1. If you’re relatively new to photography.
The auto modes will give you a great opportunity for exploring photography on several levels. It’s less to think about, and you have the freedom to concentrate on composing your photos and subjects that you wouldn’t have if you were concentrating on selecting shutter speeds and apertures. Photography takes training the eye to find good subjects and compose your shots. Shooting in auto modes gives you the opportunity to explore your camera and photography.
|Steller's Jay - Auto Portrait Mode|
When I first got my camera I used the auto modes for 6 months. I suggest you do the same. After several months of concentrating on composition and style my images were terrific. No one ever asked me if I was shooting using auto modes. A well composed photo is a well composed photo no matter what mode you’re in. And no one cares anyway!
2. You have an active subject.
Taking candid shots of kids, wildlife and pets can be a challenge; they tend to run, jump, or fly away. They move from sunlight to shade faster than you can change your camera settings. Shooting on an automatic mode can save the day. You’ll have a bunch of great photos and calm nerves.
Robin's Bath - Auto Sports/Action Mode
3. The terms: Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual make your eyes go glassy and your brain shut down.
Take your time, wait until YOU are comfortable and have time to move beyond the auto modes. It will happen when YOU are ready. All the great photographers had to start with the basics. Don't rush. Just don’t pick your son’s first birthday party as your day of camera exploration. Spend lots of time practicing the advanced modes and do lots of “throw away” test shooting. Practice, practice, practice. Read, read, read. Look at lots of other photographer’s work. Study your own work - what can be improved?
|Rainy Day Pine Cone - Aperture Priority Mode|
Shooting in any of the auto modes doesn’t make you “less” of a photographer. Disregard anyone who tells you otherwise. Each of us has a different learning curve, and everyone’s goals are not the same. Some folks are headed down the path to becoming professional photographers; some want the ability to take perfect photos of family, friends and vacations without much effort. There’s room for all of us.
So, give yourself, a break! Use the automatic modes as long as they’re working for you. When you’re ready to step it up with your photography, you will.
Look at my past blog posts for a refresher of the various auto modes or if you are new to this blog. Revisit Matt Considine's guest post Capturing A Satisfying Image for more tips and ideas.
Next blog post - composing your photos like a pro.
Keep On Shooting!