Guide To Choosing Exposure Mode

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Exposure mode is one of the most important settings on a camera, allowing you to choose the setting that suits the subject or situation you want to shoot. Common exposure modes found on DSLRs or compact cameras are:

  • P (Program)
  • A / Av (Aperture Priority)
  • S / Tv (Shutter Priority)
  • M (Manual)

In addition to the above modes, you can notice that there are exposure modes that have small icons (scene mode) which I will not explain why they are all automatic modes.

Each exposure mode has its own uses, as I said earlier, depending on the subject or situation.

If you read on the web or other photography blogs, you can do an essay, a long explanation. But in this blog I try to summarize so that you can easily understand. Shortened story:


If you use a DSLR, it is forbidden to use this mode, thousands of cameras but use auto, it is better to use a regular digital camera. In auto mode, all settings will be controlled by the camera, you can not adjust any settings.

P (Programmable)

Just like auto, the camera will set aperture and shutter speed automatically, the difference is in this mode, you can still value the exposure and other settings

A / Av (Aperture Priority)

You can adjust the aperture at will and the camera will adjust the shutter speed automatically. For portraits, tick the value of F (eg: f1.8, f2.8) to get a bokeh effect, for landscapes, raise the value of F (f9, f10) so that all objects are focused. Usually otai-otai use this mode in most shots of people.

S / Tv (Shutter Priority)

As opposed to A mode, S mode allows you to control the shutter speed and aperture controlled by the camera automatically. Usually used in “sport photography” where we want to “freeze” movement.

M (Manual)

In manual mode, you can control both shutter speed and aperture. Suitable for use in constant light conditions such as in the studio. Not so practical to use outdoors as the light is constantly changing.

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