Panoramic/Stitch Mode allows you to take multiple shots of a wide panorama, as in a landscape photo, and then combine those images into one, using photo editing software.
Snow Mode is able to compensate for the light that reflects from snow.
Fireworks Mode captures all the color and wonder of fireworks displays.
Kids and Pets Mode gives you some control of the motion of your kids and pets, which won’t necessarily stand still for photos. A faster shutter speed is selected, and some cameras will pre-focus to overcome shutter lag.
Underwater Mode is great if you’re a digital photographer and a scuba diving or snorkeling enthusiast. It sets your camera’s exposure for the unique light conditions underwater.
Beach Mode adjusts the exposure of your vacation pictures for the beach environment, where light reflects brightly off the water and sand.
Indoor Mode selects a shutter speed and white balance that works best under indoor lighting.
Foliage Mode uses an exposure that gives colors more saturation, so they pop.
To become a better photographer, you should know as much about your digital camera as possible. Of course, that starts with reading the manual thoroughly. One of the critical bits of information you’ll learn is that your camera has more shooting modes than just the handy auto mode. Part 1 of this two-part series presented the first four modes; Part 2 explains the remaining.
Night mode will help you shoot digital photos when there is less light, which is often a challenge for many photographers. Also known as “slow shutter sync,” night mode combines a slower shutter speed (1/60, 1/30, etc.) with your flash. Think of a street fair or festival, where you want to photograph a person or a group of people against a background of flashing colored lights. Because there isn’t much light, your camera will allow more light to enter with that slow shutter speed, but also trip your flash, so there is a correct amount of light on the faces/bodies of your subject(s). That slower shutter speed may require that you use a tripod, or you can hold your camera, so its unsteadiness purposely causes the colorful, bright background to blur.
If you have a newer model of digital camera, then it may have a movie mode that allows you to shoot video and record sound. Typically, the video quality is in the middle range, but occasionally the story you want to tell in a digital photo is better in video, and you only have one opportunity to capture it.
Various digital camera models may have other modes that you should learn to use.
You may discover that your digital camera has a program mode, which can be the equivalent of full auto mode, or slightly different. Read your manual to learn how your camera is configured. Typically, program mode provides you with some control of the exposure components: ISO, white balance, flash, etc., while auto mode makes all the choices.
There are also a number of semi-automatic modes that will help you improve your digital photos. You’ll find a complete explanation and helpful hints about aperture priority mode and shutter priority mode in the article, Digital Photography—Taming the Three-Headed Exposure Monster, Part 5.
The primary purpose of that five-part series is to teach you how to shoot in manual mode, so you know how to select ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, flash etc., without any help from your camera. Once you can take your digital photos in manual mode, you’ll understand all these exposure components so well that you’ll know exactly when to use the many other shooting modes on your camera.
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