What Is Programmed AE Mode and How Is It Used in Photography?

When talking about photography the term ‘programmed AE’ refers to an automatic image metering mode which a camera can be set to when taking photographs. In programmed AE mode the camera evaluates the scene and automatically sets the shutter speed and aperture to values which will capture a correct exposure. Unlike fully automatic mode however programmed AE mode allows the shooter to choose between, or ‘program shift’ between various combinations of exposure settings for the current scene, thus allowing for more artistic control over the final image. A shooter could for example choose a combination which would allow for shallow depth of field, or a combination which would ensure more of the scene was captured in focus. Programmed AE mode is usually marked with a ‘P’ on a camera’s mode dial.

Programmed AE mode seen here, denoted by the letter ‘P’ on the camera mode dial.