Welcome back! If you are still reading the site I salute you similar to AC/DC to those about to rock! I’m continuing the Monger Travels Guide to Photography today and wanted to talk about camera modes. This is going to cover both your average compact camera all the way up to the most professional of DSLR’s. There are some differences across brands so you need to refer to your manual at some point so you can get the differences worked out as terminology and icons may change.
Lets start with what camera modes are. Back in ye olde tymes in the days of film you set your ASA, DIN, or ISO and then the aperture on your lens and that was about it. As cameras got smarter and photographers dumber manufactures figured out how to make cameras idiot proof. They figured the average camera user didn’t really want to be bothered with learning how to take a picture so they started to build in these settings that the casual photographer could take a picture like a pro. Sadly we have progressed to the selfie. However, I’ll grant you that modes are useful if you have a DSLR and if you are on a compact they will help you produce a better picture if you don’t feel like mucking about much in a menu.
Here we go:
Auto Mode the bane of every photographer that has wanted to get more out of their camera. Most anyone that takes their photography serious dies a little when they see a camera being used in Auto Mode as it takes all decision making from the photographer and puts it squarely on the programming of the chip. This means aperture, shutter speed, ISO are all run through the chip to determine the perfect exposure. To be fair, Auto does a decent job 90% of the time. It’s that 10% for the images you really want that it royally fucks up. Do yourself a favor and take the camera out of Auto and use a similar mode I will tell you about next.
Program Mode is the big brother of Auto Mode. You know the cool one that Auto tried to be like but failed miserably as a second child (He’s the youngest of 3 with a whole other set of issues. – Ed). Program mode is exactly the same as Auto Mode with one big ass difference. You can go in and change settings to take it out of the cameras hands. Remember the first part of the series where I discussed ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed? Program Mode allows you do this so you can over rule what the camera assumes is correct. You are a human (I hope) and you see the world far differently than a camera that can only work within its predefined settings. You know what its too dark or if the shutter needs to be faster or slower or you want a depth of field for the landscape shot. You can change each one of these settings individually so if you adjust your ISO to a higher number the camera will then adjust the aperture and shutter speed to correctly expose the image. So for each setting you change the camera will adjust the others correctly. If you want more than just Auto Mode and don’t want to fiddle with a lot of settings but want some control over your images, switch it to Program Mode.
I’ll let a lot of people in on a dirty little photography secret. A lot of images you have seen over the years have been shot in Program Mode. It allows a photographer to focus on shooting and not camera settings but allows them to quickly make changes to set the camera to the conditions. No serious photographer will ever admit to using it but almost everyone does at some point when you know you need to get the shot and not fuck around with settings.
Aperture Priority Mode is just that, you select your aperture. On most compacts you aren’t going to be able to adjust your aperture. If you start moving into the enthusiast compact or DSRLs, or fixed lens cameras you are going to be able to do that. If you remember aperture is how wide open or closed the lens is to light. The lower the number the more open it is. The higher the number the less open it is. So when you hear or read stopping down, you are closing the aperture blades. Remember, aperture controls depth of field but it also controls how much light gets to the sensor. If you have your ISO setting on Auto the camera will adjust the ISO to compensate for the aperture setting. If you are are serious you will preset your ISO to something you know will work for the shooting conditions and then work with your aperture to know where you can push the image to.
This is the preferred walk around setting most people will use for a DSLR or higher end compact. This is what I primarily shoot in when I’m out and about roaming the world. I set the ISO to conditions going on the higher side versus the lower then use the aperture to control the light. This keeps my shutter speed up usually to avoid blur and allows me use an aperture setting that is a nice balance between foreground and background to get a general depth of field. Often times you will see me at about 500-800 ISO, shutter speed is handled by the camera, and my aperture is 5.6 give or take a few stops (Stops are aperture clicks up or down and I’m not going to explain the concept. Just remember if you hear stops they are talking aperture.). Aperture Priority Mode is the most common mode for most travel and walk around photography and from pros down to anyone that has read a camera book will often use it.
Shutter Priority Mode is where you set the shutter speed and let the camera handle aperture and ISO. This sometimes a TV on your camera dial or a S so remember to check your camera manual. Why would you use shutter priority mode which is nothing but shutter speed. If you are shooting something fast moving like yourself jerking off over your hooker and wanted to freeze your hand you want a fast shutter speed so the camera opens and closes the shutter quickly to freeze the moment. Say you wanted to show some motion in your hand as you were jerking off over your hooker you would slow the shutter down to give the sense of motion with a slight blur but still a recognizable hand. If you are a narcissistic bastard and wanted your dick to look huge you hold the camera close, focus on your dick, and use a slower shutter speed so your hand is blurred. Shutter speed is essential the recording of motion. The faster the shutter the image freezes. The slower the shutter the image blurs. Remember that shutter speed also controls light as well. So if you are shooting in low light the shutter is going to be open longer. For bright light the shutter will be open shorter. So keep this in mind when you are out shooting. If you see that shutter speed dropping slow you might want to change your aperture and your ISO to increase it to keep your shots crisp and clean.
