Introduction to Camera Modes: Other Modes

In addition to the modes you just learned. There are a few more that are in fact some sort of variation of automatic modes. If you want to be really serious into photography, you may probably want to skip these modes.

As mentioned before, most DSLR cameras have their modes on a dial located on the top right. There are of course exceptions. And in a point-and-shoot camera you would probably have to use the menu and your LCD screen to change them. If you can’t find a way to change these modes, check your manual because not all cameras have this option on the same place.

DSLR cameras may have very few extra modes while a point-and-shoot camera may have a lot more. But don’t let this concern you. Remember that these extra camera modes are a variation of an automatic mode. And even in some cases they are just photo retouching effects rather than actual camera modes.

Image: Camera modes may have an icon or a letter. Some common modes are the figure of a running man indicating that such mode is for sports or things in fast movement. Others will have a flower, which is usually used for things that are taken near your camera. If you have a point-and-shoot camera, you will find in your manual a description of what of these modes do. Again, not all modes are the same and are not found everywhere. Some modes may be so similar that only the name may be changed for marketing purposes.

Here are some common modes

Action or sports mode

This uses a faster shutter speed to capture action. It may also increase the ISO, which you will learn about it later in the exposure section.

Landscape mode

This will use a small aperture. You will learn with more detail that small apertures can make look backgrounds sharper than a bigger aperture. A sharp background is what you want in a landscape.

Portrait mode

This option widens the aperture and turns the background out of focus. Depending on the camera, it may recognize and focus on a human face automatically.

Night portrait mode

This option is for pictures at night. It will use an exposure long enough to capture background detail, with fill-in flash to illuminate a nearby subject.

Fireworks mode

As the name indicates, it is for you to take pictures of fireworks at night. In order to use it properly, you will need a tripod. This mode uses an extended exposure (around four seconds) which results in showing several fireworks as well as their paths.

Snow mode

This mode will compensate for the misinformation the white snow gives the light meter and it will increase the exposure so the subjects don’t look dark. We will talk about exposure later.

Macro or close-up mode

It may decrease the aperture and try to focus on closer objects.


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