One of the basics of photography is knowing what each mode on your camera is used for. It is surprising to me how many people own nice cameras and don't know how to use the different modes and features that made the camera so expensive in the first place. Because of this I decided that I will go over the different modes on the camera dial. There are two types of modes on cameras
automatic and creative modes. The automatic are easier to operate because they automatically set the settings on your camera to the specific shot based on the mode that you choose. The creative modes let you choose the settings of the camera and give more flexibility and creativity.
Automatic - This is a fully automatic mode that the camera sets all the settings solely based on what it detects during each different lock. This mode is the worst mode that you can shoot in because you are not giving the camera any additional information besides telling it that you are taking a picture. I would never suggest using this mode unless you feel that you absolutely don't understand anything about photography or the different modes at all.
Portrait - usually depicted as a womans head on the mode dial. This mode automatically give you as large an aperture as possible (low f/stops) to blur out the background because of the narrow depth of field that it creates. This will make the person that you are taking a picture of the central focus of your image. This mode is designed for taking pictures of a single person, not groups.
Macro - usually depicted by a flower on the mode dial. This mode lets you take close up pictures and still have them in focus. In this mode the camera will set you aperture wide open giving you as very shallow depth of field. Due to the shallow depth of field it is ideal to have a tripod because moving the camera at all can make your subject go out of focus. Using the built in flash in macro photography is a bad idea and will most likely wash out your photograph.
Landscape - usually depicted as mountains with a cloud on the mode dial. This mode is pretty much the opposite of portrait, it sets the camera to a small aperture (large f/stop) which give you a wide depth of field so that your entire image is in focus. This mode can often have long shutter speeds due to the small aperture which makes a tripod a very good thing to have. I tripod is good to haProxy-Connection: keep-alive
anyway because it will help make you image less blurry because it will take out shaking due to hand movement and it will make you slow down and think about your shot more before you take it.
Sports/Action - usually depicted as a runner on the mode dial. This mode is used to capture fast moving objects such as people playing sports, children, pets, wildlife, and anything that moves. This is achieved by the camera setting a faster shutter speed. To be able to get a even clearer image you can try to focus the camera were your subject is going to be ahead of time. You could also pan the shot by moving the camera along with the subject. These techniques take practice.
Night Portrait - usually depicted as a person with a star behind them on the mode dial. This mode sets your camera to a slow shutter speed and uses a flash to light up your foreground and subject. Due to the slow shutter speed your images can be blurred and your background will unless you use a tripod.
Program - usually a P on the mode dial. This mode is similar to Automatic mode and sometimes is automatic mode. On cameras were there is both program usually gives you a little more control over features such as flash, white balance, ISO, ect. To know exactly what your program mode does check your user manual.
Shutter Speed Priority - usually a Tv or S on the mode dial. This is a semi-automatic (or semi-manual) mode. It lets you set the shutter speed while the camera sets aperture, white balance, ISO, ect. You can still change most of the settings manually, but you can't change aperture. Set a fast shutter speed (big number) to take pictures of fast moving objects. Set it to a slow shutter (use a tripod to keep the image clear) speed to take pictures of things such as a waterfall or a river. It can also be used to make the picture brighter.
Aperture Priority - usually a Av or A on the mode dial. This is a semi-automatic (or semi-manual) mode. It is pretty much the opposite of Shutter Speed priority. In this mode you adjust the aperture in measurements of f/stops. The smaller the f/stop the the shallower the depth of field (I will explain aperture and depth of field in an upcoming post in more detail) and the more light it lets in. The larger the f/stop the larger the depth of field and the less light let in. The shutter speed will most likely be opposite the aperture so the more larger the aperture (smaller f/stop) the shorter the shutter speed and the smaller the aperture (bigger f/stop) the longer the shutter speed (use a tripod to reduce blur).
Manual - usually a M on the mode dial. In this mode you set all of the settings on the camera. This mode gives you the most flexibility but you have to know what you are doing to make your pictures turn out right.