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Cameras 101: How to Determine Which Shooting Mode to Use


Oh snap! No matter what your lens is looking at, digital cameras now feature different programs for all kinds of shooting scenarios. Point-and-shoot cameras often offer a wide range of these user-friendly camera settings for any level photographers. Even if you can manually change your camera settings, an opportunity for a shot may suddenly arise. Shooting modes offer an instant change in aperture, shutter speed and ISO so you always get the perfect shot.


Using different shooting modes to get the most out of your camera

Continuous shooting

Continuous shooting mode takes a number of shots within a short period with a fast shutter speed. It's particularly useful for capturing moving subjects like people or cars. Think of it as a photo booth where you'll receive lots of shots within a few moments' time.


Continuous shooting mode

Shooting in portrait mode


This mode is perfect for taking portraits of people or snapping shots of individual subjects. This will give set your camera to take a picture with a large aperture, resulting in a blurred background and narrow depth of field. 



Landscape mode is nearly the exact opposite of portrait mode; instead of a narrow depth of field where only the subject is clear, you'll notice nearly everything is in focus. That's because you're using a small aperture. In some cases, a slow aperture may slow down your shutter speed. Consider using a tripod to get the clearest image possible.


Using your camera in landscape mode

Shooting in macro mode


Get up close and personal with macro mode. Macro will help you focus on small subjects at very short distances. Make sure to turn off the automatic flash, and take your time while you focus the camera. Any sudden movement may force you to refocus.



If you want to shoot at night or in dimly lit areas, simply switch to nighttime mode. Don't be alarmed if your camera quickly flashes, this is so it can see the subject and focus before you snap a picture. Since it uses a slower shutter speed to let in more light, you may need a tripod to produce a clear shot.


Using your camera at night

Taking pictures in sports mode


Sports mode, otherwise known as action mode, is meant for any moving subject. Some examples are sporting events, people, pets or any fast-moving moment you want to freeze in time. Sports mode works by increasing the shutter speed for an instant snap.



Panoramas stitch together multiple pictures to create one long image. This is often used to capture wide landscapes and large groups of people. The specifics of using this mode can vary among camera models, so check your manual on how to use panorama mode.


Taking panoramic pictures

Cameras 101: How to Determine Which Shooting Mode to Use