What Mode Do You Shoot in Most? [POLL]

What Mode Do You Shoot in Most? [POLL]


What mode do you shoot most of your photos in?

We’ve run this poll previously a couple of years back and I’ll be interested to hear whether the results have changed at all in that time.

There’s no right or wrong and there’s no mode that you should feel embarrassed about – we’re all at different levels and use our cameras in different ways.

What Mode Do You Shoot in Most?

View Results

For the record – I tend to shoot most in Aperture Priority mode. I switch between modes a fair bit but as I tend to shoot wide open and love throwing the background out of focus it makes sense to me to start in that mode.

Once you’ve voted tell us about why you shoot in the mode that you do – I would love to hear your insights!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Mark August 3, 2013 11:08 pm

    90% of the time it's M for me. If you understand your camera well enough, there's little reason to shoot otherwise; greater, faster creative control. No need to turn the dial to one of the priority modes when you've got your thumb on the aperture wheel and your index finger on the shutter speed.

    The only time I'll choose a priority mode is when the light is changing very quickly. For example, photographing a cyclist riding through sunlight into shade in a split second.

    If you are shooting in P or Auto, you might as well just shoot with your iPhone. Same thing.

  • Paul March 6, 2012 11:26 pm

    Oh, I forgot to add............... for the first dance it's M - dragging tye shutter with min amount of flash.

  • Paul March 6, 2012 11:25 pm

    As a wedding photog, it's a mix - generally SP inside the venue and AP outside :)

  • Chris M January 14, 2012 05:28 am

    I never wanted to get stuck in Auto mode and so learned the basics of aperture, shutter speed and ISO and went straight into Aperture and Shutter priority modes. For ages i was scared of Manual. Then, a friend forced me to do a photo walk only using Manual and i realised how much extra control it gave you. The meter isn't always right....
    I would thoroughly recommend starting using Aperture priority mode (for depth of field control) and Shutter priority mode for movement. Then once you are comfortable with that, Manual is easy as pie!

  • shaad December 26, 2011 08:42 pm

    i use mostly Manual. Its easy to get wat we need

  • steve Fraser November 27, 2011 06:50 pm

    Well I suppose I spent an extra $1000 for a camera that had a manul setting so I may as well use the thing! :)

  • Naik November 14, 2011 10:44 pm

    Thanks for all for the great inputs, as a new commer I am a bit afraid of loosing some shots therefore I usually use AV but constructive comments makes me put some efforts of TV and also M. Once again thanks

  • Mike November 13, 2011 08:25 am

    As an amateur I frequently question my tactics. I have more self-confidence now because before, I was afraid that I was over using aperture mode. Thanks for the confidence booster.

  • D J Riccomini November 10, 2011 01:18 pm

    I shoot in automatic because most of my pictures are of my grandson's soccer games. At least 400 shots per game.

  • jane November 9, 2011 09:12 pm

    tv mode because i take loads of sport or concert photos... :-)

  • John Smith November 9, 2011 03:17 pm

    Its all still real new to me so I'm using manual mode to try and learn.

  • Lois Bryan November 9, 2011 01:50 am

    I tend to start out in AP. I say "start out in" as I then usually switch over to manual (as long as the subject stays put) to fine tune.

  • Carlos November 9, 2011 01:47 am

    Right now, I tend to shoot more in Manual mode, mainly because I want to really learn the relation between Aperture / Shutter Speed / ISO. But there are times when I need a fast picture either because I don't have time to prepare, or because I want to capture the moment right away without time to prepare... for those times, I tend to shoot in Auto, although with most people shooting in Aperture mode, I will give it a try and see how it works out.

  • LydiaB November 9, 2011 01:41 am

    I shoot in Aperature Priority because I really struggle with the maths when choosing a shutter speed! :)

  • Dave November 8, 2011 11:29 pm

    what i forgot to say was i shot in manual

  • Dave November 8, 2011 11:27 pm

    For me it all started 2 years ago now, when a friend said " its the only way to learn your camera " so now when i shift to any other mode i fell i'm cheating myself : ( Think i need to make a stand

  • naftoli November 8, 2011 06:07 am

    ANYONE WHO USES ANYTHING BUT AP OR M OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND PHOTOGRAPHY AND THEIR CAMERA!! i use AP outdoors for sports wildlife whatever often using auto iso thereby not allowing the shutterspeed to fall below a speed which i specify, and for weddings and studio with flash its of course only manual, the only time i ever use Sp is if i need a specific low shutter speed for effect like a 1/60 of a second to blur rain so it appears natural, or a 1/15 of a second to pan with a moving subject, even then i would often use AP first and just close down my aperture.

  • Kiel November 8, 2011 05:08 am

    I'm a BRAND NEW DSLR photographer. Only ever used point-and-shoot digital cameras. I shoot in full manual mode so that I can have control and start to figure out what changes result in what. I've taken the time to look at guides on what happens when I increase F numbers, ISo, etc. but I need to DO it to learn it and get those heart-breaking "this is going to be a perfect shot" only to be ruined by too low an ISO, too fast a shot, etc. I'd like that to happen when I'm taking exploration shots and test shots over times I TRULY want it to be exactly how I imagined. I'm still working on it, but I think shooting in manual for a while has helped me pick things up faster. I'll eventually switch to Aperture Priority mode once I'm comfortable completely w/ manual.

  • Lewis November 8, 2011 03:40 am

    I find manual gives me the best consistency. I never really tried aperture priority or shutter priority as I never really figured out how to adjust my exposure compensation. I'd rather compensate manually anyway.

  • Valerie November 7, 2011 11:27 pm

    I've gone full on manual for most things and I love it!

  • Pavol Timko November 7, 2011 06:43 pm

    Most of the time I shoot in aperture mode but I always check what speed and ISO is offered by camera. If it sets values I would use then I take it. If not I switch to manual mode. In about 20% of cases I use speed priority and again I check what is offered.
    I have always an idea what do I want and I keep using parameters from camera only if it fits to my expectation. If not then I do manual adjustment. Then I always check histogram to be sure.

  • Rick November 7, 2011 06:16 pm

    This is a dumb question: it depends entirely on what you are shooting: e.g. for landscapes it would be aperture priority, but for wild life it might be speed priority, and for twilight shote with fill flash it might well be Manual.

  • Tony November 7, 2011 05:52 pm

    This sure is a confusing world! Everybody I talk to offers a different perspective and approach to their photography, but a common theme does seem to appear. Photographers are cool people and willing to offer advice but ultimately it comes down to what subjects light your candle, google, google advice and get out there and make lots of mistakes and in the middle somewhere you will find yourself. Remember, there is no wrong or right, just inspiration, dedication and a desire to achieve, oh yes and lots of money to burn lol

  • alaincorpuz November 7, 2011 04:58 pm

    I shoot at Shutter priority mode so as to make sure that the actions are usually frozen then setting my lowest possible ISO get a higher quality image and so that the aperture will most likely to set itself to the widest setting.

  • Leroy Skalstad November 7, 2011 04:29 pm

    I shoot a lot of portrature on the street. These are slow and relaxed sessions where I comunicate with the subject and work technically at the same time. I use an Expodisc for custom WB and incident light readings and use these settings on manual mode for best control

  • karen November 7, 2011 02:32 pm

    I use AP most of the time as I also love shallow DOF and nice bokeh. A lot of my shots are close ups of my dogs, children and babies, flowers, birds, bugs so the shallow DoF comes in handy. Occasionally I will use SP or Program modes, only very rarely using automatic, if I am in a super hurry and just need a "snapshot" photo for record keeping of some sort.

  • Ed Fitzgerald November 7, 2011 02:01 pm

    Aperture first if I'm concerned about DOF then Shutter if I need to show movement or stop it.

  • Steve Felber November 7, 2011 12:22 pm

    I shoot almost exclusively in Manual Mode. When not in Manual, I go to Aperture Priority.
    I like Manual Mode because it's fast and easy to make adjustments. I change Aperture with the front wheel of the camera, and Shutter Speed with the back wheel. This makes if very easy to change DOF or to add or subtract exposure with the back wheel....no trying to find the Compensation button!

  • JT November 7, 2011 11:09 am

    I shoot primarily in Aperture Priority particularly in flower shots and wildlife. Landscapes I'll usually shoot in Manual.

  • Kevin November 7, 2011 11:07 am

    I shoot a lot of action, so shutter priority to avoid blur.

  • Steve Panton November 7, 2011 09:49 am

    I shoot >90% in AP mode due to the narrow DOF. I like the subject to pop and I also like to have the speed of catching the candid shots. It is important to remember that in AP mode you are not only controlling the DOF but also the aperture size. On bright sunny days a low F-stop may wash out the shot.

  • Ramesh November 7, 2011 09:45 am

    I used to shoot quite a bit in AP mode, but have recently moved more to manual mode. although manual mode does require more patience and sometimes getting the correct setting for the shoot i want, i like that fact that i can have more control over the overall capture. i do tend to go back to AP mode if i need to shoot in rapid succession, and only require F Stop adjustments.

