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Lorena Smalley

We have a very talented Photography Class here at our centre.  With the centre currently closed, we thought it would be fun to create a series for photographers, new and old to read!  Popular Science magazine has put together a fantastic series of articles to help you improve as a photographer…we are excited to share their articles with you!

What camera mode to use and when – Get by with a little help from your friend Auto Mode.

By Harry Guinness – May 18, 2020

Cameras are complicated machines designed to harness the laws of physics to create a permanent visual record of the wonders that surround us. And take selfies. To make things easier, these gadgets—whether digital or analog—have various modes that give you different degrees of control over exposure settings, and tell your camera what you’re trying to do.

If you just want to take a quick picture, use automatic mode—push the shutter and you’re done. On the other hand, if you want a great shot you’ll need all the control manual mode offers so you can dial in every setting.

But there are other modes too, and taking great photos means knowing what they do and when to use them.


What matters most

Shutter speed (measured in seconds or fractions of a second) and aperture (measured in f-stops) are your camera’s two most important settings. How they interact determines much of how an image looks.

A faster shutter speed freezes quick-moving objects, while a slower one lets your camera capture more light when it’s dark out. A wider aperture also lets in more light, but makes your background blurry, while a narrower one keeps everything in the frame in focus.

The problem is that for a well-exposed photo, your camera has to let in the correct amount of light. Too much and the photo will be pure white; too little and you won’t see anything amidst the dark shadows. This means shutter speed and aperture need to be in balance—the wider the aperture you use, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. If you want to use a really wide aperture like f/1.8, you’ll have to use a faster shutter speed than you would with a narrow aperture like f/22. Similarly, if you want to use a slow shutter speed, you can’t use a wide aperture unless it’s really dark out.

Because of the math involved with all photography, there are multiple pairs of shutter speeds and apertures that will produce the same exposure—in other words, the photos will be equally bright. For example, shooting at f/1.8 for 1/125th of a second is equivalent to shooting at f/11 for 1/8th of a second.

CLICK HERE to visit the Popular Science website to read the rest of this article!

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