Move out of Auto

Got a camera and wished you knew what all those buttons and icons mean? Here’s an easy way to start using more of your cameras function and it is easy!

OK, let’s start with finding your command dial. What is it? It’s the biggest round dial on the top of the camera. Here is a picture of what mine looks like. If you have a digital camera, it should have something like this.

Command Dial
Command Dial

For most people new to digital camera they leave it on Auto. Most cameras have Auto, P, S, A, M, Scene and the one with a lighting blot in a circle. That one means Auto without the option to use the camera’s flash. Handy when doing photos in partial shade or you want the low light effect.

Now turn your Command Dial to SCENE. You may have to push in a button (in the center for this camera but may be on the side or you may not have one) and turn the dial to SCENE. Turn on the camera and on the view screen you should see some choices like shown below.

Scene Options
Scene Options






These options allow you to use the camera capabilities for specific settings so you don’t have to worry about how to see the camera aperture, f-stop or ISO. Most camera should have the following Scene Options: Close ups, Sports, Landscapes, Portrait, Pets, Dusk/Dawn, Sunset, and Night. Depending on the camera you might also have Beach, Panorama, Night Landscape, Food and other options.

So if you want a picture of a grandkids playing sports or just running, you can turn to Scene and Sports and get better pictures. The one I like the best is Sunset. It gives me the darker colors of sunset and sunrise (yes I use it on both) and turns out some great pictures. Otherwise, I set my camera up on the tripod, turn the dial to M, A or S and play with the settings until I get the picture the way I like it. I will admit after doing this several times I can get the right settings quickly. Another thing you can do is take the picture on the Sunset Scene option and look to see what the camera has for aperture and f-stop and go to M and match the settings.

Now go out and play with your camera and see how these work for you. Please feel free to come back and tell me how they worked in the comment section. I enjoy hearing from you.

Sunset at Salton Sea
Sunset at Salton Sea




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