  • Linda November 7, 2011 08:22 am

    I shoot mostly flowers with a macro lense. I can't always control the background so I throw it out of focus; it also helps to isolate and accentuate the flower. Love the results...can't get enough of flowers! This technique is almost like painting, especially for someone who has limited abilities to draw and paint.

  • Barbara R November 7, 2011 08:18 am

    Because I bracket EVERYTHING, and aperture is best for this.

  • Deejay November 7, 2011 07:50 am

    Leave aperture priority set on lenses for convenience - I like to have some control over DoF - but will change this depending upon the subject and available time for the shot - if shot is a 'chance' event and time is limited then I am likely to leave in AV, where there is a more structured shot then I will experiment with other modes especially TV mode. I'm not adverse to using any of the creative modes including manual in the appropriate situations. ps. Very much enjoy the blogs etc. , I find it rewarding, challenging and educational to read/see others work and methodology - thanks and keep up the good work

  • Paul Furniss November 7, 2011 06:15 am

    I almost always shoot in manual, though do use aperture priority,.
    Shooting in Manual has to be the best for helping to straighten out that steep learning curve and once you are used to it then you make all the decisions, I like to slightly underexpose to keep all the juicy texture, (you can always bring out detail from shadows in post processing but if its blown you cant get it back.) Aperture priority when time is of the essence.
    (I'm not saying I'm right, I am experimenting.)

  • Bob Kerr November 7, 2011 05:49 am

    I like the scene modes because what ever environment I'm in I can esily set up the right mode. Some day I wil experiment with other modes.

  • Pradipta November 7, 2011 02:10 am

    The poll should include a TAv option for those who have a camera that provide this advanced option which allows the camera to select the ISO when A and T are fixed. Most useful because, while DoF and camera shake cannot be fixed, noise can be managed and even be used creatively in post processing!

  • John B. November 7, 2011 02:06 am

    I went into Rehoboth Beach, yesterday, to shoot photos of a small event: "Occupy Rehoboth." It's a beach town and I knew there would be no parking spaces, so I planned on driving down to the bandstand and shooting from my truck as I circled around. It meant having to hold the camera and just hope for the best as I could not compose while driving. As I drove away from the event I noticed the viewing screen still showing my last picture vastly overexposed. I had to find a back street where I could stop and review the photos. All of them were vastly overexposed. The camera was set on aperture priority but because I couldn't look through the viewfinder I didn't realize what was going on. I should have set it on 'Program' or 'Auto.' So, going back to the scene I got some great photos. I know driving and shooting photos at the same time are not recommended, but at 2 mph it wasn't difficult or dangerous.

  • Helen Reed November 7, 2011 01:30 am

    I use AV mostly--I can't think fast enough for manual.

  • Debo November 7, 2011 01:10 am

    I recently (less than 6 months) got my first "not" point and shoot. Needless to say when I started I was in full auto most of the time as I knew nothing. Now I have taken my first class and am amazed at what I learned. I am now using manual mode on everything. I need to see the good and the bad so I can learn. I want to learn everything I can so by the time my daughters dance season starts I will know enough about the settings to be able to get some great shots. After reading everyones input I think I need to go out and experiment with TV and AV.
    Also, I have found that a notebook is a great tool. I can jot down what works, what doesn't. what the conditions were, etc.
    This website and everyone's input is great for a beginner.

  • Raju panchal November 7, 2011 12:10 am

    I almost always shoot manual, except for the rare occasion when situationsI think what aperture I want, check the speed, I can’t remember when.

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/shooting-modes-pol#ixzz1cvkKPdoF

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/shooting-modes-pol#ixzz1cvjvcaf1

  • Steve Silberman November 6, 2011 11:23 pm

    I generally shoot in manual except under extreme conditions when I shoot in full automatic. Examples of extreme conditions are shooting in a cave where I can't see anything and trying to catch a situation so transient that I know if I start with settings I'll loose the shot completely. In transient situations, I often just hit the shutter button with whatever the last settings were, but if I'm alert, I flip to auto.

    I shoot in manual instead of aperture priority because the camera's automatic exposure is only occasionally what I want. For example, a bird on the background of a bright sky has to be way "overexposed"; a white bird needs to be "underexposed" to capture the detail of the feathers; most green vegetation looks better "underexposed", and so on.

  • Steve1812 November 6, 2011 09:47 pm

    For most situations, I think what aperture I want, check the speed for what I need, and readjust the aperture or ISO to get the speed I really need - especially with action shots.
    In theatre work - dramas/musicals with stage lighting, Ive switched to manual settings that give the skin tones and lighting most emphasis. Backgrounds tend to go to black but no bad thing for stage shots.
    Manual for tricky lighting such as back lit where I will use the cameras metering to get a skin tone reading.
    Still get it wrong but enjoy the "messing about".

  • alwin November 6, 2011 07:25 pm

    I always shoot in manual mode because it's challenging and fun, but sometimes i use aperture priority only as a mean of metering. Any suggestion from the camera can be used for bracketing. From there I would be able to adjust my settings to my satisfaction. But if you're a fan of panning technique, shutter priority mode is the best. And as long as the result is satisfying to your liking it doesn't really matter what mode you used.

  • Antoine November 6, 2011 06:14 pm

    Ii was living in the full auto mode for years before buying my Canon S95 a year ago. Now I really love playing in Manual mode, ISO at the lowest and adjusting speed and aperture. This is a great camera to learn how to use these key parameters.

  • Denise November 6, 2011 01:06 pm

    Shack, I wish I had started off in Manual also! You must be a master at it now! That's great! :)

  • Albert Mallari November 6, 2011 11:38 am

    I normally shoot in AV mode especially outdoors and when there's much light available. Then switch to manual mode in low light situation as my hands are shaky...

  • Itsakpr November 6, 2011 11:19 am

    I use manual almost exclusively. I think because I started my career with a Minolta SR-T 101 {showing my age). However I did use P mode last week when I caught a hawk in our barn the other morning.
    I have used the other modes although I can't remember when.

  • Elie Kalaji November 6, 2011 10:15 am

    i just feel more free to use the maximum features of my cam,speacialy at night...

  • Nicole Vandeventer November 6, 2011 08:59 am

    I usually shoot in Manual because I can play with everything, and as an amateur, I think I spend far more time experimenting than anything else. I'm still learning features about my camera, a Canon Rebel T2i, and so learning from scratch gives me a consistent challenge and pushes me farther. Sometimes I use other modes and nit-pick what "I would do differently if it were Manual." If it's someone else's picture though, I can rarely tell the difference, so I wonder how much it matters. lol

    My main blog is http://marinewifeunplugged.blogspot.com. The I see You photography website I linked here is brand-spankin'-new, so if any of you try to go there and are disappointed, that's why. I have a bunch of stuff on Facebook, though.

    Thank you for this website, by the way. I have been receiving your weekly emails for about a year now, and I learn SO much from your tips, and I am encouraged when I try something out on my own and find out it's something the pros do, too. haha :-D

  • Nick November 6, 2011 08:14 am

    As most of my photography is travel, I tend to use Program mode then duplicate the shot in either A S or M if I have time. For example I was walking through Kathmandu and a man came out of an alleyway leading 3 goats.
    I only had time to take a quick photo on P mode.

  • Keith Anderson November 6, 2011 07:30 am

    I use aperature setting because I can "hear" the shutter as a warning. A chu..chunk with a long lens is a bad thing...

  • Carl November 6, 2011 07:16 am

    I like aperture priority because I love shooting people with a nice soft background. I live bokeh. Aperture also give me the control of fixing that aperture to what I want. I dont limit myself though, and will use shutter priority or manual when the situation warrants.

  • Geoffrey K November 6, 2011 06:55 am

    I shoot in Shutter priority at sporting events for obvious reason. Aperture priority when I am not worried about shutter speed and Manual when I have time to meter the scene.

  • Pradipta November 6, 2011 06:52 am

    I find the TAv mode [Pentax only, I believe] as the smartest mode.

  • Emily November 6, 2011 06:46 am

    I jumped straight to manual when I bought my DSLR, but am just starting to discover the joys of AP, so by next year I might be voting that!

  • Brandon November 6, 2011 06:26 am

    Mostly Manual mode for me followed by Aperture Priority but I've started exploring more on Shutter Priority.

  • Stephan November 6, 2011 05:46 am

    I usually shoot in low light and A mode makes for better pictures. I usually shoot between f2-3.5 without flash.

  • John Parks November 6, 2011 05:44 am

    I am new to cameras again. didn't really take photos for around 12 years now I got my first digital a d5000 and I shoot a lot in the scene modes then look at the settings and try my hand at manual. I shoot in shutter priority also when shooting low light football games and such.

  • C.Diayawansa November 6, 2011 05:35 am

    most peaple like to be photograph like 3d look when we use a blurred background the subject empasise
    and giving real like photo and simply to contorll depth of feield to go for the subject.

