Photography Terms You Should Know: Aperture Priority

My great big list of important photography terms.As part of my goal to share knowledge and free photography resources here is a photography term you should know:

Aperture Priority

What is aperture priority? It's a camera setting, (an exposure mode) that allows you to control the aperture. You set your aperture and allow the camera to adjusts other exposure settings based on it's light meter readings.

Aperture priority is helpful if you want to control your depth of field. This is especially true if you are in a situation where you don't have the time or experience to quickly readjust. Manually controlling all of your exposure settings is not easy. You can set your aperture and rely on your camera to change your other settings with this mode. You can also override them with exposure compensation which I explain a bit about in this article.

Semi-Automatic Exposure Settings

Aperture priority along with shutter priority is one of our semi-automatic exposure modes. Your camera may have them on a dial or you may have to look at your menu. If you have Nikon look for A or AP. Canon owners look for Ae or Av. If you're a Sony owner then look for the A on the dial or in your menu. Similarly if you own any other camera check your camera manufacturer's website to find out how to put your camera in this mode.

Setting your aperture in Aperture Priority

To set your aperture in aperture priority mode you need to turn the dial found near your shutter release button. That is the button you press down to take a photo. This is where you set your aperture on most cameras. If that doesn't work for you look on Youtube.

When To Use Aperture Priority

Knowing when to use aperture priority is helpful. Because our aperture helps control our depth of field we can choose this mode to make sure we have the depth of field we want. Get everything you want in focus sharp and the stuff you don't blurry by setting your aperture yourself.

Here are a few reasons to use this mode. If you're photographing portraits and want the background out of focus but the person sharp set a wide open aperture. If you're photographing a group of people adjust your aperture if they're not in one straight line. If you're photographing landscapes make sure exactly what you want in focus is sharp.

More photography terms you should know

Look for my guide to important photography terms dropping soon! Do you have a photography term that you'd like to know more about? Contact me and ask me to feature it on the list. Be sure to check out my full list of free photography resources to help you improve your knowledge of photography.

More about Aperture Priority

Want to know more about aperture priority? Check out the Wikipedia page on aperture priority.

October 12, 2022 | Don Orkoskey
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