When you look at your digital camera, do you see all of the little icons on it? Yours probably looks different than everyone else’s, but somewhere on your camera, you should be able to find them. What are they for? What do they all mean? Well, each one represents a different mode on your camera. When you’re taking a picture, you can choose between the modes to take the perfect picture. Usually, choosing the right mode either results in a great picture or a dud, so it’s very important to understand what each one does.
Now, these icons may not be in clear sight for you, but more than likely, you will see them in a type of control dial right on the top of your camera. If you don’t see them anywhere on the actual camera, you might have to go into the main menu to find them. Either way, here’s what some of the more common icons mean and what they can do for your pictures.
Automatic: This is usually the default setting for most digital cameras. The icon on your camera may read as “AUTO.” This one automatically sets the camera’s flash and focus by using the normal, average exposure settings. This can be used for normal picture taking, but if you want some special effects added to your pictures, keep reading.
Close Up: This mode should be used for any pictures you’re taking from approximately two feet away or closer. If you really want to narrow in on a subject, use this one. Also, keep in mind that the flash probably won’t automatically come on with this mode, so you’ll have to set it manually yourself.
Landscape: This one is used for any pictures you’re taking of distant subjects. Also, the flash should not be on for these types of pictures. The landscape mode is also sometimes indicated by an 8 symbol.
Sport Mode: If you take a lot of pictures of moving objects, this is the mode you’ll want to use. It sets the shutter speed on your camera to its fastest mark so you can catch the subjects in motion. For these types of pictures, you should just use the flash as needed.
Night Mode: This mode is obviously used for pictures you take at night or for any low-light conditions. It uses a slow shutter speed and it may also use the flash automatically. The icons for this one may be a little different from camera to camera. Another one that is commonly used is a backlight mode that has a fill flash picture. This mode also helps with shadowed objects.
Portrait Mode: This one is used mostly for faces of people. It helps to blur out the background so you can focus in more on a person’s face. It is used well with the red eye reduction mode, for a full effect, as well.
Video Mode: Want to make videos with your digital camera? Then set your dial on this one. You can shoot short video clips with this mode.
Image Stabilization: If you’re known to have shaky hands when you’re taking pictures, use this mode. It helps to stabilize your camera so the image won’t come out all blurry.
Manual Mode: This is also a very common mode to use. It will give you complete control over your camera’s aperture and shutter speed, so it’s very helpful.
Aperture-Priority Mode: With this one, you can manually set your camera’s aperture setting (which is the diameter of the lens), while your camera controls the shutter speed for you.
Shutter-Priority Mode: This one is just the opposite of the one above. With it, you can manually determine the shutter speed, while your camera controls the aperture.
Well, there you have it. The most common digital camera icons explained just for you. With this tip and a little extra help from your camera’s manual, you can be a picture taking pro in no time! How cool is that?!