  • Marco November 6, 2011 05:05 am

    For those who are surprised that Manual came in second behind AV, think about it: If you set the Aperture and the ISO, there is only one correct shutter speed for a proper exposure. If the camera is a little off, you just bump or drop the exposure compensation a notch or two to fine tune the shutter speed. Full Manual is real good for very specialized shots like when shooting a Full Moon or something that has extremes of light and dark. The point here is that with AV and a set ISO you are essentially in full Manual mode without the dial saying so. So what is the surprise here???

  • Marco November 6, 2011 04:56 am

    For those folks that are so happy with Pentax and it's TAV setting, Canon can do the same thing if you go with M mode and Auto ISO. Don't know about Nikon, but Canon's Manual Mode only does Aperture and Shutter Speed. You have to set ISO from different control and it can be specified or auto. So no real advantage to Pentax. Sorry.

  • Shell November 6, 2011 04:48 am

    I shoot in shutter priority more often than not. I love candid action photos of kids. If I leave my camera in shutter priority, I don't miss a split second shot.

  • Shell November 6, 2011 04:47 am

    I shoot in shutter priority more often than not. I love candid action photos of kids. If I leave my camera in shutter priority, I don't miss a split second shot.

  • Pinaki Das November 6, 2011 04:26 am

    Most of time I use shutter priority mode, and in critical situation obviously Manual mode.
    i think it is best to click on shutter priority mode while traveling, walking or riding.

  • Marco November 6, 2011 04:18 am

    I shoot action shots of wildlife, mostly raptors like eagles and hawks, so I cannot change modes fast enough when it is needed in a burst of shots. I may start on an eagle in a tree, but at any moment he might dive and level off just above a river and then -splash- he comes up with a trout. The difference between the start with sky as a background is just too much different from the low flight over water with a river bank in the background. The splash as he grabs the fish is a whole other setting because of the burst of water spray as he pulls the fish up out of the water. I use program mode, auto ISO, Fast Burst for drive mode and the fastest CF cards I can get to minimize write speeds. With my Canon 7D I can usually get at least 30-40 shots in a burst of RAW+JPG highest before the buffer fills and slows down the shots. I also us AI Servo for focus since this all happens in seconds. Using Canon L series lenses with USM motors also helps as they focus very fast and quietly. The Canon 7D also allows me to use program mode but also tell it my preferred f/ stop with a dial. I usually tell it to go for f/7.1 to f/8 if there is enough light as f/5.6 is the lowest for my lens at 400mm, but that often leads to the wing tips both front and back being out of the focus plane.

  • Raul November 6, 2011 04:05 am

    I am all over the settings because I am learnin, and I've taking some nice looking pictures and some bad. When I shoot for money I get very nervous, and in my mixed up settings I also include automatic mode for just in case.
    However, a pro's secret that was shared is that aperture priority is mostly used in the pro-world and Thats what I experiment mostly...

  • Marlene November 6, 2011 03:56 am

    I shoot primarily in aperture priority to control depth of field and was practicing using F22 on a tripod this w/e for landscapes. For waterfalls, I tend to use Shutter priority to slow down the water. For parties, Automatic so I can just get the shot and not worry about anything.

  • Glenda Clarke November 6, 2011 02:59 am

    I do quite a bit of motorsport photography so it's shutter priority mode most often for me.
    When I'm doing landscapes though it tends to be manual.

  • Lauri November 6, 2011 02:34 am

    When I first started out I shot in total program because that's where I was comfortable and totally terrified of manual. Now for the most part I will shoot manual so I have more control. For weddings I will shoot in aperture priority because of the lighting and with children I will shoot shutter priority because they don't sit still.

  • Shack November 6, 2011 02:18 am

    I first started doing photograph in 1970 and all we had then was manual. That is how I learned it and have never really shot any other way. You can get a lot more creative with manual than with the program modes. I have tried to use the different program modes but each time I do I get really bad results. It seem that I always get better results with manual. Old habits are hard to brake sometimes.

  • Bill Ferris November 6, 2011 02:01 am

    Shutter-priority is a habit I got into back from the days of film (Canon AE-1 & A-1) . I would always have a problem with camera shake with long, slow lenses, and/or poor lighting. I do experiment with Shutter-priority and manual modes occasionally , but I feel the most comfortable ( for now) controlling the shutter speed.

  • Onie November 6, 2011 01:48 am

    I am still learning the art of photography and the reason why I shoot manual is to learn the difference between stops, ISOs and speeds.

  • Ansch November 6, 2011 01:43 am

    I use Aperture only for everyday use (light constantly changing) and M mostly. M allows me more control.

  • Dan November 6, 2011 01:23 am

    Aperature priority, with attention to setting the ISO for the scene.

  • Daniel November 6, 2011 01:15 am

    i started out with aperture priority and then gradually switched to manual, however lately I'v been using A. quite more than usual because i' have to shoot indoors and with dim light, and since I do not own a flah just yet I have to use the widest aperture possible and let the camera decide what is the best speed to shoot wih in such condition, I obviously have had to use some DIY difuser for the pop-up flash when needed

  • Des November 6, 2011 01:13 am

    I use Aperature most of the time. Doing bird photography with a long lens, frequently hand held, requires the highest possible shutter speed and this also helps in throwing the background out of focus.

  • PhotoSara November 6, 2011 01:12 am

    Nobody has mentioned using Bulb mode. I like low light stuff with long exposures, both outdoors and interior shots, so I am in Bulb mode more often than not. I set up everything beforehand: focus, dof, ISO etc. and since most times the settings are critical, I sellotape the focussing ring and the zoom into place so that the settings don't get moved in the dark and spoil the photo.

  • Ira Idelson November 6, 2011 01:07 am

    Most of the time (~85%) I shoot in Aperture Priority mode because I want to control the depth of field. I shoot in Shutter priority when I'm photographing waterfalls. And when I shoot portraits with my studio strobes I use a flash meter and manual mode.

  • photoman022 November 6, 2011 12:58 am

    I usually shoot in manual mode because of the versatility it gives me. But there are times that I also shoot in aperture and shutter priority modes. I use aperture priority when I want to nail the depth of field. I use shutter priority when I really need to control the shutter speed (like slowing it down for waterfall photos). I'll use aperture and shutter priority modes when I want to get the shot with minimum fuss and bother.

  • Randy November 6, 2011 12:46 am

    AP mode s where I shoot most of time since I mostly do outdoor portraits. But I'm trying to stay in manual for other outdoor shots just becuase it's more fun to see the results.

  • Denise November 6, 2011 12:38 am

    If I had to be honest about this, which I'll be... because I'm sure I'm not the first one.. I'd have to say I shoot in Automatic the most! I think I do this because I'm not very comfortable shooting in any other mode as I don't know my equipment as well as I'd like to! With Automatic I'm guaranteed to at least get a half decent shot that I can edit! That being said... I limit myself! I do switch the odd time when I'm not on a serious shoot! I'm sure over time It'll come! These letters are perfect for me! I have a bday party to shoot today and I'm going to go now and practice some shots in Aperture Priority Mode :)

    Thanks for the great articles!!!
    Denise :)

  • Helen Reed November 6, 2011 12:00 am

    Right now, I'm interested in landscape photography, so I use mainly AV. When taking pictures of my 2 year old grandson, I switch to automatic, or I'd never get a decent picture of him.

  • DanC57 November 5, 2011 11:53 pm

    I shoot wildlife. Wildlife by its nature requires faster shutter speeds to get the action shots. Since you don't know when those action shots will happen, shooting in aperture priority does not really work to well. In order to facilitate the faster shutter speeds, I shoot in shutter priority. If I am shooting an animal portrait then I will shoot in aperture priority, but that is rare since I can get portraits from a lot of my shutter priority shots by cropping..

  • Greg November 5, 2011 11:45 pm

    I use Aperture mode for control of depth of field. I spot meter for exposure. I frequently switch to Manual mode to keep exposure constant.

  • Butch November 5, 2011 11:08 pm

    It was a toss up question. P mode for simplicity and control of the flash. I hate using the flash. Manual is my preferred when time is not of essence.

  • Charles November 5, 2011 11:05 pm

    A beginner, and just want to get completely comfortable with the manual mode, and fully understanding whatever settings i use in any situation. So yeah, manual mode almost 100% of the time.

  • Greg Nuspel November 5, 2011 10:53 pm

    I have moved more into manual mode, I used to joke M stood for 'missed another one' , but now I find it's the best way to get what you really want. Manual puts you into control.

  • Valerie November 5, 2011 10:01 pm

    Manual - I shoot hockey mainly and want to control both speed and depth of field. Rinks tend to have terrible lighting and too narrow DoF makes it hard to get a crisp shot (one part of the player is sharp but the rest of him is soft).

  • DaveE620 November 5, 2011 09:27 pm

    Not to rehash what many others have said, I use apperture priority much of the time to vary depth of field.
    I also use manual focus because focus is a key element for me.
    Thanks for the interest which your website/ blog generates It is always interesting.

  • Marlene November 5, 2011 09:05 pm

    Ive never used anything else but the manual option. I find that every photo I take on the move needs different settings. Light changes all the time with the slightest movement.
    Especially when your always moving around.

