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To view the entire course, upgrade to Premium or purchase it in the SLR Lounge Store.


Introduction

When shooting HDR images, there are two camera modes that you should shoot in: Aperture Priority or Manual Mode. If you are not comfortable shooting in Manual Mode just yet, then stick with Aperture Priority. In this article, we will discuss the differences and benefits between Aperture Priority and Manual Mode.

APERTURE PRIORITY

On the Canon 5D Mark III, we have turned the dial to “Av” which means we are shooting in Aperture Priority.

01_hdr-photography-shooting-in-aperture-priority

When you shoot in Aperture Priority, set your base ISO at the lowest possible native ISO setting. Once you have set your ISO, choose your aperture setting. Once you have set your aperture, the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed for each shot.

The key important difference in shooting in Aperture Priority is that the exposure will be adjusted by the metering mode. Depending on the metering mode we select (Spot Metering, Center-Weighted Metering, or Evaluative/Matrix Metering), the camera will determine the appropriate Median Exposure for us. Now, in this article, we will not be going over the different types of metering modes. However, stay tuned for our next article, where we will explain metering modes in depth.

Based on the metering mode selected, the camera will also vary the shutter speed for that Median Exposure. Because the camera determines the Median Exposure and the shutter speed for us, we will have less control when shooting in Aperture Priority. Exposure adjustments for the Median Exposure when in aperture priority must be made via Exposure Compensation. However, Aperture Priority is still a great mode to start shooting in if you are uncomfortable shooting in Manual Mode.

MANUAL MODE

On Canon 5D Mark III, we have turned the dial to “M” which means we are shooting in Manual Mode.

02_hdr-photography-shooting-in-manual-mode

If you are more comfortable with your camera and its settings, and have also shot in Manual Mode before, then choose Manual Mode when shooting HDR images. Like shooting in Aperture Priority, you will also select the lowest possible native ISO setting. After you have selected your ISO setting, dial in your aperture. However, in Manual Mode, you will control your own shutter speed to obtain your Median Exposure.

Instead of automatically adjusting the exposure settings like it does in Aperture Priority, the metering mode that you have selected will simply be a guide to help you dial in the appropriate Median Exposure when you shoot in Manual Mode. Shooting in Manual Mode will give you more consistent image exposures, as well as much more control in dialing in the perfect Median Exposure.

CONCLUSION

If you are not comfortable with your camera just yet, shooting in Aperture Priority will give you one less thing to worry about – the exposure. The metering mode that you have chosen will determine the Median Exposure needed in your image. However, practice shooting in Manual Mode to see what it’s like to control the exposure. Stay tuned for our next article on metering modes.

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