Using Scene Modes on a dSLR

In automatic mode, the digital camera tries to figure out what kind of photo you want to take by evaluating what you see through the lens. If you don’t want to rely on your camera to make that judgment, you may be able to choose from several scene modes, which define settings designed to capture certain scenes in ways that are traditionally considered best from a creative point of view.
For example, most people prefer images that have soft focus backgrounds. So in portrait mode, the camera determines the settings that can produce this type of background.
For the most part, shooting in scene modes involves the same process as using the auto mode — but there are some differences to understand, so the following four sections explain the most common scene modes.
You can select the scene mode you want to use either from a dial on the camera or via the camera menus. Check your camera manual to see what the scene mode icons look like on your camera and also to discover any other scene modes that may be available to you.

portrait mode
Portrait mode attempts to select exposure settings that produce a blurry background, putting the visual focus on your subject. However, in certain lighting conditions, the camera may not be able to choose the exposure settings that produce the soft background. Additionally, background blurring requires that your subject be at least a few feet away from the background. The extent of background blur also depends on other depth-of-field factors.
Check your camera manual for other image adjustments that can be applied in portrait mode. Most cameras adjust color and sharpness in a way designed to produce attractive skin tones and smooth skin texture.
If you are shooting a group and not all of your subjects are placed close to the focus point, be sure to use portrait mode. You may end up with a very shallow depth of field, which leaves some subjects a bit blurry. Your best bet is the automatic mode.
Also, if you’re not sure that your subject will stay still, you may get better results with Sports mode, which is designed to capture moving subjects without blurring. However, the background may not be dimmed in this mode.

landscape mode
While portrait mode aims for a very shallow depth of field (a small area of ​​sharp focus), landscape mode, which is designed for capturing breathtaking views, city vistas, and other wide-ranging subjects, produces a significant depth of field. As a result, objects near the camera and far objects appear sharply focused.
Like portrait mode, landscape mode achieves greater depth of field by manipulating exposure settings — specifically, aperture, or f-stop setting. So how well a camera can keep everything in sharp focus depends on the available light and the range of aperture settings that the lens offers. In the meantime, know that you can also expand the depth of field by zooming out to a wider viewing angle and moving away from your subject as well.
On most cameras, landscape mode also increases contrast and adjusts colors to produce more vibrant blues and greens. Additionally, the flash is usually disabled in landscape mode, which is only a problem if you need some extra lighting on an object in the foreground of the scene.

Zoom mode
On most cameras, the zoom mode – also known as the macro mode – is represented by a small flower icon. On some point-and-shoot cameras, selecting this mode allows you to focus at a closer distance than usual. For a dSLR, the camera’s close-focus capabilities depend entirely on the lens you’re using. But in either scenario, your camera guide or lens should show exactly how close you are to your subject.
Choosing this mode usually results in exposure settings designed to blur background objects so that they don’t compete for attention with your main subject, as with a wedding cake. Again, note that the background table is significantly blurry – which helps this photo hugely because if all of these objects are in sharp focus, they’ll compete with the cake for eye attention.

As with portrait mode, the amount of background blur varies depending on the capabilities of the camera, the distance between your subject and the background, and lighting conditions. If you prefer a greater or shorter depth of field, adjust this aspect of your images.
Unlike portrait and landscape modes, zoom mode generally doesn’t turn on with colors, so they appear similar to how they would appear in auto mode. You may or may not be able to use the flash, and the area of ​​the frame used to create the focus varies, so check your manual for how to implement this mode on your model.

Sports Mode
Sports mode, sometimes called motion mode, produces a number of settings that can help you photograph moving subjects such as a soccer player. First, the camera sets a fast shutter speed, which is necessary to “stop motion”.

On some cameras, calling in sports mode also selects some other settings that make it easier to shoot action. For example, if your camera offers burst or continuous capture mode, where you can record multiple photos with a single press of the shutter button, Sports mode may automatically switch to that gear. The flash is usually disabled, which can be a problem in low-light situations; However, it also enables you to take successive photos more quickly because the flash needs a short period to recycle between shots.
The other important thing to understand about Sports Mode is that its ability to freeze movement depends on the available light. In low light, the camera may need to use a slow shutter speed to display the image properly, in which case the chances of freezing motion won’t be great. On the other hand, some motion blur may be acceptable at times and add to the motion effect.