  • Esben November 5, 2011 08:57 pm

    I shoot 99,5% in manual mode.
    Why I shoot manual? I get more control over the shooting and also I learn a lot by trial and error.
    I see that I more and more make use of manual focus as well, mainly d.t my photographing in night and low light.

  • charLes uer November 5, 2011 08:55 pm

    i used to use manual mode using nikkor 18-105 on my d60. after getting my tammy 17-50 f/2.8, i turn to aperture mode most of the time.ishoot at f/4 for portrait and f/11-16 for Landscape. the result is quitesatisfying.

  • Kumaresan Vibhakar November 5, 2011 08:55 pm

    Hi there I am Kumaresan Vibhakar from Southern part of India. I had started of with Kodak Brownie in 1960. Later on to Rolliechord & Rollieflex Twin Lens Reflex cameras, lived some time with Contax NI with Carl Zeiss lenses & Nikon Nikkormat 100% manual 35mm film camera. I had also possed Canon AE I, Nikon f80 & f100 35mm film cameras.

    The Pin hole Box it was called [Camera] & the passing the right amount of measured light through the hole to the mirror or the sensor is the name of the game. Aperture is the mode or form of the tool to send the measured light to the mirror / Sensor. Unless the light is perfect to the relevent subjects or objects or unless U thrughly understand light & the measure or what so ever it is, shall have a bad image.

    So what ever it is , either the top end Pro cameras or the cameras with all the ding a Ling lights blinking & jing bang fancy buttons al round the camera, in built fancy gadgets or just a point & shoot cameras & what ever the mode is used, manually or with the electronic help from the camera, the main Hero of the party is the light, that very much matters & the main ingredient in this buisness.

    Since I have become a little slopy & lethargic {65yrs} I accepted the electronic help exclusively the [A] aperture mode. This is it. Thanks guys.

  • saleem shahid November 5, 2011 08:33 pm

    I shoot landscapes most of the times and keep my setting on manual

  • Girish Joshi November 5, 2011 08:28 pm

    I shoot most in manual mode because I get full control on exposure.

  • ANNA ELIZA FUHRICH November 5, 2011 08:23 pm

    I have been shooting since I was a teenager. Now I am 61 y/o. But most of my pictures were of people together and shot at automatic mode.
    After attending a photography course, recently, I started to use aperture priority mode: f 5.6. My teacher told us that it was an intermediate aperture.

  • Carel November 5, 2011 08:19 pm

    I mostly take macro photos with a macro twin-lite. From my experience manual mode gives the best results by far when using a flash.

  • Dyk November 5, 2011 07:45 pm

    I mostly use aperture mode. I am an amateur and that is a step up from the P mode. I use manual when I don't like the results from the A mode and adjust accordingly.

  • Keith Jones (andsome) November 5, 2011 07:08 pm

    I use P mode mainly in my new Nikon D3100. I can quickly adjust the exposure speed against aperture, but leaving the overall exposure the same. It is quick and simple to allow a stop or two up or down against the exposure that the camera has set, and renders A and S modes redundant.

  • Maneesh November 5, 2011 07:07 pm

    I shoot in manual mode. The only time I would switch would be to shutter priority if it is low light and I or the target is moving.

  • Saptashaw November 5, 2011 06:55 pm

    I prefer to shoot mostly in Manual mode, mostly because it been only about a year and a half since I got my first DSLR, and I want to be learn and be aware of the light, shooting conditions and which settings to use in which scenario. Since this is a learning phase for me, hence Manual mode made the most sense :).

  • Alisa November 5, 2011 06:46 pm

    I'm presently shooting in manual mode most of the time as I am trying to learn more about my camera. Still very much on my "L" plates but I enjoy the time spent and any day you can learn something and enjoy it is a bonus in my book!

  • Chrisja November 5, 2011 06:14 pm

    All depends on the photos I want to take. For sports and with good external light ( sailing) I use Shutter priority as I want freeze the action. I let the camera fix the Aperture, howeverI control the ISO so that I work in the good area of my lens (f5.6 to f11). For standard situations, I like to use 'A" Aperture priority as it allowas me to control DOF.
    For street photography as I want to control both ( DOF and Freezing) I often use manual with however letting the camera raise the ISO in a certain range.It allows me most of the time with good light to keep 1/250 shutter and F8. then I can concentrate on the street action.

  • John Lambert November 5, 2011 06:07 pm

    Now I shoot movies chiefly, so I am aware of the shutter speed. Since I check often to see if it is still set on 1/30, my aperture is usually f16 or f22. I like to everything in the scene in sharp focus. I have found that automatic focus cannot be relied upon, so I focus manually. That seems to work for me.

  • Peter P November 5, 2011 05:59 pm

    I use aperture priority a bit - and probably exlusively when on the tripod. Manual a bit, especially when trying to control different light sources and using off-camera flash etc. But I probably spend most time in program mode. With aperture and shutter speed interlocked, I can change aperture or shutter to whatever I like by rotating the main command dial with my thumb. For example, if I see something that needs a fast shutter speed as I'm exploring (I'm mainly a travel and stock photographer), I can select the fastest shutter speed for the ISO that's set before I have the camera to my eye. It's easy to close down if I need more depth of field while looking through the viewfinder while making sure the shutter speed is still ok.

  • silje November 5, 2011 05:58 pm

    I use the a modus, becouse I like the diffused background.. but its also becouse I take most photos of kids who move around so quickly... I can really learn more if I start using m modus........

  • Anurag Sharma November 5, 2011 05:56 pm

    There is this (tongue in cheek) saying, "P is for Professional" followed by howls of laughter. Well, as a full time professional photographer, I use P mode for around 70% of my shots during a wedding day. I switch between the other 3 modes as needed. The exposure from P mode can be controlled using the Ev compensation and Shutter Speed (to drive it into Ps) mode. Why use P mode? Speed, speed, speed. I want to capture a moment as soon as I see it, not wait, not think, not on a wedding day. If I want shallow dof control, I switch to Aperture priority when I need it. I know all my modes. I learnt this from the master himself Joe Buissinck. I concur with his reasonings.

  • Richard Marshall November 5, 2011 05:36 pm

    As I use a Pentax K5, I generally use their TAv mode; shutter & aperture mode

  • Jaz Cee November 5, 2011 05:11 pm

    Ive been doing the "shoot in manual if you want to be a pro" thing. Of the 4k shots I've taken with my T3, I like maybe half. Base on these testimonies, I'm gonna try AV for a bit.

  • Swapan Mukherjee November 5, 2011 04:37 pm

    Since my subjects vary from the darkest to the lightest in tones I prefer the manual mode to enable exposure adjustments as in auto mode everything turns out of average tonal value. In aperture or shutter speed modes one would still require exposure compensations to obtain correct exposure for the situation.

  • Jason November 5, 2011 04:31 pm

    As a keen amateur I find aperture priority allows me alot of control and variation while the camera still does alot of the brainwork. I am slowly using the manual mode more and more but I usually have to readjust to get it right. I also love taking lightning photo's using shutter priority.

  • Alainya November 5, 2011 04:05 pm

    I used to shoot almost exclusively in Aperture Priority, but recently switched to Manual because I like to have more control of what I am shooting. It took a little bit to get the hang of it, but now it come almost naturally. I would definitely say that it is a really good way for me since I love a shallow DOF and shutter control all together. Aperture Priority is great for when I'm half asleep early in the morning though :P

  • Ray Mackaway November 5, 2011 03:47 pm

    I usually leave the camera on program mode, but do a lot of photography in manual. Especially doing still photos with multiple flash I would almost without exception use manual.
    Regards Ray

  • Kusshal November 5, 2011 03:20 pm

    I started photography about 2-3 months back & I used to shoot in auto mode or shutter priority mode, but few weeks back I shot some pics in manual mode & i found it very creative, with manual mode one can play between the camera & the subject.

    Also I have seen here that maximum photographers are using the Aperture Mode, I would love to try that also, so may be after sometime I get control over aperture mode also.

    CHEERS to all fellow photographers.

  • dana November 5, 2011 03:19 pm

    to learn my camera I take a shot in automatic then switch to manual and start playing with speed and aperture and iso to see how different settings affect the same shot. Now although I still have lots to learn I shoot the majority of my shots in manual.. Still not with absolute confidence, if I absolutely, positively want to get the shot I shoot it in automatic

  • Gigi November 5, 2011 03:11 pm

    I shoot pretty much completely in Manual. I started with Auto and used it for a long time, then I moved on to Aperture/Shutter for a short while, and now (I can't even remember when the switch happened) I use Manual for almost every shot.
    Manual takes longer for me, but I mess around with lighting a lot and Manual gives me more control over how dark/light the picture is.

  • S.R. NAIR November 5, 2011 02:57 pm

    After using Prog. auto for a long time, I have switched over to MANUAL with startling results. Now I am comfortable with it. Sometimes I use Aperture mode and sneak back PA just to confirm if things are OK. However i am improving every day; that is what my friends tell me! :))

  • Steve Beesley November 5, 2011 02:46 pm

    Sorry, forgot to say that Inow use a Pentax k7 which most of my oldfilm slr camera lenses fit, but I still only use the Standard 50mm and occasionally the 18 to 50mm . My Lumix still goes with me too as it has a fantastic zoom but rather noisy but easy corrected in photoshop or even in windows live photo gallery. Happy photo taking, enjoy life don't be too serious, you won't get out alive. best regards fellow photo takers. Steve.

