Understanding your camera
For the first of many tutorials on Urbanpixels i’d like to start from the beginning for first time users the Mode dial on your camera may be a source of great confusion.
Understanding camera shooting modes can make a real difference to the quality of your images. Here is a guide to the 5 main shooting modes on your DSLR, and an explanation of what each mode does to your camera.
To start with, you’ll need to locate the dial on the top of your camera, with letters written on it. This dial will always include, at the very minimum, these four letters — P, A (or AV), S (or TV), and M. There will also be a fifth mode entitled “Auto”.
If you are using a bridge camera these settings may also be within the menus on your camera, not every SLR has a dial like above, but the modes will be in there somewhere.
Let’s look at what these different letters actually mean.
Manual mode means that you can adjust all functions to suit lighting conditions and other factors. However, using manual mode requires a good understanding of the relationships between different functions — in particular of the relationship between shutter speed and aperture.
You’ll have control over the shutter speed, and the camera will set the appropriate aperture for you.
Shutter Priority Mode is especially useful with sport and wildlife photography.
This mode is particularly useful if you’re concerned about having control over the amount of the image that is in focus (i.e. depth of field), and are photographing a stationary image that won’t be affected by shutter speed.
For example, in Program Mode, you could prevent the flash from firing automatically and instead raise the ISO to compensate for low light conditions, such as when you don’t want the flash to wash out the subjects’ features for an indoor photo.
Program Mode can really add to your creativity, and it’s great for beginners to start exploring the camera’s features.
In Auto Mode, the camera will set everything for you — from your aperture and shutter speed right through to your white balance and ISO.
It will also automatically fire your pop-up flash (if you camera has one), when needed. This is a good mode to use while you familiarize yourself with your camera, and it is particularly useful if you need to photograph something quickly, when you don’t have time to set the camera up manually.
Auto mode is sometimes represented by a green box on the camera dial.
Hit the tutorial section to learn more about your SLR and what you can do with it!More Tutorials