Use Aperture Priority in Macro Photography

In digital macro photography, aperture determines how much light enters your lens during an exposure, but it’s mostly known for its ability to control depth of field (how much of an area is in sharp focus). If controlling the amount of focus in a scene is important to your message, you need to control your aperture setting.

A large aperture (indicated by a lower f/stop such as f/2.8) produces an image with a shallow depth of field. A small aperture (indicated by a higher f/stop such as f/22) produces an image with a great depth of field.

Your camera most likely offers an aperture priority shooting mode, which is identified with the symbol A or Av. This mode enables you to select the appropriate aperture setting for your shot, while the camera chooses a shutter speed based on the exposure reading taken by the in-camera light meter.

Multiple types of meter modes are built into most digital cameras. To find out what your camera offers and which mode works best for your style of photography, refer to your owner’s manual.

The camera decides on a shutter speed to match your selected aperture to produce an image that’s exposed correctly. In the aperture priority mode, you can concentrate on creating an image with a specific depth of field worrying about getting the exposure right. This shooting method is ideal for situations with inconsistent lighting that require you to grab shots as you go.

Pay attention to the shutter speeds your camera selects when shooting in aperture priority mode and make sure you’re shooting at speeds appropriate for handholding the camera. If your shutter is too slow for capturing sharp results, fix the camera to a tripod or increase your ISO.

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