  • Judith November 5, 2011 02:30 pm

    I'm still very much an amateur/beginner so I almost always start in manual to get used to how adjusting both the aperture and shutter speed affects an image. Right now I mostly shoot outdoor/landscape/nature (I'd love to do still life, but I don't have enough nerve to go walking about and just point and shoot at random people), so manual suits me pretty well so far for switching between an extremely stationary landscape and an extremely not stationary bird or horse.

    Also, I'm a complete control freak so I like to control as much about the resulting image as I can :-)

  • Andi Shibata November 5, 2011 02:29 pm

    Being an "animals in action" photographer I usually shoot in shutter priority mode. Whether shooting to capture dust being kicked up or blurring a horse and rider, shutter mode captures my needs. However when I'm shoot animals at close rage for still shots I switch to aperture mode to allow for background blur.

  • JackiGail November 5, 2011 02:28 pm

    I shoot marco, and like to blur the background.

  • Steve Beesley November 5, 2011 02:23 pm

    37 years ago I bought & used the best second hand camera I could afford, It was a Chinon cm4 with a PK mount lens, there was no Automatic mode. Just manual. since then I never looked back, Have had Nikormats, Canons, Leica, Kodak, Petri ! Olympus, Yashica, pentax etc:(still got most of them).I also had my own dark room for developing and printing, but one day I decided to buy a digital camera to supliment my film SLRs, I wanted a point and shoot to save time and effort, Again I never looked back. It had an auto mode, fantastic, did it all for me, Compared this auto mode to the SLRs f8 200iso there was little to no difference at 1st but eventually I fell for the digital. I even bought a computer, My sons had computers but I had no idea as to how they worked, Never looked back since, It is not important what equipment/camera you use as long as you can use photoshop or something similar, if your photos are too dark then lighten them on the computer, if they are too light then darken them, crop them and make the best of what your capabilities are, contrast, light, shadows can all be manipulated, this doesn't mean that pure photography is dead but it means that old tired persons like me can now click and sit on the computer and learn something new. Sorry if I have upset anyone but digital automatic is fine, not lazy, the rest of the work can be done on the computer whether you have an old 5MP camera or a top of the range 26MP camera, all that matters is that they are in FOCUS, the background can be blurred later.

  • Phani T November 5, 2011 02:19 pm

    I use the "bulb" setting most of the time - the lens is exposed as long as the shutter button is pressed. Why that? For good silhouettes in darkness and very low light scenes. To my knowledge, I don't get it with any mode :(.

  • Rainer Heller November 5, 2011 02:19 pm

    I usually use a Nikor 17-55 F2.8 or a Nikor 80-200 F2.8, and do fast nature shots where I don't have the time to make adjustments or decisions. When I have time to "compose" shots I do pick what I feel is the best mode (M, A, S). The days of reciprocity failure ended with "T" grain emulsions and modern CCDs are even better.

    These fast lenses let me capture the subject along with the surroundings that show where the animal resides. If the subject is not startled, I experiment. When I used to use Ektar 25 in my F series cameras, I mainly used A or S. I use M exclusively when I do astronomy shots or use my Lens Baby. One day I'll take a roll of Ektar 25 out of my freezer and play with my F3 using my old 50mm F1.2 or my 20mm F2,8.

    To me, lens quality is more important than having the fanciest camera.

  • Cheryl Pierce November 5, 2011 01:41 pm

    I shoot mostly manual because I'm learning how. I spent over a year shooting completely auto, just learning composition and other basics. One day, I put it in Aperture Priority and took the same shot with many different apertures. That was my light bulb moment. I finally understood aperture. Shortly after that, I tried manual and started learning how ISO, aperture and shutter speed work together. I've learned so much, but mostly I've learned how much I have to learn. :o)

  • Leon Barnes November 5, 2011 01:35 pm

    Much of photography is vacation stuff. When I am serious about a photo, I will use scenes for a quick shot or if appropriate, I use Aperture mode.

  • Chris November 5, 2011 01:10 pm

    Sceen mode because i am a beginer

  • Pete Jones November 5, 2011 01:03 pm

    I have been shooting in manual mode over the past few years, but lately I have been leaning toward aperture mode. Manual gave me more control, but after reviewing and editing my shots, I see that shooting in aperture mode would have me doing less viewing of unwanted images and less editing. Plus, I am catching myself being more aware of using my AE lock which does not work in manual mode on my camera, hence a reason to shoot in aperture mode.

  • Carl November 5, 2011 01:01 pm

    I shoot mostly manual mode with spot metering. The way I normally work is to set the exposure for the midtones and then check to make sure the highlights and shadows fall within the dynamic range of my camera. In other words I generally use the zone metering system. That being said, when I'm shooting an event indoors, I'm not afraid to put it in program mode so I definitely get the shot quickly.

  • Robert McC November 5, 2011 12:44 pm

    I shoot in program, more than any other. I frequently, almost always, bias to get the f stop i need. If I's doing scenics, I always bracket. Sometimes 1 stop = or -; but 2 stops if i plan to use HDR. HDR can , easily be overdone, as can other types of manipulation. ansel always manipulated the print, to extremes , for that time period, and we all love his B & W. HDR is a modern way to Crop, dodge, burn, and enhance.
    Many of my saleble prints would not be possible with a straight shot, because of the range of illumination.
    Thanks for a god forum/program.

  • Jodie November 5, 2011 12:26 pm

    I generally use Aperature Priority, because I'm shooting sports.

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain November 5, 2011 12:26 pm

    I mostly shoot wildlife and for this purpose Aperture Priority suits me best (so voted for it). However, love to capture landscape shots and indoor family/friends gatherings as well. In these cases I use Manual mode. All shots are captured in RAW.

  • Brian November 5, 2011 12:11 pm

    As a pet portrait photographer, I prefer Aperture priority. However, I enjoy capturing fast action bird photography and use Shutter priority mostly. Recently, however, I have bought a manual focus 500mm f8 lens and Manual priority is my choice here.

  • danielle November 5, 2011 12:11 pm

    I almost always shoot in manual mode or "c" mode on my canon 5D. I use my 50mm fixed lens with my aperture wide open and my iso at 3200 - a lot of night or dark conditions shooting with no flash. i also love the rich lighting effect that the iso/aperture combo gives. It's pretty magical!

  • Ashish John November 5, 2011 12:07 pm

    I shoot mostly birds and use Aperture Priority gives me the flexibility to change settings quickly as bird moves into different light situations.

  • Debbie November 5, 2011 12:03 pm

    I shoot aperture priority most of the time, shutter priority when I want to control movement. Manual is a MUST for studio.

  • Jim Pratt November 5, 2011 12:03 pm

    Check my work at www.av8magazine.com.

  • Jim Pratt November 5, 2011 12:02 pm

    I shoot mostly air shows and for aerial shooting I use primarily TV (Shutter Priority) mode. It allows me to adjust the shutter speed differently between propeller planes and jets. I use a slower speed with prop planes (below 1/300) so that the propellers are blurred rather than stopped. For faster jets, I use a faster shutter speed (1/800). I let the aperture take care of itself.

  • Rob Mack November 5, 2011 11:54 am

    Most pics are of my kids and friends playing U7 and U10 football for their teams and academy, so it's all movement,
    I use TV mode, 1st choosing the lowest ISO appropriate for lighting conditions, then the fastest shutter speed to freeze the action.

    I have tried AV mode and got good /ok results..... but the problem with kids football is you can have intense light at one side of the field, shadows on the other, ... Rain,,, clouds, sunshine...

  • Douglas Smith November 5, 2011 11:44 am

    I tend to primarily shoot aperture priority. For portraits I want to blur the background and for landscapes I maximize the DoF. The next is shutter priority. This is primarily when I am using off-camera flash on a bright day and need to bring down the shutter speed to sync. When I am shooting with my studio lighting I am generally on manual.

  • Chris November 5, 2011 11:33 am

    I used to shoot aperture priority a lot, but grew tired of the few inconsistent results based on the metering mode I was in. Now I shot everything entirely in manual. However, when I shoot manual, I typically lock my speed and aperture and just change my ISO up or down. Shooting on full frame made me less worried about noise issues.

  • Jim Holland November 5, 2011 11:30 am

    I like Aperture Priority mode because I like to control my depth of field on still photos. On action shots or moving subjects, I use Shutter Priority.

  • Terry November 5, 2011 11:26 am

    I leave my camera set on P because it gives me maximum chance of a reasonable result in case of a grab shot. I then use the thumb wheel to choose a combination that meets whatever aperture or shutter speed is needed in the situation.

  • Erica Siegel November 5, 2011 11:23 am

    I shoot in aperture mode mainly to diffuse the background.
    My main subjects are birds, particularly small birds, and bugs so a non distracting background is a must.

