Camera Modes- The Controller of Exposure

 Photography is the science and art of capturing light. That's why light is very important for a photograph. To control the light or exposure we use different camera modes. As humans we have a mood swing, even have mode swing. Similarly, cameras also have swings. They always don't give same type of image in same settings. So we need to use different camera modes according to the scene.

Camera modes and exposer settings

  There are a lot of modes like program, auto semi-pro, scene, and Manual. In one of my article, I had mentioned the misconceptions of photography. There was the point that we should always use manual mode to create professional images. Here I will mention other modes as well which can also be used to make better images. I also have a surprise for you. So without any delay let's start explaining the camera modes.

Auto mode 

 another misconception is auto mode is the worst, only stupid people use this to take photos. It's totally wrong. Trust me auto Mode is the smartest camera mode. In this mode, camera decides everything on its own. Giving perfect exposure in complex lighting conditions is not an easy job for the camera. It uses its extreme potential to give perfect exposure values. Most of the time the auto mode gives extraordinary images in proper lighting conditions but in lowlights, the camera starts struggling. To increase the exposure it increases ISO, which produces noise or grain.

That doesn't mean the images are not good at low light. You can easily remove the noise in post-processing. Even today I use auto mode and I have taken many good images. I would like to give an example where you can see a colourful butterfly sitting on a leaf. The image is good but contains noise. I can easily fix it. 

Photography in auto mode

scene modes:-there are many e dedicated modes as well which you can use in different situations.

landscape mode

in this mode, the camera will choose a higher aperture number or  F number to give you a larger depth of field.
Portrait mode:- in this mode the camera will choose lower F number or larger aperture to give you a Shallow depth of field that means the background and the foreground will be blurred.

Sports mode:- 

in this mode, the camera will choose a very high shutter speed of more than 1/1000s to freeze the motion. This is extremely useful for capturing moving subjects.

Other scene modes:-

Beach/Snow mode
Sunrise/sunset mode
Night mode etc.

Semi Pro mode

semi-pro modes are the bridges between auto and Pro mode. After using auto mode for sometime you you will realize that you don't have full control on your image. Then you will try to use Pro mode or manual mode or manual mode manual mode but that would be very hard for you initially. It is the perfect time to use semi-pro modes.

Program mode 

it's the easiest of all semi-pro modes. In this mode you are allowed to control the exposure and color by selecting ISO, white balance and exposure compensation.ISO is simply the sensitivity of the sensor to light. By increasing and decreasing ISO we can control the light. White balance is the Kelvin value which controls the overall color. Exposure compensation or EV(Exposure value) is also responsible for the brightness and the darkness of the image. It is denoted by 0, 1,2, 3, etc. If you set it to negative  EV, the image will be darker and if you set it to Positive EV, the image will be brighter. The specialty of this mode is you can control exposure or light without disturbing aperture and shutter speed.

Aperture priority mode

this mode allows you to set the aperture according to your need and other settings will be decided by the camera. I have seen many talented wildlife and event photographers who use to prefer this mode the most after manual. By setting the aperture value or F stops you can control the light as well as depth of field. If you use a larger aperture say f/1.8,(The lower the aperture number the larger the aperture) you will get more light and Shallow depth of field that means your subject will be sharply focused and the rest of the background and foreground will be blurred out.

This is ideal for portraits. If you use a a smaller aperture say f/11 you will get less light and the entire frame will be in focus, means the depth of field will be large. This setting is ideal for landscapes. You can learn the function of aperture by practicing this mode which will help you to operate the camera in manual mode.

Shutter priority mode 

another great way to control exposure is shutter speed. Shutter speed is the duration, the light is exposed to the sensor. It not only controls the light but also helps to capture the motion or freeze moments. If you use a faster shutter speed like 1/1000s or more you will get darker images with frozen moment and if you use a slow shutter speed like 1/4s or even less you will get brighter images with Motion Blur. 

In Shutter priority mode you are allowed to control the shutter speed only and the other settings will be determined by the camera itself.

Manual mode 

It is the most professional and versatile mode where you get all the controls on your fingertip. You can decide every parameter according to your need. You can control ISO, shutter speed, aperture, metering, white balance, picture style, and focus settings. This mode is extremely useful for Complex lighting situations and creative photography there is no such limitation in manual mode but it is pretty hard to master for beginners very fast.

I don't suggest newbies to use the manual mode right now. After using semi-pro modes you will master the art of using manual mode to create unforgettable images.

Drive modes 

Drive mode controls the function of the shutter button. By setting single or continuous drive Mode you can capture single or multiple images by pressing the shutter once.

Flash mode 

 Flash is used to improve the lighting situation. By selecting different flash modes like auto flash, Fill-flash, Red Eye reduction you can try to change the lighting situation for your own benefit.

Other camera modes:-

ISO priority or sensitivity priority(SV)
TAv in Pentax
DEP mode
A-DEP mode

How to choose modes:-

There is a separate mode dial in cameras just rotate the dial to select the desired shooting mode.
Camera mode dial

Here comes the time for revealing the surprise. I will show you a beautiful photo. You have to tell me in which mode the image was captured.

At last, I will suggest you to start experimenting with different camera mode to capture better images. Try and try until you succeed......


  1. I didn't know much about cameras before reading this article. I learned some new & interesting things in this article. Thank you for sharing this. Keep it up!
    - Lomash Kumar from

    1. Thank you so much sir.We wish we will always get your blessings.


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