Once you make the jump to Program Mode you will need to start making some of the decisions. The camera will still control a lot for you, but there are some things you need to take charge of. The first thing you’ll start controlling yourself is the flash. No longer will the camera automatically pop up the flash when it thinks it needs to. You’ll start making that decision. This seems pretty basic at first–and it is. When you need the extra light then you pop up the flash. But you can also start getting creative with your pictures as well by controlling the flash. Let’s think about how this will make you a better photographer.
Since you will need to manually turn on the flash now, you are forced to make a conscious decision about whether or not you are going to use it. It also gets you thinking about how the light impacts your pictures. There is tons of information and tips on when to use the flash and when not to, but the best thing to say about it is to test it out–and test it out in situations that wouldn’t normally use (or not use) it. See what it looks like in a low light situation if you don’t use the flash–or see what it’s like in a high lit area with the flash on. Often you won’t like the results, but there are times when you’ll get a great picture from testing it out. One example is on faces and shadows where you have enough natural light, but a flash can remove some of the unwanted shadows or fill in the light around the face better.
So make the switch to Program Mode and start paying attention to light. You’ll find that it becomes one of the first things you think about as you take more and more pictures. Like we mentioned before, we recommend that you start taking pictures a lot slower so you can get a feel for how the settings actually change your picture. If you’re in a hurry–maybe you should switch back to auto for a bit. But if you want higher quality pictures and have the patience Program Mode is a great start!