aperture priority mode

What is Aperture Priority in Photography

Aperture is the opening between the lenses that lets the light into the image sensor. Wider the aperture opening, more light enters the sensor resulting in a brighter image and vice versa.

Camera Layout-1

It is measured in f-number (f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22); smaller f-number means wider aperture/opening and a larger f-number means smaller aperture/opening.


Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed form the Exposure Triangle that helps in creating the desired photograph.

Light Trinity

Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture Priority

Aperture Priority Mode, one of the photography basics, appears as A or Av on your DSLR mode dial. This mode gives you control over the Aperture setting. In this mode, you set the aperture according to your creative intent; the DSLR will set the shutter speed for you according to the lighting conditions to make correct exposure.

When to use Aperture Priority Mode

During Daytime

Aperture Priority Bird Photography

Use Aperture Priority Mode when there is good light. For instance, you are photographing a resting bird. You want to blur the background and make the bird stand out in your photograph, go for the widest aperture opening (smallest f-number) between f1.4 and f4 in your DSLR camera. Set the ISO to 100 or 200; DSLR will set the shutter speed for you. By using these settings, your subject (bird) will stand out and the Depth of Field will be shallow.

Landscape Photography

Aperture Priority Landscape Photography

For clicking pictures of landscapes, use Aperture Priority Mode. Since landscapes usually have a foreground or a backdrop and if you want everything in the scene to come out sharp, Aperture Priority Mode comes in handy. Go for the smallest aperture opening (largest f-number) say f16 or f22 in your DSLR camera. DSLR will set the shutter speed for you. With these settings, everything in your photograph will be in focus resulting in deep Depth of Field.

Portrait Photography

Aperture Priority Portrait Photography

For Portrait Photography, use Aperture Priority Mode. Similar to Bird Photography, you can use wider aperture opening (smaller f-number) in your DSLR camera for Portrait Photography. This way, your DSLR will focus on the person being portrayed, the subject stands out while the background appears blur.

When Not to use Aperture Priority Mode

At Night

In a Dark Room

To capture Night Landscapes

In Poorly lit environment

Instead, use Shutter Priority Mode to photograph under above conditions for good images.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Aperture Priority, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Aperture Priority with the help of practical examples.

Aperture Priority


When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express. 

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