  • Melinda Marshall November 5, 2011 11:12 am

    I shoot in manual, because I love to have complete control. I have tried shooting in aperture priority, but am never happy with the results.

  • bigal November 5, 2011 11:09 am

    My response of automatic is because the majority of my photos are taken with a camera phone and or a compact camera if and when situations arise often on the move. When using the DSLR shutter would probably be the most

  • Robert Lewis November 5, 2011 11:09 am

    A method for beginners wanting to progress to full manual. Start with test shot in AP. Check the histogram and the automatic shutter speed. Then switch to manual mode and adjust everything to suit what you want to achieve i.e. if the shutter speed is too slow for hand held, adjust iso or consider a tripod.

    Found this useful when using a manual film camera also. I.e check out the settings on a digital camera first, then use them on the film camera. Can see the purists having a rant about this. But it worked for me in the early days. Now I can nearly hold my own in manual, with a light meter of course.

    DSLR's are also good for a quick check of the range of light from sky to land in a landscape. If greater than 5 or so stops you either need to bracket or get the filters out.

  • Naomi November 5, 2011 10:57 am

    Just recently have i changed to shooting in something other than automatic. I try my hardest to shoot in Manual mode but when I can't seem to get the settings just right or my shutter speed ends up too slow to capture a non blurry exposure, I will most likely change to Shutter Speed Priority Mode in order to capture a non blurry image. I also Manually focus all my work instead of letting the lens focus itself. In Manual mode I mostly shoot wide open in order to blur the background and only when I hand my camera to someone else to get my picture when on vacation do I spin the dial to the Portrait Mode so I know the picture won't be blurry.

  • Bill November 5, 2011 10:53 am

    I like to shoot in manual mode because it gives me more of a personal control over the camera.

  • Hiro November 5, 2011 10:49 am

    I like aperture priority for the bokeh that I can get at wide open but at the same time, I also like getting a lot in focus at higher apertures. I hardly ever use the auto modes.

  • Jane Marie May November 5, 2011 10:39 am

    I shoot a lot of running pictures so I shoot almost exclusively in shutter priority although I do an occasional portrait and then I use either manual or aperture priority

  • Dave November 5, 2011 10:29 am

    I want to control my depth of field........ it allows me to direct the eyes of the viewer to where I want them to be.

  • Heather November 5, 2011 10:27 am

    I tend to stick to aperture priority because I'm mostly taking pictures of my daughter and dog. I avoid Auto because it seems to always want to use the pop up flash. I like to control the DoF and decide what ISO I need to avoid flash. I use manual when I'm shooting still life, though.

  • João Luiz November 5, 2011 10:25 am

    I feel a bit uncomfortable letting the camera decide anything for me. But I confess that only sometimes I choose aperture prioritiy. And very few times I use shutter priority.
    Other than that, it is full manual mode. Even in compact cameras, I try to play with EV.

  • Pam November 5, 2011 10:24 am

    I shoot in manual mode all the time. After 20 years of shooting film, I feel that I have the most control in manual. I understand the other modes but I can change faster if need be when I'm in manual.

  • Diego November 5, 2011 10:22 am

    Always Manual because it gives me complete creative freedom and it's the only way I feel the picture was made by me and not by the camera.

  • Julie November 5, 2011 10:16 am

    I like shooting in manual trying to figure everything out unless I do not have the time to mess around. Then it gets switched over to automatic...feels like cheating on a test though!! ;)

  • Mike Moruzi November 5, 2011 10:16 am

    Almost exclusively manual mode because I want the control. AV is good for quick shooting, but I find the selected shutter speed is sometimes unpredictable. I like to take my time composing and shooting and manual gives me the control over both shutter speed and aperture.

  • Cheryl November 5, 2011 10:16 am

    Aperture priority most often for close-ups with bokeh and when I don't have much time to get stills; shutter priority for active grandkids, and manual when I can really take my time or for long exposures, i.e. flashlight play.

  • Diane M Bergander November 5, 2011 10:05 am

    I took a photography course to get out of auto mode. I jumped into aperture priority first and then went into manual for most everything. I love the control. I will use aperture priority or shutter priority, if I am shooting photos at a party, for instance.

  • Mario November 5, 2011 10:05 am

    TAv mode - it's a great thing Pentax has - M mode with Auto ISO.

  • CharleyQ November 5, 2011 10:05 am

    I shoot a lot of skateboarders and BMXers...I am usually trying to freeze the action, so I usually shoot in shutter priority...quite often at speeds of 1/1000 to 1/2000...sometimes high speed sync flash as well at 1/1000....if I am on the street I usually shoot aperture mode because depth of field is my consideration...

  • Iconofilia November 5, 2011 10:05 am

    I usually start out in manual mode unless I am in some sort of a hurry or need to get a shot no matter what. I like having full control of my images regardless of what my exposure meter says.

  • Tyson November 5, 2011 10:03 am

    I shoot 99.9% of the time in manual mode when using my Nikon d700. Mostly because of the design of the camera, it is incredibly easy to set the aperture and shutter speed without even having to move the camera from my eye. I feel like I can expose an image better with my eye than the camera can...at least to achieve the results I want. I prefer darker tones to my photography than the camera exposes for. Also, I use a lot of external flash in my photography, and it's just easier to set the exposure right for flash manually than trying to rely on the camera to do the job.

  • Andy B November 5, 2011 10:00 am

    I start in Aperture and tend to stay 60% of the time in Aperture and 40% in manual for more control.

  • Lynne November 5, 2011 09:59 am

    If I'm shooting outdoors, I usually use the aperture priority, but for indoor shots, especially macro and still life, I shoot in the manual mode.

  • Barbara Bryan November 5, 2011 09:53 am

    I shoot in full manual...because I'm trying to learn the ins and outs of all of the settings!!!

  • andi November 5, 2011 08:06 am

    90% manual - I just really need that control here in Colorado. The contrast can be really intense if I don't. In more controlled situations lighting-wise, I might throw it in to aperture priority if I'm feeling lazy, but never for a professional shoot. Or almost never, anyway. I just end up being very unhappy with the results!

  • Dodie Remedios November 3, 2011 01:51 pm

    It really depends on the situation, I use aperture priority mode 70% of the time, as most of my pictures are done on the fly, I only use manual mode when I really have a lot of time to compose and frame my shots, especially when shooting macro. I sometimes use shutter priority mode when I want to shoot long exposures and I cant seem to get the aperture setting right. Since I am not an expert in flash photography, I usually shoot in program mode when my flashgun is attached.

  • Boudoir Photography November 2, 2011 11:59 am

    Only 30% of us are manual .. I admit I'm a bit surprised in this.

  • Roberta November 2, 2011 02:01 am

    Aperture Priority most often, manual other times and on the occasion when I feel I need it Shutter Priority.

  • Pedro November 1, 2011 09:58 pm

    Mostly shoot in manual because I do a lot of gigs right now. I used to mainly stay on Av but in dark conditions the camera always sets long shutter times, which meant the band players were blurred a lot.

    I've recently started learning more about my flash too and set that on manual now as well. Most small gigs don't have dynamic lighting so once I find the right balance I don't need to change settings too much.

  • patrick November 1, 2011 09:24 pm

    I use aperture mode most of the time. When the light is tricky and when using external flash, that's the time I switch to full manual.

  • Kamy November 1, 2011 04:44 pm

    Similar to what the other voters has posted, Aperture Priority Mode allows the user to choose between the F-stops and creates bokeh in the images taken. I personally started using the manual mode a lot because sometimes the auto-mode just takes too long to focus my object (eg. animal or people) and resulted in loosing a lot of nice moments.

  • bw November 1, 2011 03:20 pm

    P - professional mode!!!

  • Russ Frisinger November 1, 2011 12:12 pm

    Shooting Av with one keen eye on the shutter speed to stop the shakes is basically manual. Av controls the depth of field and that shows in a photo for ever. No one ever wonders what the shutter speed was, but they do see the bokeh and surroundings.

  • Desmo November 1, 2011 11:57 am

    AV mode is suitable for me especially when i start shooting on any ceremony or event and it save my time.
    Manual mode is much better when i have a plenty of time to arrange my shot.

  • Mark November 1, 2011 10:47 am

    I mostly use Aperture Priority (though I do switch to Shutter Priority when appropriate) though, since I can and do adjust exposure (via compensation) and ISO directly from those modes, it is essentially the same as manual - just with the camera (Nikon D3100) give me a starting point.

  • Scott Jacobson November 1, 2011 10:38 am

    I shoot in automatic mode a lot with Direct Manual Focus override and Background defocusing controls. My next most used mode is not listed in the poll, Program Mode. I'm using Program Mode more and more often as it usually starts with a good choice for settings but with easy overrides for aperature, shutter speed, white balance, ISO and DRO that are part of the display settings.

  • Jonathon Jenkins November 1, 2011 10:25 am

    I shoot in manual 99% of the time. I feel that I have more control ove the outcome of each frame that way.

