Camera Setting Modes
Mastering photography basics camera settings is the first step toward taking great pictures. Virtually all digital cameras sold these days from high-end DSLRs to tiny pocket-sized point and shoot digital cameras come with several different modes that can be used by the photographer to tweak the camera's settings for almost any occasion. The various shooting modes have made the choice between auto and manual mode more difficult.
Over time, these different shooting modes have become standardized to a certain degree among all camera manufacturers. Even cameras designed for beginner photography have most of these settings.
Camera modes are set on most DSLRs via dial on top of the camera body. On smaller point and shoot cameras, modes are selected via buttons and menus on the back or on a touchscreen.
Fully Automatic Mode
The most common of all digital camera settings is full auto. The fully automatic mode allows all of the technologies and sensors built into the camera to do all of the work. Everything from exposure to aperture to shutter speed to ISO are set automatically according the camera's sensor readings and software. One might think that the results from automatic mode would be worse than more manual camera settings, but that is often not the case. Particularly during those events when snapshots come fast and fleeting, automatic mode can be the best option for even professional photographers looking to capture everything from adorable kids giggling to four generations of women toasting the moon.
When the photographic composition calls for more discretion on the part of the photographer, a camera's semi-automatic modes become the best options for taking pictures. The two keys to every photograph are how wide the shutter opens and how long the shutter stays open.
While several combinations of shutter speed and aperture give the same exposure, they do not give the same photo. Faster shutter speeds can freeze the action resulting in crystal clear kiddos flying a kite. Wider apertures reduce the depth of field resulting in blurry backgrounds that allow the viewer to focus on what the picture was actually taken of.
For situations where stopping the action is required or more or less depth of field is necessary, setting the camera to one of these modes results in the best pictures. For photographing sporting events or other fast moving subjects, set the camera to its manual shutter speed mode, usually called shutter priority mode. Camera settings for taking portraits or other up close and personal shots with busy backgrounds use aperture priority mode.