All consumer/mass-market cameras, from the cheapest of pocket cameras to the massively expensive professional bodies, all have an automatic mode. This is the “default” mode of your camera, and will do all the thinking for you. The manufacturers spent thousands of hours and an insubordinate amount of money to make sure that when you are on this automatic mode, you get a “good” picture.
But “good” is not good enough. If it was, you would not be here.
This automatic setting is usually indicated by a green square on your camera’s dial, or by a “P” on your screen. (This “P” stands for “program mode”, but we often tease and say it is “P-for-professional”). Moving the setting away from “green” mode is the most important first step you can make towards becoming a better photographer. Green mode averages out everything, but who wants to be an average photographer?
Chances are, the moment you click your dial away from green mode, you will probably start getting horrendous pictures! Nothing will work the way you want to, and the temptation to put it back there where its green and safe can be overwhelming.
But this is where I come in. I intend to take you through the process of moving off green mode into the other modes. Aperture priority, shutter priority, and eventually, full manual.
For now, what you need to know is that we are moving off green mode, and we will never go back there again. Ever. Almost. Getting off green mode is taking the training wheels of your bicycle – you may fall down and scrape your knees, but once you learn to ride, you won’t need them again, ever!
A bit of Popcorn: As with everything in life, there is an exception. A rule without exception is an exception to the rule. I still occasionally shoot green mode”. It feels like blasphemy just saying that, but for things like event photography, or just making memories, green mode is fine. Where the mission is “to get a picture”, as opposed to image quality, I’ll get lazy and go green. But as said, this is for very specific applications where image quality is not my number one priority. See more of this in Section Two’s “Raw vs Jpg” lesson.