  • Ian Hayhurst November 1, 2011 09:54 am

    Aperture Priority for DOF and dial in exposure comp to taste, but Manual for anything strobist; start about right for the strobes and walk up the ambiant light ( by walking down the shutter )

  • Mike Connelly November 1, 2011 09:23 am

    I prefer A for most photos to get the blurred effect around the subject, beginning to play with M so as to go to the extreme on both A and S.

    I like the blurred background a lot, but since A restricts S is why I am beginning to play with M.

  • Arch November 1, 2011 09:04 am

    I used to shoot mostly in aperture priority (for DOF control) but have transitioned to manual. In addition to controlling DOF, I like having the ability to tweak as much as possible to get the shot I want. In difficult lighting I can play with my aperture, shutter speed and if necessary crank up my iso. It's all available to me.

  • BvW November 1, 2011 08:47 am

    I mostly shoot in AV (aperture priority), because of DOF and because I mostly shoot moving subjects which means Manual is a no go. When I want to shoot nature shots, or in the studio, I'll always use manual.

  • Chris alley November 1, 2011 07:44 am

    Like others, it depends on the situation. For action I pick shutter. For others it pick aperture. I'll often use aperture or shutter as a reference the switch to manual.

  • potterjo November 1, 2011 04:45 am

    I usually start out on the "P", then depending on the situation go to aperture, all the pots are shot that way. F8 is as high my oly. 8080 will go.

  • Ant West November 1, 2011 04:38 am

    I prefer to use Aperture Priority about 80% of the time, especially in for macro and portraiture. The rest of the time I use manual for long exposure shots as well as just playing with the combinations which present themselves

  • Fuzzypiggy November 1, 2011 04:21 am

    Mainly AP mode but recently with the purchase of a new DSLR I have been finding it slightly easier to work in manual mode sometimes when I want a little more control, although AP helps a lot as it's one less thing to worry about with all the other stuff you have to think off!

  • Zack Jones November 1, 2011 04:06 am

    We need an "It Depends" answer. The mode I use depends on the situation. I mostly use Manual, TV and AV modes on my Canon cameras.

  • Jane Sleeth November 1, 2011 04:02 am

    It took me a while after getting my first D-SLR to feel confident using it, but once I did I was determined to switch to manual mode. It really wasn't difficult adjusting to manual mode and since I switched I have never looked back. I like being able to control the settings completely, deciding exactly how I am going to take a shot and tweaking settings to see what difference that makes to the end result. Speaking of which, I believe the results (when you get it right) are so much better than shooting in auto mode.

  • jessie whittle November 1, 2011 02:59 am

    I used to shoot mostly aperture priority but since I shoot mostly kids these days I've decided shutter speed priority is better... those little ones can move FAST! I try to shoot manual when I'm not shooting kids, but they move so fast I don't have time to think that much when chasing them around and trying to get the shot that their parents will love.

  • Damien November 1, 2011 02:34 am

    Well i shoot in manual mode because i am a starter and i try to learn how different settings work and what results i can get out of them..

  • phil November 1, 2011 02:13 am

    My first camera was a Minolta SRT-202 with match needle metering so that was totally manual. But i usually picked my aperture first and then matched the proper shutter speed to it. Once I upgraded to a Minolta XD-11 that had both aperture and shutter priority modes, I found myself using aperture priority for most of my shooting. It's easy to stay in that mode even if you need to vary your shutter speed - just change your aperture until you have the shutter speed you need. To this day I still mostly shoot in aperture priority on my Canon DSLR.

  • FireRescueFL November 1, 2011 01:54 am

    I shoot mostly in manual but only because of newbie ignorance. When I finally got my hands on a camera that had those options, I assumed that to take professional quality photos you HAD to be in manual mode. So, I spent a lot of hours taking "throw-away" photos just to see where the settings needed to be for various lighting. Now, it's just natural for me to shoot in manual mode and fix any mistakes with Photoshop. That's where I spend about 90% of my time. The other 10% is shot in Aperture mode and I use this when I've only got one chance at a picture.


  • William November 1, 2011 01:52 am

    I used to go Manual the most, but sometimes things get tough I quickly switcch to Shutter priority. So good to be in full control of the camera but of course other creative zone features of the camera do a lot of help!

  • Jenny November 1, 2011 01:19 am

    I have bounced back and forth this last year - I actually started in Manual - then learned Ap priority, then shutter priority and now I'm back to Manual.

    Manual allows me to control all of the settings the way that I want to, which I like.

    I almost exclusively use shutter priority when shooting kids events as they are running around (they are so fast!) or sporting events - and then move my focus to a multi-focus point.

    Aperture I sometimes go back to when shooting events where speed is not as important :)

  • Sam November 1, 2011 12:22 am

    I usually start in Aperture, but the next stop is often Manual. The exception is when shooting sports, then I start in Manual so that I can control shutter speed (and can't let the camera decide what Aperture to use as the players move in and out of sunlight on the field).

  • Noelene November 1, 2011 12:05 am

    Almost always AV, because thats the way I was taught with my first DSLR. Sometimes use Manual but rarely (in 4 years about 3-4 times) any of the scene modes.

  • Netkonnexion October 31, 2011 11:35 pm

    I work almost exclusively in full manual mode. I like to have full exposure control. Working in manual allows me to get the absolute control over the shots features I want that cannot be done together in other modes.

    I have occasionally used aperture priority when doing portraiture - but not once this year. I sometimes use Tv to control the shutter speed only - particularly for long exposures and deep depth of field - the first time this year was last week when working on a series of landscape shots. Several times this year I have used 'Bulb' mode for a few shots.

    I never use scene modes. It seems pointless to use the manufacturers interpretation of what the shot should be. At best, scene modes are an 'average' interpretation of a broad range of scenarios. I want all my shots to be more than an average interpretation by the manufacturer. I try to approach each shot with a clear idea of what I want to achieve. If this is to be fulfilled I think that for most cases only manual can work to meet my expectations. Out of all my shots this year (nearly thirteen thousand) I have probably taken less than 100 non-manual mode shots.

  • Kristie October 31, 2011 11:09 pm

    The majority of my shooting is done at high school sporting events, and as long as I'm outdoors, with decent conditions, I shoot in shutter mode. At night, once the lights go down, I switch to manual to have better control, but most of it is TV. Portrait photography is all done in AV mode .... hopefully getting better at that as I go along, as well. :)

  • Graeme October 31, 2011 10:43 pm

    Remember that there is another level of auto/manual setting on cameras these days.....Auto ISO.

    So, you can set "manual" mode, specifying
    - the precise aperture you want (for shallow depth of field, for example)
    - the shutter speed you want (to make sure you catch the action)
    but then set Auto ISO.

    The camera will therefore adjust the ISO up/down according to the lighting conditions. (Within limits) you get a perfectly exposed shot every time.

    Best of both worlds :-)

  • Tero Koskela October 31, 2011 10:38 pm

    I used to shoot in Av mode but when I started to use focus and recompose method more, I got scared by the huge number of under- and over-exposed shots. To me, manual mode is much more reliable and not any extra work since I used to play with the exposure compensation anyway. I also do a part of my work with the Speedlights and am forced to use manual mode anyway. When you are switching between Av and Manual modes, you often confuse the functions of different controls. With 5D2.

  • sixmats October 31, 2011 10:30 pm

    I shoot in manual mode because that is the only mode I can use manual-focusing lenses in on the D80.

  • JudyPilk October 31, 2011 10:22 pm

    My first camera was a Pentax ME Super and was aperture priority, so I got used to shooting in that mode and am comfortable with it. Consequently have continued to do so with my DSLR.

  • Deb Scally October 31, 2011 10:17 pm

    Given the number of beginners and casual fotogs here, it is not surprising to me that manual is second... I was actually impressed that it WAS second! haha. Personally, I shoot mostly everything in Av mode, as DoF is much more important than speed--even in sports, where speed counts. I'll generally dial up ISO to engage a faster shutter speed before I ever touch the shutter dial. Once in a while I work with manual as a second mode choice--but more so when I am dealing with portraits or still life shots, where a tripod and control is all on my side.

  • John Roberts October 31, 2011 10:08 pm

    Pardon my cynicism, but manual mode in second place? That's very surprising to me, and bordering on being a little hard to believe.

  • Jenn October 31, 2011 10:05 pm

    I shoot in manual and have for a while now. Mainly because I like the challenge of getting the shot right on my own, and not through the camera's guesses. Maybe eventually I'd switch to AV but for now i like manual.

  • Peter Garner October 31, 2011 09:59 pm

    Usually aperture priority mode, but I like manual mode too. It's interesting to see so many manual mode users up there: I've often thought that camera manufacturers should maybe make a fully-manual model (with metering) for people that really want to be in control.

  • Andrea LaGrow October 31, 2011 08:58 pm

    Is there anything other than AV? I hadn't stopped to notice in a long, long time.... LOL

    Guess that means I'm a bokeh junkie too!

  • Jeet October 31, 2011 08:17 pm

    I am always afraid of camera blur, so I prefer to stay safe with Tv mode. If I am looking for some specific effect, I might go for Av or M. Sometimes I use the Landscape Scene mode.

