Learn Your Cameras Various Shooting Modes

Most point-and-shoot cameras (and some DSLRs) have a number of special camera shooting modes (for example, Canon calls them "special scene modes") to help you take pictures in certain situations without having to set the camera manually. Examples include: Landscape, Portrait, Beach, and Night Portrait, and each generally has a descriptive icon, such as a face, runner, or mountain. These can be helpful to know, and are worth learning about, especially if you are not concerned about the science behind the modes. The best way to learn about what each mode does is to refer to your camera's manual or books/Web sites that go over each mode step by step [w1.16]. Also check whether specific modes will force your camera into JPEG shooting mode. You may not want that.

Many point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras have color modes that you can set that allow you to shoot in black-and-white (B&W), sepia, negative, etc., but I would discourage the use of them because you usually will be discarding the color information in your images. Instead, you should shoot in color mode. You can always make adjustments to your images in the computer or even at the lab where you bring your card or CD for output [w1.17].

Other picture modes available on many point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras allow adjustments to overall contrast, sharpness, and saturation in your images. These adjustments generally won't change your RAW files (they can later be reset to defaults in a RAW processing application), but making adjustments to these modes will affect your JPEG files, so consider that before you make adjustments to your camera's settings [w1.18].

Some common shooting modes that can be found on most DSLRs and many point-and-shoot cameras are Program, Auto, Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. I cover the last three in more detail in the following two tips.

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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