Beginners Photography – How To Start Using More Automatic Modes On Your Digital Slr!

In my previous Beginners Photography article I looked at the Automatic Modes available on your Digital SLR. These were the Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape and Close-up Modes. This article introduces the remaining Automatic Mode options. Bear in mind, that if you are new to photography, it makes sense to take some time to familiarise yourself with auto settings, and the situations in which to use them. This allows you the chance to concentrate on composition, for example, which, once mastered, would allow you to begin experimenting with manual options.The automatic modes appear as a series of icons on your Shooting Mode dial. Choosing one of these prepares the camera for specific situations. Let’s take a look at a further 3 of these modes and situations you would use them in.Sports Mode – running man icon. Although this is known as Sports Mode, it can be used to capture, and freeze, any moving subject. For beginners, photography of motion is a pleasing skill to get under your belt. Sports Mode is based on three principles: – continuous focusing, large apertures and fast shutter speed. In the majority of situations, the camera chooses settings that capture moving subjects well. There is some risk of digital noise (as ISO will be selected automatically) if the camera decides a very high ISO is required for your shot. You will need to frame your subject in the centre to ensure the continual focusing is on them.Night Portrait Mode – head and shoulders with a star icon. You can use this mode when out and about at night you want to photograph someone, but want some background scenery included. Full Auto Mode may fire the flash, potentially rendering your background completely dark. Night Portrait Mode tells the camera to choose a slower-than-normal shutter speed to let more light in, giving a more balanced feel. Ensure you have a steady hand to counteract camera shake. Also, automatic ISO is selected, so watch out for any digital noise levels. This mode also works well when taking portraits at sunset.Flash Off Mode – lightning with line through icon. At times, you may find yourself in a situation where light levels are low, but you don’t want to use flash. The use of flash may be restricted, as in a museum, or you just want to utilise available light. Flash Off Mode prevents the flash from firing. Using ambient light, the camera will adjust ISO accordingly to assist the exposure (again watch for any noise). If the shutter speed is slow enough to potentially cause camera shake, you should see a shutter speed indicator warning in the viewfinder and/or upper LCD panel. However, the many Image Stabilisation lenses available today allow for more than decent handheld results.

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