A Guide to the Five Main Shooting Modes on Your DSLR

Understanding camera shooting modes can make a real difference to the quality of your images. Here is a guide to the five main shooting modes on your DSLR, and an explanation of what each mode does to your camera.

To start with, you’ll need to locate the dial on the top of your camera, with letters written on it. This dial will always include, at the very minimum, these four letters — P, A (or AV), S (or TV), and M. There will also be a fifth mode entitled “Auto”. Let’s look at what these different letters actually mean.

Auto Mode

This mode pretty much does exactly what it says on the dial. In Auto Mode, the camera will set everything for you — from your aperture and shutter speed right through to your white balance and ISO. It will also automatically fire your pop-up flash (if you camera has one), when needed. This is a good mode to use while you familiarize yourself with your camera, and it is particularly useful if you need to photograph something quickly, when you don’t have time to set the camera up manually. Auto mode is sometimes represented by a green box on the camera dial.

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