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Shooting in Auto is not a Sin

You will survive the experience unharmed, and you just might get the shot you could otherwise have missed

January, 2020

You are NOT less of a photographer simply because you choose to use a camera on Auto.

I’ve sat in many photography classes with live instructors for all levels of photography, and it is impossible to count all the other seminars or video tutorials I’ve been an audience to. Almost to a person, all these instructors had one common piece of advice, even insistence: never shoot in Auto mode.

The most important take away I have from all my instructors is simple; take their advice for exactly what it is, then do what your heart tells you.

With that, I almost always shoot in some type of manual mode, mainly Aperture priority or full Manual, though I often leave my ISO on Auto. Is that more manual than auto? Who cares!

In some of the fast moving work I often do, from portraits to weddings, and in situations such as a wedding recessional where in one moment I am shooting inside a church and the next I am shooting the same couple stepping outside for the first time as spouses, the most important aspects of the final image are the overall design elements, how subjects are composed, and how they express themselves. And of course are they in focus.

Even if you are not shooting portraits or events of any kind, it is no sin to shoot in Auto. The only sin is to miss capturing a moment merely because of this fixation on shooting in Auto, or not.

Camera technology is constantly improving, and as of this writing in 2020, auto focus, especially facial and eye recognition technology, is one area that is a high priority of camera manufactures, especially those who disguise their cameras as phones. It’s silly to not take advantage of all these advances just as it’s silly to not let the same technology also work to your favor when it comes to exposure.

Shooting in Auto does not make you less of a photographer, and in the end, it will be the actual image you created, if you in fact did create one, anyone will care about for how it made them feel, and not for how you took it.


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