  • Novae October 31, 2011 07:23 pm

    Sometimes I start out in Programm Mode but mostly I shoot in Aperture Priority. When the subject is moving I'll use Shutter Priority and when I just can't get the shot in those modes I'll use Manual.
    When I'm in a learn mood I'll use Manual the whole time but that doesn't happen often lately.

  • Josh Lloyd October 31, 2011 04:54 pm

    Manual mode- Control Control control!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck October 31, 2011 04:32 pm


    Almost always Manual - I like the control it affords. It is difficult to execute shots like these light trails when one uses any Prio setting let alone Auto.


  • Ole Gyldenløve October 31, 2011 04:29 pm

    Aperture mode gives me control over DoF. Next to aperture, I use manuel mode to gain total control of the exposure.

  • James shoots blanks October 31, 2011 02:33 pm

    I find I shoot in Manual then if I can't get it quite right I'll be back to auto or aperture, to try and figure out the correct balance then back to manual to work on the art.. is that right I could be doing it wrong.

  • Sridhar October 31, 2011 12:25 pm

    I mostly shoot landscapes, so I stick to Manual for that because I've all the time in the world to tinker with the settings to get the right shot. When shooting the occasional events, I heavily rely on Ap..

  • Xvant October 31, 2011 12:25 pm

    i Shoot manual because, like you mostly i use the big apertures in my style of photography, why not AV? because in some situations the camera is just too stupid to think the shot like i was thinking it.

  • Eric October 31, 2011 12:03 pm

    AP, Manual then TV; the subject determines the mode; however I have been moving more and more to all Manual and that may soon overtake the top spot.

  • John October 31, 2011 11:59 am

    Shooting in Program mode is easier for me when I don't have my tripod with me. Today, I went on a field trip in the woods with my Canon 60D and tripod, and I found that most of the shots were using Aperture priority simply because I needed to take advantage of either light or motion in different situations.

  • Mei Teng October 31, 2011 11:51 am

    I mostly shoot in the order of Aperture priority, TV mode and/or Manual.

  • Barry E.Warren October 31, 2011 11:36 am

    Manual most of the time, just depends what I'm trying to create. Sometimes aperture . I'm always experimenting with all the setting trying to get that perfect shot.

  • Terence Teo October 31, 2011 11:28 am

    Most of the time I am taking portraits and the A-mode allows good control over the bokeh.

  • Lou October 31, 2011 11:20 am

    I shot mostly in manual. Not because I have to want to need to, I want to understand more. This way I feel like I know where I'm at and why. I'm sure I'll be ready to use AP ....A....more once I automatically know in my brain where it will be.

  • Robert October 31, 2011 11:15 am

    I almost always shoot in manual, though do use aperture priority, shutter priority, bulb or full auto in special circumstances. I'll sometimes use full auto if I'm rushed or as a control for creative manual work. I've never used program mode or that strange CA mode on my 5DII and have yet to figure out how to setup and use custom modes C1, C2, and C3.

  • Vicki October 31, 2011 10:53 am

    I am an amateur photographer. I love taking pictures, but have never really learned the different settings on my camera. I have a Nikkon P100 and love it. I thought by getting you RSS feed I could maybe learn more, at
    least I hope I can.

  • ccting October 31, 2011 10:40 am

    As for a noob like me, I will use
    a) Shutter speed when I don't want to miss any moment which is critical, and I don't want the photo to be blur, fix at 1/125s or even faster

    b) Aperture mode + compensation when the blur of photo is tolerant, particularly at night time without flash

    c) Manual mode + compensation when I am able to use speedlight. (I just bought my very first speedlight ;)

    d) Scenic mode - low key when I wish to capture mood at fast speed. And other scenic mode when I wish to study the settings for specific scenario that I can apply on my manual mode.

    I never use Program, automatic mode.

  • denise October 31, 2011 10:28 am

    I almost always shoot manual, except for the rare occasion when I have to shoot fast and the lighting conditions are constantly changing, then it's usually AP. But usually I can change my settings fast enough to keep up with the moments.

  • John St. Onge October 31, 2011 10:27 am

    None of the above.
    I almost always shoot shoot in TAv mode.
    What is TAv mode?
    On certain PENTAX dSLRs it appears on the mode selector knob along with Auto, P, Av, Tv, M, B, etc. When in TAv mode the photographer is able to select both the aperture and the shutter speed, and the camera automatically selects the ISO.
    It is fantastic. I can control the DoF/bokeh and the shutter speed, and on the PENTAX K-5 with its high dynamic range, from 80 to 51200 ISO it's great for street and sports photography.

  • Simnw October 31, 2011 10:26 am

    I've shot everything in manual since day one, for me it's the only mode a photographer should use, if you let your camera decide, then you're not making/creating the shot, but your camera is.

  • gipukan October 31, 2011 09:35 am

    Interestingly, In Africa I would use shutter preo first most of the time as there was always good light and animals and birds move fast. Now that we live in Europe again I use Aperture most. Reason Light sucks here in nl most of the time for my ef 100-400! My ef 20mm is doing fine tough :)

  • Spyros Heniadis October 31, 2011 08:26 am

    I'm the same way, I tend to shoot wide or nearly wide open, and depth of field is usually the first thing I'm looking at to shoot. After aperture my favorite mode is manual (when I'm shooting with strobes) and even then, aperture is my favorite setting. In my studio I usually set to sync speed and I'm off!

  • Sam October 31, 2011 08:14 am

    I'm about 50% aperture Priority, 49% manual (from shooting under strobes) and about 1% shutter priority. I find out of the three items to adjust for correct exposure (aperture, shutter speed & iso), aperture is the one with the most creative control which is why I sit on that normally. Shooting under strobes, there's not much choice unless using TTL, so it's all manual there for me (even with TTL, I often use manual too).

  • Gazza October 31, 2011 08:08 am

    I tend to start in Aperture Priority mode but have been using manual mode a lot especially when using a macro lense or flash

  • matabum, MaP blog October 31, 2011 07:59 am

    i love concert photography, so shooting in manual mode is the only choice for me.
    i won't be able to shoot pictures like this one using any of automatic mode on my nikon...


  • ISOterica October 31, 2011 07:53 am

    Similarly to Darren I shoot in Aperture priority because I am a bokeh junkie and want an out of focus background. All the rest I use equally depending on need to stop action or blur [Shutter], not think too much about it [Program] or control every little detail myself [Manual]. I rarely if ever use automatic mostly because it seems to over/under expose too frequently.

  • Ryan Gonzales October 31, 2011 07:50 am

    I will start in aperture priority for weddings or anything outside where light is constantly changing. This mode allows me to concentrate on capturing moments with have to worry about the technical as well.

  • Kerri October 31, 2011 07:27 am

    I find that now I am using a combination of Tv with auto ISO (I know, !gasp!) as well a M when light and such is more stable. I used to use Av a lot, but now only very rarely.

  • Tone October 31, 2011 07:26 am

    Aperture priority mode does what I need for about 80% of my everyday shooting, so that's what it's set to most of the time. For practicing new scenes and different techniques it's all over the place; scene modes, shutter priority, or straight up manual.

    I like Barry C's idea of using Program to get an idea of what the camera recommends, and will take that with me on future shoots...

  • Tim October 31, 2011 07:23 am

    I'm split about 50-40 between Aperture-priority and Programme modes, myself. It particularly helps given that I use old manual fast prime lenses and most of my work is more dependent on DoF, so I can leave the shutter-speed and ISO to balance themselves.

    The remaining 10% is a mixture of iAuto (a very Lumix thing), full-on manual (for long exposures) and shutter-priority.

    Except that actually by aperture-mode I mean C1 (Av with b&w preview, square framing), and by manual I mean C3 (M with defaults of ISO 160, f/8 and 1s)... :)

  • Johnny V. Fernandes October 31, 2011 07:05 am

    Manual mode is the only mode that allows you to make all of the decisions. Best advice I was ever given in college was "Any automatic function is not your friend"!

  • Allie October 31, 2011 06:59 am

    I jumped into manual from automatic to better learn how my camera works, and I have rarely looked back. Sure, it's slower, but most of my photography is done of still things, so its doable. In the very rare case I'm shooting candid events, I would likely go with AP.

  • amnesix October 31, 2011 06:41 am

    I use also the *very* mode TAV (Pentax only, sorry folks !). This mode allows me to specify my aperture and my speed : the camera adapts with the sensitivity (ISO).

  • Barry Cunningham October 31, 2011 06:32 am

    Usually start in Aperture Priority to control depth-of-field.
    Unless shooting subjects that are moving or I am moving, in which case I will start in Shutter Priority.
    If I'm shooting a panorama, I'll use Manual to keeps exposures constant across frames to minimize the amount of exposure level matching I have to do on the images before stitching them together.
    Occasionally, I'll shoot some test shots in Program to see what the camera has any good ideas that I've missed. But, I usually just take that as advice, which I'm free to ignore, and revert back to one of the other modes.

  • Bryan October 31, 2011 06:10 am

    Throwing the background out of focus with open aperture is my go-to setting. Lately it has been fun to shoot in manual mode for full control -- remembering that lower shutter speeds can be good for capturing action shots.