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Learn How to Master Your Digital SLR Camera Settings

Modern day digital cameras are available with a myriad of settings that would be enough to confuse most amateur photographers. As a matter of fact, it is normal to see even the pros experimenting with these settings several times before they can get the right image quality.

So, here is a look at some digital camera settings that you absolutely must know.

The little icons on top of your digital camera what do they mean?

If you have just bought yourself a digital camera, chances are that you may still be struggling to understand all the tiny icons on it and what these modes are capable of doing.

So, listed below are the popular camera modes:

Automatic Mode: The name says it all; the automatic mode hardly needs an introduction, since you are letting the gadget take care of all the hassles for you.

When you choose the auto mode, it tells your camera about the various features to be used for a specific shot including the aperture and ISO settings, the shutter speed, the white light setting and overriding flash or the inclusion of red eye reduction.

While this is the simplest way to click a picture, you can never be sure about the end result when using this mode because you have not dictated what you want the camera to do instead you allow the gadget to make its own choices

The Portrait Mode: As the name suggests, this mode is ideally used for portrait style images.When you choose this mode, you tell the camera to increase the size of the aperture, so that the subject is the focus while the background may be blurred.

If you are taking shots in broad day light, you might want to use the flash particularly when shooting in the sun. It is also essential to understand that the portrait mode works best when you are no more than a few feet away from your subject.

The Landscape Mode: Once again, your camera will choose the ideal settings for a given type of image. In the landscape mode, the camera sets the aperture setting to low, providing images with depth of field.

Other modes available in cameras include:

The macro mode; this will help you to get closer and more intimate shots of your subject. The mode is appropriate for taking pictures of flowers, insects and small objects where you need clarity.

The sports mode which lets you shoot moving images; you will find that the movement is frozen in this mode so although it is appropriate for sports photography, the images may lack character as they appear flat and two dimensional.

The night mode lets you click pictures with little or no external light and the movie mode helps you to take pictures of moving subjects. However, pictures taken in this mode can truly hog up your drive space.

Some uncommon modes seen in certain camera brands include; panoramic mode, fireworks, pets, snow and even underwater mode.

The semiautomatic modes include:

Aperture Priority Mode: In this semiautomatic mode, you choose the aperture while all the other settings are made in tandem with your choice by the camera. This mode can be used when trying to influence the depth of the image. For instance, choosing a higher aperture setting will lead to a slower shutter speed and vice versa.

Shutter Priority Mode: In this mode, you choose the shutter speed while the camera chooses the aperture and ISO settings for you. Shutter speed is used to control the amount of light entering the camera and consequently the depiction of movement in the image.

The Manual Mode: This is where all the fun finally begins as you get to choose your own settings hence, you will be able to predict the outcome of a shot almost accurately, joining the ranks of the experts. However, you will need to have in depth understanding of the various camera settings that will impact the quality of the images.

The settings that you absolutely must know

Exposure Bracketing: This setting will let you take several shots at varying exposure levels.

Histograms: These graphs can be used to judge the exposure of an image without resorting to the use of highly unreliable LCD screens

Burst mode: This is an uncommon mode unless you have a very high end gadget on your hands. When available, the mode helps you to shoot many individual frames per second; ideal for capturing action.

RAW File Format: choosing this format will help you to store the images with more detail that regular JPEG pictures.

White Balance: This setting helps you to choose the color quality of the images from natural to warm or cool.

While you can get all the setting related information about your camera through the manufacturer manual, using these settings to take timeless photographs is another ball game and like all other art forms the only way to excel at photography is through practice, so get the camera out and start clicking away.

What’s Next?

Now that you know the basic settings of your camera, let’s continue with some tips to properly handle your camera