elements that are sunlit and those that are shaded. You’ll want to take multiple exposures to blend them later in post-processing.

Getting that beautiful narrow point of focus of a ring or dress detail is all down to the aperture – have a play, you’ll love what you discover!

Shutter Priority (Tv)

Wedding Photography tipsWith Shutter Priority (Tv) mode, you choose the shutter speed and the camera decides the aperture.

What it’s good for: waterfalls, movement,

When a bride walks down the aisle, I don’t want to miss a thing or blur the image so usually set the camera either to full manual or shutter priority.

The camera might not always get the correct aperture you want for the occasion so make sure you fire off some test shots!

Manual (M)

Wedding Photography tips

With manual mode, you choose the aperture and the shutter speed. This mode gives you complete control of the camera.

What it’s good for: everything

I use manual for almost everything now (except landscapes, which I do in aperture priority mode). I’ve found that it’s most critical for photographing events such as weddings where you can be in environments with wildly differing light levels and sources.

I hope those tips might help you with your own Digital SLR and wedding photography in the future – be daring with the Manual mode – I promise you’ll grow to LOVE it!

Wedding Photography Melbourne

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