Program Modes Make A Photographer Lazy


Most modern cameras have Program Modes – pre-programmed, automatic settings to help the layman take better pictures.  These modes may include things like Portrait Mode (mid-to-narrow depth of field), Landscape Mode (wide depth of field) and so on.  But you are a photographer – you have little or no use for these modes.

Now I’m not preaching that you should be using full Manual mode – there are some semi-automatic modes that are appropriate.  Manual mode has its place when you have time to set up a shot, but that is not always the case.  I would content that the semi-automatic modes that every photographer should learn are Aperture Priority mode and Shutter Priority mode.  I would be willing to bet that you will find yourself using one of these two modes most often.

But if you find yourself wanting to explore the depths of the pre-programmed modes, you should check yourself.  Are you taking photographs?  Or are you just taking snapshots?  (Note:  My feeling is that snapshots are for personal and family memories while photographs are artistic and appeal to a much larger  audience).  If you’re just taking snapshots, I’ll let you slide.  But if you’re trying to take an artistic photograph, you will not find the necessary amount of control of your shutter and aperture to get the shot that you desire.

My main complaint about pre-programmed modes is that amerture photographers realize that they can very easily take decent pictures with these modes, but then they never grow as a photographer.  To me, that is sad.  On the flip side, a photographer that sticks with one of the Semi-Automatic modes (Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority) will find that they have just the right amount of control to truly grow as a photographer.

Let your knowledge and skills grow.  Avoid the pre-programed modes.


About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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