Time to Ditch Full Automatic Mode

In Essential Photography Skills and Tips by Dale Sinclair

Focus, Focus, Focus

For professionals without crisp, tack sharp focus, most photographs can be sent straight to the trash bin.

There are some ways to rescue photos that are slightly out of focus depending on the subject and intended use of the photograph; in other cases, the intent may be to blur the subject on purpose, but for the most part – mistakes should most likely be deleted to cut down on storage madness.

If the photo’s are for your own pleasure, focus can be less of a concern than capturing the moment in question, even for pros. But keep in mind, when you go to show these photos to friends, family or post on social media you will want your shots as pleasing as possible.

Full Automatic Mode

By referencing this term, full automatic mode, I am assuming the camera is set to the standard auto mode where you have no control over Aperture, Shutter, ISO or scene selection; the camera is set to use whatever focus points it deems necessary – usually picking the closest object; and the lens is also auto-focusing.

I will agree that this option is always advancing with the latest technology; from facial recognition to object tracking, the use of full automatic mode is improving all the time. Despite this, I am still going to try and convince you to STOP using full automatic mode and explain why.

Where To Begin?

Using full automatic mode will force your camera to best guess what it is you are trying to do. Typically, the camera will only get it right if you are shooting a photo in bright light requiring a large depth of field (crowd, landscape, etc). This really limits your creative potential when taking photographs.

Exmaple of a bad Photo

Auto Mode often results in a blurry mess.

For someone who doesn’t care to dig to deeply into their cameras features and more often than not, the only option available to adjust settings for smartphones and tablets is the use of a scene selection option.

Without using something as basic as scene selection, pictures of friends will often include a lot of background or foreground that have the potential to be more in focus than your intended subject. Other potential issues would be overexposure, underexposure and unwanted blur.

Read more on Scene Selection.

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