One of the first things I suggest doing is to sit down and learn your camera. If it were me with a brand new DSLR I would go through the manual. Love the manual, it is your friend. For now little by little I’ll tell you what it says 🙂
If you have a DSLR, your camera dial looks something like this.
Many people use their camera dial without truly knowing what it is doing. You can get great photos using these dials and there is a reason why they are on there.
Auto Modes – Camera Controls
The Auto button (the green button) takes full control. It evaluates a scene and meters itself and creates the settings. You do not adjust the controls at all, the camera will do it for you and it may pop up the flash. This can work or not! This is best used when you are running around in daylight at a state fair and you need to take quick pictures. Many times images are backlit or overexposed. Every once in awhile you could get a winner.
I put my camera on auto and handed it off to my sister-in-law so I could be in the photo. The auto choose the arch as the more important subject matter and we are hidden in the shadow.
Program Mode is a lot like Automatic mode – the camera will still do most of the setup work for you — but it allows you to manually override some settings. I am a big fan of using the Program Mode when I am in a low light situation but need to get the photo fast. I can decide I don’t want anything above 800 ISO so the grain won’t show up too much in my images. If you didn’t understand any of that, don’t worry, I’ll get to all of it. Icon = P
I couldn’t miss that face!
Portrait Mode – Icon = a head in profile. Use this mode when you want a subject in the foreground in sharp focus. Pretty straightforward. If you have good light, a still subject, and the main focus of the image will be a face, use Portrait Mode.
Check, check, check. Good light, beautiful still model, and the image is focused on her beautiful face…Portrait Mode is a good choice.
Macro Mode – Icon = a flower. Use this mode for extreme close-up shots. This is great for your still objects. Again, you need to watch your light. Most lenses that come with your DSLR are not specifically macro lenses, but this mode will allow for better close up images. To really get the eye of a bug image, you will need a macro lens.
Notice how blurry the background is. This is because the macro mode is focused on the butterfly.
Night Scene Mode – Icon = starry field. Use this mode when you’re shooting a subject at night. This setting illuminates the subject with the flash, while keeping the shutter open longer to provide more light for the background. Remember when the shutter is open longer you can create blur in your image if you or your subject are not still.
I am not a big fan of the ‘pop-up’ flash that most camera have built into them. I try to avoid using it at all costs, but sometimes there is a use for it. You can actually see the flash reflecting off the dancers head in this image.
Sports Mode – Icon = a running figure. Use this mode for shooting scenes with lots of motion, which you want to capture without blurring. This mode does not exist on earlier models of Canon cameras.
Landscape Mode – Icon = mountains. Use this mode when you want a wide-angle shot with the background in focus.
For practice try to use each one of these modes this weekend. Let me know how it goes.
Next… the creative side of the dial.