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Photography Tip – Shooting modes & main settings

One of those questions I get asked the most is ‘What shooting mode & what settings do you use?’ … well, the biggest portion of its answer lies within what or where I’m shooting; allow me to elaborate:

  • Shooting modes:

  • Automatic: I only set my camera’s main dial to Automatic when I’m handing it over to someone else to shoot my portrait (be it on travel or at some leisure park).

  • Shutter priority: When I’m shooting handheld in low light & wish to eliminate camera shake or when I’m using an off-camera flash & need to ensure my shutter speed stays within sync speed.

  • Aperture priority: When depth of field is my priority in varying lighting conditions.

  • Manual: When my shots are planned and I have time to set my exposure right, or when I wish to get artistic results (e.g. landscapes, portraits, long exposure shots).

  • Programmable modes (in case your camera has them): If I’m doing specialized shooting & need the camera to switch to specific exposure & in-camera settings on the fly (useful for wedding photographers).

**Please note that Aperture & shutter priority are usually used when you don’t have your next shot planned & can’t easily anticipate the moment (e.g. a photowalk, a carnival, event, race track, sports match) as they give you enough time to catch the moment.**

  • Main in-camera settings:

  • Exposure meter (single, center weighted, matrix): Have this set to single if you want your camera to meter on a single point in your frame, center weighted sets metering to prioritize the central part of your frame when calculating exposure, while matrix takes everything in frame equally in mind when calculating exposure (those hugely affect Shutter & Aperture priority modes), otherwise they only assist you in considering the correct exposure in manual mode.

  • Auto Focus mode (single, continuous): Single AF is used on subjects which are stationary or slow, while continuous mode is better suited for continuously moving objects (a runner, a moving car, a pet).

  • White Balance: This can be set to ‘automatic’ as default if you’re shooting in RAW (as it can be later adjusted in post processing) … if you’re shooting in JPEG set it to the right light temperature depending on your available lighting (e.g. Tungsten, Florescent, Shade, Flash).

  • Picture Style: Set it to standard, unless you wish to have specific in-camera processing on your images (e.g. sharpening, contrast) … though it is advisable to have this kind of post-processing done on software rather than in-camera.

  • Live view mode (on / off): Use this to switch to live view mode

  • Mirror Lock-up (on / off): Use this to disable mirror movement (which might cause in-camera shake) … best suited for long exposure shots.

  • Silent mode (on / off): Use this when you wish to shoot in silent mode (if available)

  • Output type (RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG): It is definitely advisable to have your camera set to RAW & its highest resolution (L), however, if running low on memory space, you may switch to JPEG or to a lower shooting resolution.

  • HDR / Multiple Exposures: Enabling either of those allows you to make use of advanced in-camera shooting styles, kindly google those two subjects for further info.

Once again, hope you might have learned something new today. As usual, feel free to comment on this post.


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