So you think because you use a regular digital camera and not a DLSR that you have no control, wrong! The reality is that many bloggers just don’t have the funds or the desire to use an expensive DSLR camera. Although I personally love my DSLR and think it is totally worth investing in I also recommend learning the basics of a point and shoot camera to have a good base to build your knowledge on. I will go over some basic settings and why your camera is set the way it is to help you get the images you want!
Let us start with the portrait setting. What does it mean? Well basically portrait mode is set with a shallow depth of field (if you have no idea what I am talking about please see What Really Makes a Great Photo?). When you look at most professional portraits the subject is in clear focus and the background is nicely thrown out of focus. This is due to the aperture setting. The wider your aperture opening, the more shallow the depth of field. Now because most point and shoot cameras do not have the ability to be set these functions manually your camera provides you with different pre-set settings. So if you are ever shooting and would like to have your subject in focus and your background out of focus, the portrait setting might be the one you are after.
Perhaps you are out shooting and you see a beautiful landscape, your wouldn’t want part of the image to be partly out of focus, you would want a nice sharp image with lots of detail. The landscape mode is probably your camera’s smallest aperture opening giving you a very in depth look at scene. This setting will allow your foreground middle ground and background to be in focus. For example in this picture of a waterfall I took in MA the foreground rocks, the middle ground water, and the background waterfall are all in focus.
Have you ever wanted to get a really detailed picture of an insect or a drop of water? Well macro mode will allow you to get extra close and zoom in nicely on tiny details. By switching to macro mode your camera adjusts it’s focal length allowing you to get extra close to a subject. So if you are trying to shoot water droplets on a flower then macro mode would be the best choice.
Night time pictures are very difficult. If you will be taking pictures in low light I do suggest a tripod. Most all point and shoot camers are able to be attached to a tripod which will make your shots much more clear and sharp. However you don’t always need a tripod and night mode isn’t always used for night shots. Night mode is good for a scene with low light. Often times when using a flash it can only travel so far, so your camera will expose the foreground nicely and the background will be very dark. However on night mode your camera attempts to expose the background that would normally make your foreground dark, and allows your flash to lighten up what would otherwise appear dark in the foreground. Because there is low light, your shutter speed is usually fairly slow so it can allow more light to enter. However with night mode & the flash it allows you to use a quicker shutter speed to eliminate some of the motion blur.
Program mode is the setting that gives the camera complete control. When you are framing in a picture your camera uses sensors to try to determine what type of scene you are shooting. It will do it’s best to decide if you are taking a portrait, a landscape shot, night time shot, etc… This setting is really for when you are not sure of the best settings, however I do advise trying out the others first.