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Camera Shooting Mode, Simple Explanations
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Camera Shooting Mode, Simple Explanations

A few months back I asked a few people I knew to tell me what they thought the different features on a camera were, and what the features did.

I found that the one thing they got incorrect the most was the settings on the Shooting Mode dial. There are some fairly standard settings on the dial, but occasionally with new cameras there are new settings. I'm going to focus on the standard settings for now, since there can be quite a bit of variation.

Starting with Auto and working clockwise; (See photo)

Auto- On some cameras this is designated by (A) or (Program) This is the mode most people use. It’s the “Easy” button. In Auto mode your camera does all the work but actually taking the picture for you. Auto will set shutter speed, aperture, white balance, decide if flash is needed. All you have to do is push the button. The downside is you have no creative control over the settings, but for most people this works best, and will result is great pictures.

Portrait- The camera again decides on settings that are best to get a portrait photograph. The camera will attempt to blur out the background to allow all the focus to be on your subject.

Landscape- The camera chooses the settings to allow more of the photo to be in focus. The camera will try to keep even smaller details in the foreground and background in focus.

Macro/Close-Up- This setting is for taking photo’s of small objects (Such as a flower), or closeup photos (Such as a sleeping baby). See my post on close-up photo’s.

Sport/Motion- This is a great setting for photographing always moving children in lower light :) But this setting is designated for action photo’s like sports. This setting will adjust the shutter speed to take the pictures faster.

Night Landscape- This is not standard mode, but this setting is designated for Night landscapes. Landscapes in low light, such as a cityscape. The camera will adjust to show more of the photo in focus (Foreground, Background) to allow more detail, while slowing the shutter speed down. When using this mode, you should use a tripod, or shutter release remote. Even the slightest movement will blur the photo.

Night Portrait- Again not usually a standard setting. This mode is for shooting people in low light settings. I don’t know if I would ever use this setting. Movement and low light is a very difficult combination to work with. If you try to use this mode, I again suggest a tripod and/or shutter release remote.

Manual- This setting gives you Complete control over all the settings on the camera. If you adjust shutter speed, you must also adjust the aperture, the camera will not choose any settings for you. This is usually for the amateur to the professional photographer.

Aperture- On some cameras this setting is designated as (Av) This setting allows you some control. You decide the aperture setting, while the camera will decide the Shutter speed for you. This is a good setting to play with, if you want to try to focus in on your subject while blurring out the background.

Shutter Speed- On some cameras this is designated as (Tv). This setting allows you to determine the shutter speed, while the camera determines the aperture. This is useful if you want a faster shutter for moving objects or a slower shutter in lower light.

Program mode- Not all cameras have this setting. It’s very similar to Auto, and on some camera’s where Auto is not on the shooting mode dial, Program takes the place of auto. But when both are present, Program chooses most of the settings for you, but you can adjust things such as white balance and flash.

I hope this helps. It’s fun to try and experiment with different settings.


Street Talk

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