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Camera Shooting Modes Explained

Understanding Camera Shooting Modes:

Probably you got a digital camera for Christmas and looking at all those buttons and dials and thinking “What are they?” or “What do P, S/TV, A/AV and M stand for”. You are absolutely right. They are very confusing! It is very important to understand what your camera can do and to know how to unleash its power. Here is the first step for you to take better pictures with your digital camera.

Camera Shooting Modes
You may look at these letters and symbols and get confused. It is normal. You need to learn your cameras language!

Almost all digital cameras have some sort of controls for shooting. In this tutorial, I am going to explain one of the most important ones. It is called “Shooting Modes”.

Camera Shooting Modes:

Omnilargess Digital Photography Classes
Digital Photography Bootcamp is an 8 week program and includes 2 field trips, one for daytime photography and one for night time shooting.


Right out of the box, most cameras are set to AUTO (or Green Mode)! In this setting, the user has no control over the camera’s decisions! The user will simply point and shoot. That is why it is called ‘Point and Shoot’ mode. In most cases you will end up with average photos, or pictures that you don’t really like.

2- P or Program

Program is like the AUTO mode, but it gives you a little control over the Shutter speed or Aperture, White Balance, ISO, and Metering. If you need to take a quick picture and don’t have time to set your camera, I prefer Program over AUTO!

3- S, SV, TV

This is “SHUTTER PRIORITY”. In this shooting mode you select the shutter speed and camera adjusts the Aperture for you. It is the best mode for shooting sports, action shots, or slow shutter to create motion blur.

4- A, or AV

This is “APERTURE PRIORITY” mode, where you select the Aperture value and the camera selects the right shutter speed for you. Aperture priority is very useful in Portrait and Landscape photography where you want to control the Depth of Field.

5- M, or Manual

In this setting you have to control both the shutter speed and the aperture. The camera does not have any control over these settings. You should constantly check your exposure and adjust it.

In Digital camera bootcamp for beginners in February, I will explain more details about digital camera settings and controls. It is an 8 week program which answers all of your questions. Come and join us for a fun workshop on digital camera shooting modes. Check our upcoming classes for more information.


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