Don't get me wrong, I like program mode. I like my 24-85mm zoom lens too, but I don't want to use it for every shot I take. Sometimes I want a different look than what that lens can provide. The same goes for program mode.
In this week's podcast I discuss some of the situations where I prefer to use shutter priority, aperture priority, and manual exposure modes. Why? Because those modes give me a little more control in those situations so I can get exactly the shot I want. Here are a few examples.
This is a great mode for controlling depth of field. Aperture priority lets you set the f-stop, then the camera sets the corresponding shutter speed to make a good exposure. I like to use this mode for portraits with soft backgrounds (f-2, f-2.8) and for landscapes with extended depth of field (f-16, f-22).
When I need to freeze action, this is my choice. Shutter priority lets you set the shutter speed and the camera sets the correct aperture for you. I use shutter priority for outdoor sports (1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000) and to freeze moving water in its tracks (1/250, 1/500). If I want moving water to have a flowing, angel hair like appearance, then I slow the shutter speed way down (1 second, 2 seconds).
Manual Mode This mode is the choice when I want complete control over both the shutter and aperture settings. My favorite use for manual mode is indoor flash photography at wedding receptions. I set the aperture to f-5.6 and the shutter speed to 1/30. This allows me to capture the ambient light in the surrounding environment so my subjects aren't illuminated against a black background.
Listen to the Podcast
Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Life Beyond Program Mode." You can download the podcast here (30 minutes).