To be honest, you will rarely use Shutter Priority Mode. If you are shooting sporting events, fast moving objects, you might want to switch to it. If you are using external flash be it on camera or off, you are going to need to know shutter speeds but for the most part, let the camera handle it and move on with your life.
Manual Mode is exactly what is says it is. You are in full control of your camera settings. I’ll be honest and say I rarely use it unless I am shooing portraits in a controlled environment or its a still object that isn’t going to move on me and I want control over the slightest detail. There is a lot going on in this mode and you better know your camera and your settings and how they all work together. You will only see this on DSLRs or very high end compact cameras. You will be relying on ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and metering to get images correct. For the Average Joe Monger looking for a shot, skip it. If you are more than the Average Joe Monger and have pretensions of being a photographer and making your hooker girlfriend look good, you are going to want to use this. I’m not going to explain Manual Mode beyond what I just did because no one in their right fucking mind is going to use it on a trip.
Macro Mode is all about shooting up close and by up close I mean mere inches away from your subject and getting as much detail in as you possibly can. You don’t use this for portraits or shooting landscapes, remember its all about details and getting close to your subject. For you degenerate mongers, macro mode is good for the dick shot as you hold your camera close and get the details in. If you want a picture of your hookers fantastic nipples, again Macro Mode. There are lots of other uses but you get the point. Get close and get lots of detail, Macro Mode. Depending on your camera you may need to watch your aperture, shutter, and ISO but for the average compact the camera takes full control.
Party/Low Light Mode is mainly on compact cameras and what this mode does is crank up the ISO, open up the aperture and slow the shutter down to suck in as much light as possible in a low light environment. So if you are sitting in the darkened room and your hooker is spread wide on the bed and you feel like taking a shot put your camera into this mode. On higher end compact cameras this mode does something really cool in that it will fire a series of shots off between 5 and 7 and you will hear a rapid fire of the shutter. What is does is then evaluate the images and takes the best portions out of all of them to make one complete image removing any blur from a slow shutter, loss of detail due to high ISO and lack of depth of field from the aperture being low. If you find yourself with a higher end compact and you have this mode check to see if it does this. You will really be pleased by the results generated.
Landscape Mode is exactly that, shooting broad, generic images of a landscape. So if you are out on the balcony enjoy the fresh air after a sessions with your hooker girlfriend and you are taken by the third world architecture around you then use this mode. What this mode does is basically use a large aperture to create a sense of depth. You generally want to use a wider angle on your lens so that you aren’t zoomed in. It isn’t about the details here, its about the whole image and the “view”. One of the tricks for landscape photography to give a real sense of depth is to focus on something in the foreground but allow the camera to also capture the background via the aperture and this gives the perspective of a lot of depth. Remember, you are compressing the three dimensional into two so you use the tools to make the illusion work similar to how those of you with hooker girlfriends believe she really loves you and its not your money.
Portrait Mode is for taking pictures of people. In a nutshell what its doing is dropping the aperture to blur the background and not give a sense of depth and keeps the focus on the person. For portrait mode to be effective you are going to need light and a lot of it. You can have your shadows for dramatic effect but you really don’t want a high ISO for a portrait as it makes them unflattering. So you want as much light as you can get. If you have natural light or just general light make sure its bright. If you aren’t in a area where you have sufficient light you are going to need to use your flash. Portraits are meant to be soft and flattering to a person so if you want your hooker to look good switch to portrait mode on your compact and your hooker love of your life will be suitably impressed with your photographic skills.
Sport Mode is similar to the Shutter Priority Mode I discussed earlier. In fact, its the twin of it just with a different name. Like its name, its designed to shoot fast moving objects so you freeze them in place without blur. Similar to using the rubbing one out on your hooker of choice if you want to shoot yourself banging away switch to Sports Mode. It will ramp up the shutter speed as fast as it can while adjusting the aperture and ISO to compensate for it.
Video Mode is self explanatory here. I personally don’t do video much. It comes down to editing for me in that I just don’t know how to edit video correctly. So I tend to skip it unless I just want a 30 second clip. Most cameras have a limit on how much video then can record at one time regardless of memory size. So make sure you check the manual before you start making your porn movies.
This concludes this little segment. I repeat this isn’t sexy or exciting but if you want to document your trips take the time to know your camera. I said it before that if you took the time to take the picture then take the time to make sure you take a great picture. If you take the time to finish this you will have a firm foundation on basic photography and how to take pictures you can show to your family and friends along with your monger buddies that will be impressive.