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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 17 of 51

Aperture Priority Exposure Mode

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

17. Aperture Priority Exposure Mode
Using modes such as aperture priority is often both faster and simpler in manual mode. See why Chris uses aperture priority mode most often.


Lesson Info

Aperture Priority Exposure Mode

when I arrive on location, the first thing I do is work out my fastest and slowest shutter speeds. Given the available light in my preferred I S O, I set the camera toe aperture priority exposure mode and I said the lens aperture to the widest setting and make a mental note of the shutter speed. This is the fastest speed available to me. Then I changed the absence of the smallest setting and again make a mental note of the shutter speed in. This is the slowest speed available to me now. This simple exercise very quickly tells me my shutter speed range for the conditions I'm working in. And that's important because as a wildlife photographer, shutter speed is almost always my dominant variable. Now you're probably confused. If shutter speed is my dominant variable, why don't I work in shutter priority exposure mode? The average lens has between six and eight. Stop variation and aperture from somewhere around 2.8 to about F 22. Most digital cameras have a 19 stop range in shutter speed f...

rom 30 seconds to 1 8000 With so many shutter speed, options is very easy to set a shutter speed for which there is no corresponding lens aperture available. For example, an average lighting. My shutter speed might be from 1/4 of a 2nd 11 thousands in very bright light. That range might be 1/30 June 8000 and in low light, it could be one second 21 2/50 in each of these scenarios. If I said to shutter speed outside of the available range, which is very easy to do when the cameras set to shut a priority mode, the camera will either continue to take pictures, all of which will be either under or overexposed. Or it will lock the shutter button and stop me taking pictures at all, neither of which is good by working an aperture priority mode. Because there are so few lens apertures compared to shutter speeds, there are very few lighting scenarios where there isn't an available shutter speed. Remembering that as I change lens aperture, the cameras automatically changing shutter speed, forming it shut us me that I'm looking at because shutter speed is my dominant variable. Now it may be that the shutter speed I want isn't available, but because I'm in control of the situation. I could make a decision about how I deal with that. So I could, for example, change. I s o I am in control, and that's the reason I almost always shoot in aperture priority exposure mode.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!