Program mode is recommended for beginning DLSR photographers

If you are new to using a DSLR camera, plan to switch from a fully automatic mode to Program mode and learn how to control more of your camera’s functions. Program mode continues to give you good exposures while allowing you a little more freedom in some of the advanced abilities of the camera.

When the novelty of the camera has worn off and you are ready to move from Auto, switch the dial over to Program (or P mode) and find out what your camera can do.

What Can You Do in Program Mode?

Program mode (the “P” on the mode dial of most DSLRs) means that the camera still sets the exposure for you. It chooses the correct aperture and shutter speed for the light available, so your shot is correctly exposed. Program mode also unlocks other functions that give you more creative control over your images.

The advantage of Program mode is that it allows you to learn about other aspects of your DSLR without having to worry about getting your exposure perfect. It is a significant first step in learning how to get your camera off the Auto setting.

Program mode gives you control over several key elements: flash, exposure compensation, ISO, and white balance.


Unlike Auto mode, where the camera decides if flash is needed, Program mode allows you to override the camera and choose whether to add pop-up flash. This can help you avoid overly lit foregrounds and harsh shadows.

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