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Tips & ideas > Guide to digital camera shooting modes
Guide to digital camera shooting modes
Learn what all those HP digital camera settings do
and when to use them for great results.
 
For every subject, there's a perfect way to photograph it. Your camera's auto mode is good in a pinch, but has its limitations. Many situations need very particular camera settings in order to be photographed correctly. In these instances, specific shooting modes are a great help.
The following is a list of shooting modes that are typical of digital cameras. You can select a shooting mode by choosing Mode from the Capture Menu of your digital camera.
 
Portrait mode
The camera selects a low f-stop (or aperture), narrowing the depth of field to soften the background. This allows you to focus attention on subjects near you (such as people) by blurring distant objects.
Landscape Mode
Capture detailed scenes of distant objects, such as mountains or city skylines. It works by selecting a high f-number, increasing the depth of field so objects near and far away remain crisp and in focus.
Macro Mode
Macro mode lets you take a close up pictures, which is useful when shooting flowers, insects or small objects. It's also great for creating abstract images of large objects like the harp pictured above. You will find that focusing is difficult in macro mode, because at short distances the depth of field is narrow.
Night mode
Captures dramatic color and detail at night and in other and other low-light situations. This mode uses a long exposure (longer than auto mode) with no flash for rich colors and detail at night. A tripod is necessary in this mode.
Sports mode
Sports mode or "action mode" captures sporting events, moving cars, or any scene where you want to stop the action and avoid blur in your photo. The camera sets a fast shutter speed to stop action. This mode needs ample light. Best used outdoors in daylight settings.
Panorama mode
Captures grand landscapes using groups of pictures to create one wide image. The camera merges up to five shots from right to left (or left to right) into one seamless photo. Not available on all cameras. Read your manual to learn whether your camera has this function.
* read your camera's manual for specifications