Understanding Camera Settings and What They Do

Cameras nowadays come with a variety of different settings, but unfortunately if you aren’t a photographer you may not know what each one of them does. By starting to understand your camera settings and the role they play however, you could improve the photos you’re able to take by leaps and bounds.

Automatic or Assisted Settings

The first set of settings that you need to know about are the automatic or assisted settings in the camera, and that is comprised of several different areas:

  • Shooting modes come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, but the two on every camera are the ‘Fully Automatic’ or ‘Fully Manual’ options that are self-explanatory. Aside from that your camera will probably have other shooting modes designed to capture portrait, landscape, sports, or other specific subjects.
  • Flash modes control the built-in flash in your camera, and by default most cameras use the ‘Automatic’ flash setting that will detect whether or not there is enough light and fire the flash if there isn’t. Aside from that other settings may attempt to reduce red-eye in images, provide bursts of flash, or disable the flash entirely.
  • Image enhancement modes previously were only available in high-end cameras, but nowadays are far more commonplace. Typically these modes will provide colour correction, noise reduction, and other improvements. While these tools won’t replace a photo editor for PC such as Movavi Photo Editor, they can help produce better images that require less editing later.

Manual Settings

If you want full control over how your photos turn out, you should try the manual settings as opposed to relying on the automated shooting modes. In the manual settings you’ll normal find several options, including the:

  • Shutter speed that defines how quickly the shutter opens and closes to let light in to expose the sensor. A fast shutter speed means a shorter exposure time.
  • Aperture that controls the opening which allows light to pass into your camera. It is measured using a f-stop value, where the smaller the number the larger the opening and the more light will be let in.
  • ISO speed is the sensitivity of the camera to light, where a lower setting means that it is more sensitive and requires less light to produce a clear image.

As you can see these settings essentially control how your camera sensor is exposed to light – which is what makes them so important. By narrowing the aperture you can increase the depth of field, and adjusting the shutter speed will let you handle low-light settings (slow) or capture quick movements (fast).

The ISO speed is the most finicky setting however, as if it is too high it could cause photos to contain a lot of noise.

Make no mistake there are lots of examples of camera settings out there that you can learn from – especially now that you understand what they are. The best way to really learn how to adjust the manual settings is by experimenting with them however – and observing the results for yourself.

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