On many cameras, you will be able to select a specific type of scene setting. Each one of these settings changes the internal camera settings and exposure to archive the best results for each situation. The way you change these modes is different for every camera, sometimes it is a physical dial, often it is in the menu, but usually they are represented by small visual icons that looks similar to the action you are trying to shoot.

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Here are some examples of different ‘scene’ modes you might see in your camera.

 Portrait mode

This mode selects a decently open f-stop to archive less depth of field and exposes for medium to close subjects. Ideal for shutting people in lots of light. Sometimes certain cameras will pop out the onboard flash to fill the shadows in a darker situation. It is great for shutting portraits. It is like using auto-mode but a specific one.

Macro mode

It selects a mid-range aperture so more can be in focus and meter exposure for the whole image. The camera expects you’ll to be pretty close to whatever you’re taking so it will try to expose for the entire frame.

Landscape mode

The camera will be ready to focus far and set to a high f-stop in order to get more things in focus and an overall exposure for a large wide area.

Sports mode

In this mode the camera will tend to pick a faster shutter speed, so it can freeze the action. This works great when shooting kids and pets as well. It will need a bright area to really function well since it is picking a fast shutter and won’t let a lot of light in.

Night mode

This setting usually selects a high ISO and a slow shutter to get as much light in as possible for the night scenes.

Fireworks mode

This sets both the aperture and shutter to the best results for shutting fireworks. Some cameras will adjust the ISO for this setting as well, so be conscious it is not too high.

Beach and snow mode

Knowing that these situations are brighter than normal, the camera will select a fast shutter speed and close the f-stop and sometimes select a very low ISO to make sure things will not be too blur out or too bright.

Panoramic mode

This setting will allow the camera to do a swipe across taking multiple photos of a panoramic scene and then stitch them together in the camera. Sometimes this mode only just changes the way you are shooting but it doesn’t necessarily change the way of exposing so it must be done manually.

Continue to lesson 38: File types: RAW vs JPEG

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