I many people kept telling me when I first started using my camera that I was not a photographer until after I was not ” stuck in auto mode”. I do not feel that automatic modes make you any less a photographer than using manual modes. I do feel that the manual modes do allow you more control over your end results in your photograph. Using your camera is a lot like learning to ride a bike. Very few people begins learning to ride a bike by jumping on it and right of the bat tackle learning all the parts. Most people learn by first having training wheels to help you learn to balance while you learn to pedal and steer. Then slowly the training wheels are lifted up as you learn to pedal and balance. Then your take of the training wheels and you are able to ride your bike.
Please do not be mistaken, I am not saying that automatic modes are like training wheels! Automatic modes are very useful technology that has not always been around for photographers to use. You can jump straight into manual mode if you would like, but most people are going to find it easier to first start with the basics and focus on taking good photos in each automatic mode. As our skills improve because we have a better understanding of what the camera is doing we can then start to understand the manual modes.
Automatic Camera Modes!!! For this blog, I will be using my camera the Canon Rebel T6 dial to as an example of the settings that you might find on a DLSR camera. While these may not be in the exact same order or the exact same icon that you find on all DLSRs these are some of the standard settings that you can find on most DLSR cameras.
The [ A ] and No Flash —
This is Auto mode is exactly that the camera is programmed to take the information that it is receiving from the sensor and adjust the Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speeds for you. With Auto it will sense when the flash needs to go off and will automatically activate the flash when needed. The no flash icon allows you to choose to have the image exposed without a flash firing, but works just like the auto mode otherwise.
CA stands for Creative Auto, this mode give you more control than Auto mode without having to be able to completely understand how to manually control your camera. It allows you to decide if the flash will fire, how bright you want the image, if you want the background in or out of focus, and if you want to take a single picture at a time or if you want to be able to do continuous shooting.
The Head –
Everyone loves those photos that we see where the person is in focus and the background is blurred. The head icon is for taking portraits anything waist up. This is auto mode that places the focus on your subject and blurs out the background. This mode also softens the skin tones by have one main plain of focus.
In order to do this the camera is set to a wide aperture. When the aperture is wide it means that the iris is a a large opening and the depth of field is shallow.
For the best results when using this mode you will need to pay attention to two things. One, make sure there is some distance between the person you are taking a picture of and the background. Instead of having the person stand against the brick wall, have them stand away from the wall by a few feet for example. Two, make sure that you check that the auto focus is focusing on the person’s eye. I this mode the field of depth is very shallow and where you focus is what will be clear. You want everyone to see the person’s eyes.
This mode is also know as landscape mode. Landscape mode is great for taking pictures of nature such as a scene with hills and a body or water or trees ect. In this mode the camera automatically choses a lower aperture. Which means the iris is closed more giving you a longer depth of field. Having longer depth of field means that you are able to keep things further away from you in focus.
The tulip is also know as the close-up mode. This is designed for getting those close up pictures of plant, insects, patterns in leafs ect. In this mode the camera chooses a wide aperture to blur the background. Because it also slows down the shutter speed as well so that the shutter is open longer it is best to use this mode with a tripod. When the shutter speed is slow it means that the camera is more susceptible to movement. Because any movement will result in a blurry picture.
Running man –
The running man is for shooting moving subjects. This can be used for many different things from you child who always seems to be moving when you are trying to take their photo to sports. In this mode you also want to make sure that you center the auto focus on the person you are taking a photo of. You also want to follow your subject with the the camera.
When you are in the fast mode what is happening is the camera is speeding up how quickly the shutter is closing. This is known as shutter speed. When taking pictures of moving subjects you have to increase how quickly the shutter closes in order to be able to freeze action and capture the subject clearly and avoid motion blur. There might be some motion blur seen in a person’s hands or legs while in this setting if the camera does not automatically pick a fast enough shutter speed.
Knife and Fork —
Some cameras have this mode others do not. This mode is for taking pictures of food. This is great for taking pictures of a birthday cake or other latest culinary creations. It not only gives you a wider aperture to give you the background blur but it also adjusts the white balance to make the food look more appealing.
Human and Star —
This is also know as night mode. Night mode not only slows down the shutter speed to let in more light to brighten the scene but it also uses a flash to help light ups the subject. In this mode it is usually best to have the person standing where there is other light behind the subject for example standing on the side walk of a down town street where at night time.
Now that you have a better idea of what each setting on your camera is for. Go out have fun! Play and learn! Don’t be afraid to try! Don’t be afraid to experiment!
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If you have other questions about photography or settings on your camera, don’t second guess yourself comment below! There are no bad questions! I am still asking others questions!
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